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Top Royal Oak Criminal Defense Lawyer

Royal Oak -- 44th District Court

William Barnwell of Barnwell Law is a top Royal Oak criminal defense lawyer who is widely-known and respected in the 44th District Court.

If you are being charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Royal Oak, your case will be heard at the 44th District Court located at 400 E. 11 Mile Rd. Royal Oak, MI 48067. If you are being charged with a misdemeanor you could face up to a year in the county jail. Common misdemeanor charges are domestic violence, assault, battery, retail fraud, DUI, OWI, drug offenses, drunk driving, disorderly conduct, and other commonly charged offenses.

If you are charged with a felony, such as felonious assault, embezzlement, drug offenses, criminal sexual conduct, homicide, or other felonies, your case will begin in the 44th District Court for an arraignment. It will then be followed by a Probable Cause Conference, and then a Preliminary Exam. If the case is not dismissed, it will proceed to the Oakland County Circuit Court located at 1200 N. Telegraph Rd. Pontiac, MI 48340

There are two judges in the 44th District Court: Judge Derek Meinecke and Judge Andrew Kowalkowski. Judge Meinecke is the Chief Judge of the court and has served since 2013. He was formerly an Assistant Prosecutor with the Oakland County Prosecutor Office. Judge Kowalkowski was appointed to the bench in 2023 and was previously an administrative law Judge.

Barnwell Law is extremely well-known in the 44th District Court. Bill Barnwell has served for years as a leader in the city and county’s non-profit community and is highly involved in community leadership throughout Royal Oak and Oakland County. Bill Barnwell is respected by his peers in the court system in the Royal Oak and the 44th District Court. What sets Bill apart from literally every single attorney who practices in the 44th District Court is that as a pastor who has served in Royal Oak for nearly a decade and a half, is he brings a built-in position of respect and authority to the court. He also has an office directly across the street from the courthouse.

More importantly, William Barnwell of Barnwell law has defended countless clients in the 44th District Court serving Royal Oak and Berkley. Barnwell Law has successfully taken cases all the way to a jury in Royal Oak and received Not Guilty verdicts. Our attorney knows the courtrooms of Royal Oak. He knows the system, the players, and has a proven record of results. When deciding which attorney to represent you, look at track record and results. This is why our attorney is a top Royal Oak criminal defense lawyer. Our attorney has a deep history with the Royal Oak court system and the 44th District Court is one of Barnwell Law’s favorite courtrooms to practice and deliver results.

The 44th District Court hears cases from the cities of Royal Oak and Berkley. Royal Oak in particular has many alcohol-related crimes. For decades, Royal Oak has been a popular “hang out” spot with popular bars, clubs, and restaurants down Main and Washington streets. Therefore, Royal Oak sees many DUI, OWI, Drunk Driving, Drunken Disorderly, and Public Intoxication type cases. Our top Royal Oak criminal defense lawyer knows how to tackle these and all other criminal cases that pass through the court.

Royal Oak DUI, OWI, and Drunk Driving Criminal Attorney

Facing a DUI (OWI, drunk driving) is an even more serious misdemeanor. A first offense can result in 93 days in jail, a 6 month license suspension, 6 points on your driver’s license and burdensome probation. A second offense DUI misdemeanor carries a mandatory minimum 5 days in jail up to one year in jail. If your second offense is within seven years of your first, it will also come with an automatic revocation of your driver’s license. On paper, the law says it will take a year before you can apply to get your license back, but in reality it takes far longer than that. As a top Royal Oak, MI criminal defense lawyer, William Barnwell of knows how to take an OWI/DUI case to trial. He has even gotten a client an acquittal on an OWI/DUI 2nd offense, which hardly any attorneys have ever achieved.

Royal Oak Retail Fraud Criminal Lawyer

Retail Fraud cases are also extremely common in Royal Oak. If the value of the goods you allegedly stole was under $200, the maximum penalty is 93 days in jail. If the value was between $200-$1,000, the maximum penalty is up to one year in jail. And if the value was $1,000 or more, the offense is a felony with a maximum of 5 years in prison, and more for habitual felonious offenders. If you are being charged with a theft case that did not happen in a store open to the public, the charge will be larceny, embezzlement, larceny from a motor vehicle, or other fraud related charges depending upon the specific facts of your case. As a top criminal defense attorney, Bill Barnwell has secured countless positive resolutions for theft-based cases and has successfully taken Retail Fraud and Larceny cases to trial.

