Calcasieu Parish Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Calcasieu Parish. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Calcasieu Parish.
Calcasieu Parish Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Calcasieu Parish will take place at the Calcasieu Parish Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Calcasieu Parish Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Sentencing in Calcasieu Parish
In Calcasieu Parish if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
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.
Jury Deliberations in Calcasieu Parish
In Calcasieu Parish, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Calcasieu Parish Required Court Appearances
In Calcasieu Parish, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
What happens in Calcasieu Parish at an arraignment?
In Calcasieu 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.
Where can I get help for my Calcasieu 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 Calcasieu 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.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Who is the prosecutor for Calcasieu Parish?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Calcasieu Parish criminal cases will either be a representative of Calcasieu Parish or a representative from Louisiana. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
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.
Calcasieu Parish Criminal Court Locations
Calcasieu 14th Judicial District Court
Address: 1000 Ryan Street, Lake Charles LA 70601
Phone: 337-437-3550 Fax: 337-437-3350
Calcasieu 14th Judicial District Court – West Annex
Address: 500A North Huntington Street, Sulphur LA 70663
Phone: 337-313-1140 Fax: 337-527-4417
Lake Charles City Court
Address: 118 West Mill Street, PO Box 1664, Lake Charles LA 70602
Phone: 337-491-1565 (Traffic/Criminal) Fax: 337-491-8745
Sulphur City Court
Address: 802 South Huntington Street, Sulphur LA 70663
Phone: 337-527-7006 Fax: 337-527-4528
Justice of the Peace Ward 1
Address: 1207 Cheyenne Drive, Lake Charles LA 70611
Justice of the Peace Ward 2
Address: PO Box 4, Hayes LA 70646
Justice of the Peace Ward 5
Address: 4954-B Alligator Park Road, Starks LA 70661
Justice of the Peace Ward 6
Address: PO Box 1348, DeQuincy LA 70633
Justice of the Peace Ward 7
Address: PO Box 1022, Vinton LA 70668
Justice of the Peace Ward 8
Address: 4267 Hecker Road, Iowa LA 70647
DeQuincy Magistrate Court
Address: 300 North Holly Street, PO Box 968, DeQuincy LA 70633
Phone: 337-786-8241 Fax: 337-786-3076
Iowa Mayor’s Court
Address: 115 North Thomson, PO Box 1707, Iowa LA 70647
Phone: 337-582-3535 Fax: 337-582-7776
Vinton Mayor’s Court
Address: 1200 Horridge Street, Vinton LA 70668
Phone: 337-589-7453 Fax: 337-589-6127
Westlake Mayor’s Court
Address: 1001 Mulberry Street, PO Box 700, Westlake LA 70669
Phone: 337-433-4597 Fax: 337-437-3181