Lafourche Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Lafourche Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in Lafourche Parish.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Lafourche 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.
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.
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.
What happens in Lafourche Parish at an arraignment?
In Lafourche 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.
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.
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.
Lafourche Parish Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Lafourche Parish Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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.
Who can help me in Lafourche Parish?
For general information about your case the Lafourche 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.
Prosecutor in Lafourche Parish
In Lafourche Parish, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Lafourche Parish. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Louisiana. For the most part, the prosecutor in Lafourche Parish has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
Required Court Appearances in Lafourche Parish
Any required court appearances in Lafourche 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.
Lafourche Parish Criminal Court Locations
Lafourche 17th Judicial District Court
Address: 303 West 3rd Street, PO Box 818, Thibodaux LA 70302
Phone: 985-447-4841 Fax: 985-447-5800
Thibodaux City Court
Address: 1309 Canal Blvd, PO Box 568, Thibodaux LA 70302
Phone: 985-446-7238 Fax: 985-446-7275
1st Justice of the Peace Court
Address: 1009 Talbot Avenue, Thibodaux LA 70301
2nd Justice of the Peace Court
Address: 115 Uzee Lane, Raceland LA 70394
3rd Justice of the Peace Court
Address: 5020 Hwy 1, Raceland LA 70394
4th Justice of the Peace Court
Address: 16932 West Main, PO Box 331, Galliano LA 70354
Golden Meadow Mayor’s Court
Address: 107 Jervis Drive, PO Box 307, Golden Meadow LA 70357
Lockport Mayor’s Court
Address: 710 Church Street, Lockport LA 70374
Phone: 985-532-3117 Fax: 985-532-7143