Royal Oak Felony Attorney

As a top Royal Oak criminal defense attorney, Barnwell Law has successfully handles numerous cases arising out of the 44th District Court, including life offenses. Some common felony cases are:

Royal Oak Sex Crime Lawyer

If you are facing a felony sex crime case in Royal Oak, MI, your case will begin in the 44th District Court. If there is enough evidence to bind you over to trial, your case will then go to the 6th Circuit Court in Pontiac. Some common sex crimes cases are:

If you have been charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), you could face anywhere from two years in prison up to life in prison. In addition, harsh penalties such as the sex offender registry (SORA) list could follow you for 15 years up to the rest of your life. Barnwell Law has successfully beat numerous sex crime cases where the allegations were false or the evidence was lacking.

Royal Oak Felony Drug Crime Lawyer

Drug Crime Cases

In Royal Oak and Michigan, mere possession of common street drugs is a felony. For instance, possessing cocaine is punishable by up to 4 years in prison. Possessing methamphetamine is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But the stakes go considerably higher if you are considered a “drug dealer” or distributer. A person doesn’t need to be a high-end drug dealer to be charged with Delivery and Manufacturing of a controlled substance. For instance, if a friend merely shares cocaine with someone else, they have “delivered” it to another person, making the maximum possible penalty shoot up from 4 years to 20 years. Royal Oak, Berkley and Oakland County takes drug crimes, even procession cases, very seriously. Much national and local attention focuses on the heroin and fentanyl crisis. Many such cases begin in the 44th District Court in Royal Oak. For people who have never had a drug procession case before, it is possible to get them a “7411” deferral which means the charge can be sealed from the public and is not considered a conviction under state law. But even people facing more serious procession with intent to distribute and delivery and manufacturing charges can obtain good outcomes. This is why it is important to hire a top-rated criminal defense attorney.

Royal Oak Domestic Violence Attorney

Because Royal Oak is home to so many alcohol-related incidents, there are also a large amount of domestic violence allegations. Frequently alcohol or drugs are connected to domestic violence accusations. It is important to note that the accuser themselves is often under the influence of drugs or alcohol and can make allegations that are not credible but can still result in arrest and prosecution. There are many assault based crimes. This includes Domestic Violence cases. Domestic Violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on several factors. A related charge is often Assault with the Intent To Do Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder or Strangulation. Sometimes these cases are prosecuted with minimal evidence, or omit critical details.

If there is not a domestic component, the case can be charged as felony or misdemeanor assault. Common charges are also Aggravated Assault or Felonious Assault. The prosecution has the burden of proof to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant did not use reasonable self-defense. Barnwell Law has successfully taken a number of assault based cases to trial in the 37th District Court and elsewhere and has achieved Not Guilty jury verdicts. This included cases other attorneys said there was no chance of acquittal.

If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Royal Oak, Berkley, or Oakland County, it is important you contact Barnwell Law today at (810) 394-2952 to begin a strong and effective defense for your case.

44th District Court Case Lookup

Follow the link below to search court cases in the 44th district:

Royal Oak and Berkley court case lookup.

Client Reviews

Call him. Day or night, he actually answers. And he personally will fight your case. Not pass it off to someone else who won't return your calls once you hire them, like so many other law firms. Great results!

Cheryl T.

Excellent attorney. Fights hard for all his clients and produces results. Not only knows his stuff but you can tell cares about all his clients and sees them as real people and worth fighting for.

Jake A.

Absolutely amazing. Bill goes above and beyond for his client. I have been blessed to have had him by my side and would definitely recommend him to anyone needing legal counsel.

Jamie N.

I contacted Bill Barnwell personally, spoke with him and hired. He represented me in a domestic violence case. I felt that the accusations on me we're incorrect. Bill was able to have the case dismissed with no key...


Mr. Bill Barnwell is by far the Best Attorney I have ever had the luxury of representing me. He was very persistent and persuasive to the point of me only serving 12 days in county on a 4th Habitual felony of violation...


Bill was extremely helpful, from the beginning of my initial consultation through my appearance in front of the judge. I was charged with a misdemeanor in Highland Park while on vacation from a different state. I had no...


Mr. Bill Barnwell assisted me through a pretty scary situation where I had a person harass/stalk me. Mr. Barnwell was very empathetic and helpful. After dealing with police, detectives, different attorneys and judges...


Receiving an OWI ticket with a .15 bac from a State police officer on I-696 was something I wasn't ready for. It was also written on the ticket that I was speeding more than 15mph over the speed limit. The officer didn't...


I hired Bill for a felony case on which I wrongly accused and my rights were violated. Mr. Barnwell fought this charge tooth and nail and I am happy to say all charges were dismissed. His dedication for his clients...


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