DUI Attorneys Serving White Cloud (Newaygo County)

If you, or somebody you know, is accused of drunk driving (aka DUI or OWI) in White Cloud, MI, Newaygo County, here’s a summary of what to expect. Please feel free to call the experienced DUI attorneys at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law for more information @ (231) 924-8700 or (616) 458-5500.

Newaygo County Law Enforcement

Newaygo County is largely a rural county with small towns and cities sprinkled around vast expanses of national forests. The cities include Fremont, Grant, Newaygo, and White Cloud. Because Newaygo County is rural without any meaningful police presence outside of the small city police departments that stick pretty close to their city limits, patrols by the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police must cover a pretty large geographical area.

Not surprisingly, however, the Michigan State Police and Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department tend to patrol the areas with the most “action,” which, in this case, is usually the major roads through the county such M-37, M-82, M-20 and the small towns along those roads such Fremont, Grant, Newaygo, and White Cloud. Often times, this means that the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police overlap in these small towns and highways. Drivers receive a lot of scrutiny from law enforcement for this reason, especially at night, and drunk driving in Newaygo County does not go unnoticed. For example, the Fremont Police Department ranked among the highest in the entire state for drunk driving arrests per police officer, according to a 2013 study. Fremont’s Chief of Police is not lying when he says “We’ve always been aggressive on drunk driving,” So don’t let the rural, small town nature of Newaygo County fool you, the police are present, watching and looking for drunk drivers.

Newaygo County Jail

If you are arrested for drunk driving, ultimately, you will be taken to the Newaygo County Jail in White Cloud. The Jail is located at: 300 Williams Street White Cloud, Michigan (231) 689-7024

More information from the Newaygo County Jail’s website can be found here. The Jail charges a $12 “booking fee” for anybody who is booked at the Jail. This fee must be paid within 14 days of release from the jail. The staff at the jail are very nice, professional and go out of their way to accommodate to attorneys. The jail houses inmates from Newaygo County as well as federal inmates facing charges in federal court in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

BOND—The Jail accepts cash or credit card payments for bond, or you can use a bail bondsmen. A cash bond payment can be posted at the courthouse or in the lobby of the jail 24/7. The Jail also accepts credit cards. Bond can also be posted remotely via credit card, through a vendor who accepts payments online and transmits the payment to the jail using a “pay location,” which in this case is “1988.” See the Jail’s website (link above) for more information. According to Michigan law, a person can only be held in jail for 28 days on a misdemeanor arrest and will be automatically released thereafter, unless there is some other reason to detain the person such as a probation/parole violation or bond violation.

COURTS – THE NEWAYGO COUNTY COURTHOUSE IN WHITE CLOUD, MICHIGAN

THE 78TH DISTRICT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF NEWAYGO

If you are charged with drunk driving (DUI) in Newaygo County, you will appear in the 78th District Court in White Cloud, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony DUI.

Hon. H. Kevin Drake, 78th District Court Judge
Hon. H. Kevin Drake, 78th District Court Judge

The Honorable H. Kevin Drake is the District Court Judge, pictured below. Judge Drake is regarded by attorneys who practice before him a as nice, personable Judge who gives both sides equal consideration. He is also a very busy Judge, as he handles the District Court in Oceana County as well. This means that his courtroom must be run very efficiently for him to be able to handle the caseload of two counties, which it is. Drunk driving arraignments, pleas and sentencing are handled efficiently as well. Unlike most of the surrounding counties, you must appear at your arraignment, as we waivers are not accepted. Pretrials are typically scheduled 1-4 weeks after arraignment.

At the pretrial you or your attorney will meet with the prosecutor to discuss a resolution, but you normally will not be allowed to plead guilty on the same day as the pretrial, due to the high volume of cases the court is already handling. This means that if you decide to plead guilty, you will have to return for plea and sentencing, which the court typically handles in one court appearance, assuming you have completed your substance abuse evaluation.

THE 27TH CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF NEWAYGO

If you are charged with felony drunk driving (DUI) in Newaygo County and there is enough evidence for your case to go forward to felony court, you will appear in the 27th Circuit Court in Newaygo County. Like the District Court discussed above, the Circuit Court Judge covers two counties (Newaygo and Oceana Counties), which comprise the circuit.

Effective March 1, 2017, the new Circuit Court Judge in Newaygo Count is Robert D. Springstead.  The Hon. Robert D. Springstead was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Judge Anthony Monton’s retirement.

Judge Robert D. Springstead is Gary K. Springstead’s older brother, and previously practiced law with his father, Douglas A. Springstead, his sister, Julie Springstead Waltz, and Gary K. Springstead at Springstead Law Offices.

Hon. Robert D. Springstead, Circuit Court Judge for 27th Circuit Court
Hon. Robert D. Springstead, Circuit Court Judge for the 27th Circuit Court

Hon. Robert D. Springstead, Gary K. Springstead, Kathryn M. Springstead
Pictured L-R: Julie Springstead Waltz, Douglas A. Springstead, Hon. Robert D. Springstead, Gary K. Springstead, Kathryn M. Springstead

Judge Robert D. Springstead was the Newaygo County Prosecuting Attorney for approximately seven years prior to his appointment.  Prior to that, the Hon. Robert D. Springstead was in private practice with his family, where he practice both civil and criminal law.  Because Judge Springstead is new to the bench, not a lot is known about how he will handle cases, but it is anticipated that he will handle cases in much the same manner as the judges before him, Judge Monton and Thomas.

