Concordia Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Concordia Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in Concordia Parish.
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.
Concordia Parish Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Concordia Parish will take place at the Concordia Parish Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Concordia Parish Criminal Court Locations.
Who can help me in Concordia Parish?
For general information about your case the Concordia Parish court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Mandatory Appearances in Concordia Parish Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Concordia 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.
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.
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 is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
Arraignments in Concordia Parish
During an arraignment in Concordia Parish, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Concordia Parish, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Concordia Parish the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Concordia Parish Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Concordia Parish, the prosecutor will be a representative of Concordia Parish. The Concordia 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.
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.
Concordia Parish Criminal Court Locations
Concordia 7th Judicial District Court
Address: 4001 Carter Street, Suite 5, PO Box 790, Vidalia LA 71373
Phone: 318-336-4204 Fax: 318-336-8777
Vidalia City Court
Address: 409 Texas Street, Vidalia LA 71373
Phone: 318-336-6255 Fax: 318-336-9893
Justice of the Peace District 1
Address: PO Box 1014, Ferriday LA 71334
Justice of the Peace District 2
Address: 309 Walnut St, Vidalia LA 71373
Justice of the Peace District 3
Address: 565 Hwy 131, Vidalia LA 71373
Justice of the Peace District 4
Address: 1198 Fisherman Drive, Ferriday LA 71334
Justice of the Peace District 5A
Address: 5448 Dunbarton Road, Ferriday LA 71334
Justice of the Peace District 5B
Address: 269 McMillin Rd, Monterey LA 71354
Clayton Mayor’s Court
Address: 101 Shady Lane, PO Box 277, Clayton LA 71326
Phone: 318-757-8540 Fax: 318-757-8543
Ferriday Mayor’s Court
Address: 1116 2nd Street, Ferriday LA 71334
Phone: 318-757-3411 Fax: 318-757-4456
Ridgecrest Mayor’s Court
Address: 116 Foster Drive, Ridgecrest LA 71334
Phone: 318-757-4497 Fax: 318-757-8240