De Soto Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in De Soto Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in De Soto Parish.
In a jury trial in De Soto 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.
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.
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.
Where will De Soto Parish criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of De Soto Parish. See here for the location of the criminal courts in De Soto Parish.
Required Court Appearances in De Soto Parish
Any required court appearances in De Soto Parish Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
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 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.
De Soto Parish Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In De Soto Parish this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in De Soto Parish Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In De Soto Parish a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
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.
Where can I get help for my De Soto 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 De Soto 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.
De Soto Parish Prosecutor
For criminal cases in De Soto Parish, the prosecutor will be a representative of De Soto Parish. The De Soto 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.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
De Soto Parish Criminal Court Locations
DeSoto 42nd Judicial District Court – Main Office
Address: 101 Texas Street, PO Box 1206, Mansfield LA 71052
Phone: 318-872-3110 Fax: 318-872-4202
DeSoto 42nd Judicial District Court – Stonewall Satellite Office
Address: 1324 Hwy 71, PO Box 618, Stonewall LA 71078
Phone: 318-925-6655 Fax: 318-925-6667
Justice of the Peace District 1
Address: 182 Helen Lane, Logansport LA 71049
Justice of the Peace District 2
Address: 1801 Hwy 171, Stonewall LA 71078
Justice of the Peace District 3
Address: PO Box 853, Mansfield LA 71052
Justice of the Peace District 4
Address: 2286 South Washington Street, PO Box 66, Mansfield LA 71052
Justice of the Peace District 5
Address: 195 Van Rambin Road, Pelican LA 71063
Justice of the Peace District 6
Address: 2204 Old Mansfield Road, Logansport LA 71049
Grand Cane Mayor’s Court
Address: 8356 Old Hwy 171, PO Box 82, Grand Cane LA 71032
Phone: 318-858-3251 Fax: 318-858-3555
Logansport Mayor’s Court
Address: 309 Main Street, PO Box 400, Logansport LA 71049
Phone: 318-697-5359 Fax: 318-697-5107
Mansfield Mayor’s Court
Address: 705 Polk Street, PO Box 773, Mansfield LA 71052
Phone: 318-872-0406 Fax: 318-872-0402
South Mansfield Mayor’s Court
Address: 120 Britney Drive, PO Box 995, Mansfield LA 71052
Phone: 318-872-3960 Fax: 318-872-9198
Stonewall Mayor’s Court
Address: 1318 Hwy 171, PO Box 92, Stonewall LA 71078
Phone: 318-925-9338 Fax: 318-925-9339