AVOIDING ANY APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY OR CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Because the Hon. Robert D. Springstead and Attorney Gary K. Springstead are brothers and in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety or any conflicts of interest, the Hon. Robert D. Springstead will recuse himself from handling any case in which Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, P.L.L.C. is representing the accused.  It is expected that any cases handled by Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law will be reassigned to one of the other local judges, either District Court Judge H. Kevin Drake or Probate Court Judge Graydon Dimkoff.  Any such cases will remain in Newaygo County and be handled like any other case, except that Judge Springstead will not handle the case.

PROSECUTION

One of Judge Springstead’s first responsibilities in taking the bench was to appoint a prosecuting attorney to fill the vacancy created by his departure.  Effective March 8, 2017, Judge Springstead appointed Ellsworth Stay to be Newaygo County’s new Prosecuting Attorney.

Ellsworth Stay, Prosecuting Attorney, Newaygo County
Ellsworth Stay, Prosecuting Attorney, Newaygo County

Effective March 8, 2017, the new Prosecuting Attorney in Newaygo County is Ellsworth “Worth” Stay (pictured Left). For the last approximately seven years, Mr. Stay has been the Circuit Court Administrator for the 27th Circuit Court.  Prior to that, he was the Chief Assistant to Prosecuting Attorney Chrystal Roach before she retired. It is expected that the Prosecutor will handle most of the felony cases himself and delegate the misdemeanors to one or both of his assistant prosecutors, Chief Assistant Scott Walburn or  Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Robinson. The Newaygo County Prosecutor’s Office does not have any strict policies it adheres to with respect to plea negotiations, as each case is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

DUI SENTENCING IN NEWAYGO COUNTY

Drunk-driving sentencing’s in Newaygo County, like many other counties, is handled on a case-by-case basis, though there are some general observations that can be made.

First Offense DUI—A sentence for normal operating while intoxicated (OWI) or operating while visibly impaired (OWVI), where there is no significant criminal history, typically warrants a jail sentence of 1-2 days with credit for the time served immediately following the arrest. This means that in most cases, there is no additional jail time. Fines/costs range from $900-1,500, but the Court will give you a few months to pay that off. The Court usually orders the defendant to follow/complete the recommendations contained in the substance abuse evaluation, as a condition of probation, which is usually non-reporting probation for 6 months. The court reserves to the right to impose any remaining jail time (93 days max. under the law – 1-2 days actually imposed = 91 to 92 days of remaining jail time), if the defendant does not successfully complete probation, i.e., commits a new offense while on probation.

Second Offense DUI—A sentence for a normal operating while intoxicated 2nd offense, without any significant criminal history, usually carries with it a jail sentence of three weekends to 30 days, depending on how recently the previous offense occurred. The Court has, on occasion, been willing to sentence a defendant to an Impact Weekend (an intensive counseling session with input from the victims of drunk driving) in lieu of jail time. Fines and costs rise to roughly $1,500. The Court usually orders the defendant to follow/complete the recommendations contained in the substance abuse evaluation, which are more intensive than a first offense, as a condition of probation, which is usually non-reporting probation for 6 months to one year. Like a first offense, the court reserves to the right to impose any remaining jail time, if the defendant does not successfully complete probation, i.e., commits a new offense.

Third Offense (Felony) DUI—A defendant facing his/her first felony DUI in Newaygo County, without any other significant criminal history, can expect a sentence of three to six months in the county jail from either Circuit Court Judge. As with any felony, there will be considerable fines/costs, probation, rehabilitation services, vehicle immobilization, and strict court-supervised monitoring following any incarceration.

NEWAYGO COUNTY SOBRIETY COURTS

There is a relatively new sobriety court option in Newaygo for felony drunk driving cases. The new sobriety court is called the “West Michigan Regional Sobriety Court” and it is supervised by the Honorable Susan Grant, 77th District Court, in Big Rapids, MI, Mecosta County. In order to qualify for sobriety court, the prosecutor from Newaygo County has to make a determination that you are eligible under the law. Then, if your attorney recommends you for admission, your application is sent to the Sobriety Court. The applicant is then given an alcohol assessment and, if the applicant is otherwise eligible and “alcohol dependent,” the Prosecutor is advised of the same. The Prosecutor can then make a plea offer that includes sobriety court as part of the sentence. However, only felony drunk driving cases are eligible for consideration, although the charges can be reduced to a misdemeanor after successful completion of sobriety court. Under this scenario, the applicant would plead guilty and be sentenced in the county in which the case arose and then be transferred to the new sobriety court as a condition of probation. There are many good reasons to take advantage of sobriety court, including a reduction in up front jail time, an opportunity to obtain a restricted driver’s license, and an affordable, comprehensive plan to maintain sobriety.

Newaygo County Criminal & Drunk Driving Defense Lawyers

If you or somebody you know, is facing a drunk-driving charge in White Cloud, Newaygo County, call the DUI defense attorneys at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law for a free consultation. Call now (231) 924-8700 or (616) 458-5500.