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If you have a pending criminal case and are wondering what to do, I have over 20 years of experience helping people like you solve big criminal problems.
If you have a summons in Municipal Court and are concerned about appearing in court, or how the summons will affect your job, I can help answer your questions.
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My goal is simple. To provide honest, straightforward answers to your criminal law questions, and give you an objective legal opinion regarding your case. Most importantly, I am here to help you through a difficult time; to guide you through the often uncomfortable journey into - and most importantly out of - the criminal justice system.
Tips to Avoid Trouble During Mardi GrasPosted on by Townsend Myers
It’s Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, and that means a whole lot of fun for most people, but trouble for some people. As a criminal defense attorney for 20 years, I’ve certainly helped hundreds of people get themselves out of trouble during Mardi Gras, but I’ve also learned an number of ways to try to help people stay out of trouble in the first place during this time of year, and I wanted to offer a few tips about that.
Tip No. 1: Drink Responsibly
The first tip would be to try to drink responsibly. Inevitably, Mardi Gras leads to people drinking less responsibly than they otherwise would, but in my experience 90% of problems that arise during this time of year arise because people have had too much to drink. So to the extent that you can manage your drinking, I think you can avoid a lot of the other problems that I’m about to discuss.
Tip No. 2: Avoid Rowdy and Obnoxious Behavior
The second general tip is to avoid are rowdy and obnoxious confrontations with other individuals. Whether they are verbal or escalate to physical confrontations, aggressive or obnoxious behavior toward other people is generally going to result in some kind of involvement from law enforcement, and potential criminal problems for you.
Tip No. 3: Don’t Argue with Police Officers
The above is especially true with respect to confrontations with police officers. There are a lot of police officers on the street during Mardi Gras. They are going to be asking you to move. They are going to be asking you to stop doing certain things. You may feel that you have a right to be where you are, or to be doing the thing that you are doing, but you are not going to win that argument with a police officer. So just listen kindly, and move on. (more…)
Tips for Filing Expungements in New Orleans Area Criminal CourtsPosted on by Townsend Myers
Having spent a majority of my life as a criminal defense attorney, one of the questions I get asked frequently is how to get a criminal charge removed from your record. The process – known as an expungement - in Louisiana criminal courts is both simple and complex: simple, in that it doesn’t require and vast legal knowledge to complete the required paperwork; but complex, in that the procedures for preparing, filing and processing the paperwork can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you are doing.
Because it can be so confusing for someone to navigate the expungement process, I recommend hiring a lawyer to help. But, the law allows individuals to prepare and file expungements on their own – without a lawyer. So, if you are so bold as to wade into this on your own, here are a few tips to help you:
1. Know where you need to file before you start.
You expungement needs to be filed with the Clerk of Court in the courthouse where your conviction was entered. In the New Orleans area (including the suburban jurisdictions) there are at least 10 different possibilities of where this is. The Clerk of Court, or a local criminal defense lawyer can help you figure out where you need to file so you don’t waste your time and effort filing in the wrong courthouse. (more…)
5 Things You Need to Know About a Sugar Bowl ArrestPosted on by Townsend Myers
I have been a criminal defense attorney for over 20 years, and have spent almost all of that time in New Orleans. Over the course of my career, I have handled hundreds of cases arising out of arrests during New Year’s Eve and the Sugar Bowl.
New Orleans is a popular destination around the holidays, and this time of year I get a lot of phone calls and emails looking for advice about how to handle what for many is an inevitable brush with the law. In that spirit, I have compiled a list of my top 5 things everyone should know about a New Year’s Eve or Sugar Bowl arrest.
1. The worst is probably behind you. If you are reading this post from the comfort of your home or hotel room, it is extremely likely that the worst part of this experience is already over. For most kinds of cases that stem from “party-related” arrests, the time you just spent in jail after your arrest is almost certainly going to be the only time you spend behind bars. Obviously, the more serious the charges the more likely you might be looking at jail time, but in the vast majority of cases I handle around the holidays, the odds of serving any amount of jail time are pretty small.
2. You will have to go to court. Despite what the officer who arrested you told you, there is no way to call the court and pay a fine on your case – you will receive a date to appear in court, and you need to be there. If you fail to appear on your appointed court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest, (more…)
Lawyer in New Orleans Municipal CourtPosted on by Townsend Myers
New Orleans Municipal Court is where people charged with minor misdemeanor offenses in New Orleans will have their cases heard. Your case will be allotted to Municipal Court either because you have been arrested for a municipal or state misdemeanor charge, or because you have been cited for such a charge and received a summons to appear in court.
In either case you will have a date set for a first appearance in municipal court, generally anywhere from three days to two weeks from the date of your arrest or citation. This is for your arraignment – a date to plead “guilty” or “not guilty” to the charges. Either you or an attorney on your behalf will need to appear in court at your arraignment to enter a plea. You cannot do this by telephone, mail or online.
My advice to anyone charged with a crime in Municipal Court is to plead “not guilty” on the arraignment date. Your case will then be set for trial. On the trial date, you or your attorney can attempt to negotiate either a reduction or a dismissal of the charges. If you are comfortable appearing and representing yourself, you may generally be allowed to do that in Municipal Court. There are some cases where the judge may require you to hire a lawyer to represent you however. (more…)