Tensas Parish Criminal Court

Tensas Parish Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Tensas Parish. See below for more information about criminal cases in Tensas Parish.

Tensas Parish Required Court Appearances

In Tensas 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 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.

Tensas Parish Criminal Court

Tensas Parish Criminal Court

I need help for my Tensas Parish criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Tensas Parish court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Tensas Parish will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Tensas 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.

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.

Who is the prosecutor for Tensas Parish?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Tensas Parish criminal cases will either be a representative of Tensas 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.

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.

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.

Tensas Parish Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Tensas Parish this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Tensas 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 Tensas 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.

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Tensas Parish Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Tensas Parish Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Tensas Parish Criminal Court Locations

  • Tensas 6th Judicial District Court

    Address: 201 Hancock Street, PO Box 78, St. Joseph LA 71366
    Phone: 318-766-3921 Fax: 318-766-3926

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 1

    Address: PO Box 551, Newellton LA 71357
    Phone: 318-467-5607

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 2

    Address: PO Box 127, St Joseph LA 71366
    Phone: 318-766-4420

  • Justice of the Peace Ward 3

    Address: PO Box 155, Waterproof LA 71375
    Phone: 318-749-5435 Fax: 318-749-3381

  • Newellton Mayor’s Court

    Address: 110 South Main, PO Box 477, Newellton LA 71357
    Phone: 318-467-5050 Fax: 318-467-9984

  • St. Joseph Mayor’s Court

    Address: 125 Plank Road, PO Box 217, St. Joseph LA 71366
    Phone: 318-766-3713 Fax: 318- 766-3063

  • Waterproof Mayor’s Court

    Address: 311 Main Street, PO Box 248, Waterproof LA 71375
    Phone: 318-749-5233 Fax: 318-749-3131

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