Bienville Parish Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Bienville Parish. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Bienville Parish.
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.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
Bienville Parish Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Bienville Parish will take place at the Bienville Parish Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Bienville Parish Criminal Court Locations.
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 Bienville 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.
Bienville Parish Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Bienville Parish, the prosecutor will be a representative of Bienville Parish. The Bienville Parish prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
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.
What happens in Bienville Parish at an arraignment?
In Bienville 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Bienville Parish Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Bienville 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.
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.
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.
I need help for my Bienville Parish criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Bienville Parish court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Bienville Parish will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
In a jury trial in Bienville 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.
Bienville Parish Criminal Court Locations
Bienville 2nd Judicial District Court
Address: 100 Courthouse Drive, Room 100, Arcadia LA 71001
Phone: 318-263-2123 Fax: 318-263-7426
Justice of the Peace District 1
Address: 2130 Hickory Street, Arcadia LA 71001
Justice of the Peace District 2
Address: PO Box 268, Gibsland LA 71028
Justice of the Peace District 3
Address: 4281 Hwy 507, Jamestown LA 71045
Justice of the Peace District 4
Address: 5952 Hwy 154, PO Box 5068, Jamestown LA 71045
Justice of the Peace District 5
Address: 1355 Sand Hill Road, Quitman LA 71268
Arcadia Mayor’s Court
Address: 1819 South Railroad Avenue, Arcadia LA 71001
Bienville Mayor’s Court
Address: 564 Main Street, PO Box 207, Bienville LA 71008
Castor Mayor’s Court
Address: PO Box 216, Castor LA 71016
Gibsland Mayor’s Court
Address: 2469 Main Street, PO Box 309, Gibsland LA 71028
Jamestown Mayor’s Court
Address: 4219 East Front Street, Box 5128, Jamestown LA 71045
Lucky Mayor’s Court
Address: 13132 Hwy 4, RR 1 Box 60, Castor LA 71016
Mount Lebanon Mayor’s Court
Address: PO Box 742, Gibsland LA 71028
Ringgold Mayor’s Court
Address: 2135 Hall Street, PO Box 565, Ringgold LA 71068
Saline Mayor’s Court
Address: 984 Cooper Street, PO Box 118, Saline LA 71070