Avoyelles Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Avoyelles Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in Avoyelles Parish.
Avoyelles Parish Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Avoyelles Parish will take place at the Avoyelles Parish Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Avoyelles Parish Criminal Court Locations.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
In a jury trial in Avoyelles Parish, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Mandatory Appearances in Avoyelles Parish Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Avoyelles Parish, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Where can I get help for my Avoyelles Parish criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Avoyelles Parish will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
What happens in Avoyelles Parish at an arraignment?
In Avoyelles Parish the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
Prosecutor in Avoyelles Parish
In Avoyelles Parish, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Avoyelles Parish. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Louisiana. For the most part, the prosecutor in Avoyelles Parish has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Avoyelles Parish you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Avoyelles Parish Criminal Court Locations
Avoyelles 12th Judicial District Court
Address: 301 North Main Street, PO Box 219, Marksville LA 71351
Phone: 318-253-7523 Fax: 318-253-7578
Bunkie City Court
Address: 107 West Oak Street, PO Box 74, Bunkie LA 71322
Phone: 318-346-7250 Fax: 318-346-7226
Marksville City Court
Address: 427 North Washington Street, Marksville LA 71351
Phone: 318-263-6960 Fax: 318-253-4096
Justice of the Peace Ward 1
Address: 902 Hwy 107, Centerpoint LA 71323
Justice of the Peace Ward 3
Address: 2326 LeGlise Street, Mansura LA 71350
Justice of the Peace Ward 4
Address: PO Box 185, Hessmer LA 71341
Justice of the Peace Ward 5
Address: 111 German Bayou Road, Marksville LA 71351
Justice of the Peace Ward 6
Address: 791 Big Bend Road, Moreauville LA 71355
Justice of the Peace Ward 7
Address: 2254 Hwy 105, Simmesport LA 71369
Justice of the Peace Ward 8
Address: 206 English Road, Plaucheville LA 71362
Justice of the Peace Ward 9
Address: 778 Choupique Lane, Cottonport LA 71327
Justice of the Peace Ward 11
Address: 897 South Bayou DeGlaise Road, Cottonport LA 71327
Cottonport Mayor’s Court
Address: 931 Bryan Street, PO Box 118, Cottonport LA 71327
Evergreen Mayor’s Court
Address: 117 Hill Street, PO Box 85, Evergreen LA 71333
Hessmer Mayor’s Court
Address: 4142 Bordelon Street, PO Box 125, Hessmer LA 71341
Mansura Mayor’s Court
Address: 1832 Leglise Street, PO Box 157, Mansura, LA 71350
Moreauville Mayor’s Court
Address: 9898 Bayou Des Glaises Street, PO Box 57, Moreauville LA 71355
Plaucheville Mayor’s Court
Address: 146 Gin Street, PO Box 10, Plaucheville LA 71362
Simmesport Mayor’s Court
Address: 372 Mission Drive, PO Box 145, Simmesport LA 71369