Misdemeanor cases are crimes where punishment is incarceration in the county jail for up to one year and handled in District Court. Allegan County has two District Court Judges, and a Hearing Magistrate. These types of cases are large in number and include, assaults (domestic and others), drunk driving, drug use or possession, and property crimes. As a matter of policy, this office has sought and received significant jail terms for repeat drunk drivers and domestic assault defendants. In 1998, the District Court,at the request of this office and the Allegan County Domestic Violence Task Force, implemented a Domestic Violence Diversion Program whereby first-time offenders are given the opportunity to receive counseling and avoid criminal convictions. The pre-requisites for acceptance into the program are specific, and one cannot qualify if there is aggravated physical injury or a history of domestic violence.
The goal of the program is to stop the cycle of violence. The statistics from the 57th District Courts Annual Report are extremely encouraging for successful results from this program.