Lafayette Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Lafayette Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in Lafayette Parish.
Prosecutor in Lafayette Parish
In Lafayette Parish, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Lafayette Parish. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Louisiana. For the most part, the prosecutor in Lafayette Parish has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Lafayette Parish a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Who can help me in Lafayette Parish?
For general information about your case the Lafayette 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 Lafayette Parish Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Lafayette 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.
Sentencing in Lafayette Parish
In Lafayette 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 request a Plea Agreement?
In Lafayette Parish you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
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.
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.
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 Lafayette Parish at an arraignment?
In Lafayette 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.
Lafayette Parish Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Lafayette Parish will take place at the Lafayette Parish Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Lafayette Parish Criminal Court Locations.
In a jury trial in Lafayette 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.
Lafayette Parish Criminal Court Locations
Lafayette 15th Judicial District Court
Address: 800 South Buchanan Street, PO Box 2009, Lafayette LA 70502
Phone: 337-291-6400 Fax: 337-291-6392
Lafayette City Court
Address: 105 East Convent Street, PO Drawer 3344, Lafayette LA 70502
Phone: 337-291-8720 Fax: 337-291-8023
Justice of the Peace Ward 1
Address: 310 D. Arceneaux Road, Scott LA 70583
Justice of the Peace Ward 2
Address: 2306 South Fieldspan Road, Duson LA 70529
Justice of the Peace Ward 4
Address: 4256 Verot School Road, Youngsville LA 70592
Justice of the Peace Ward 5
Address: 120 Hulin Rd, Broussard LA 70518
Justice of the Peace Ward 6
Address: 1019 Hector Connolly Road, Carencro LA 70520
Justice of the Peace Ward 6
Address: 248 Froeba Drive, Carencro LA 70520
Justice of the Peace Ward 7
Address: 2877 Verot School Road, Lafayette, LA 70508
Justice of the Peace Ward 8
Address: 500 Touchet Road, Lafayette LA 70506
Justice of the Peace Ward 9
Address: 120 LA Hwy 89 South, Youngsville LA 70592
Broussard Magistrate’s Court
Address: 414 East Main Street, Broussard LA 70518
Phone: 337-837-6259 Fax: 337-839-1219
Carencro Mayor’s Court
Address: 110 Centennial Avenue, Carencro LA 70520
Phone: 337-896-6132 Fax: 337-896-1937
Duson Mayor’s Court
Address: 498 Toby Mouton Road, PO Box 10, Duson LA 70529
Phone: 337-873-6754 Fax: 337-873-6750
Scott Mayor’s Court
Address: 420 Lions Club Road, PO Box 517, Scott LA 70583
Phone: 337-233-1130 Fax: 337-233-0240
Youngsville Mayor’s Court
Address: 305 Iberia Street, PO Box 592, Youngsville LA 70592
Phone: 337-856-4181 Fax: 337-856-8863