So, you came to New Orleans to have fun. That's not a bad idea, considering our city has a festival almost every week of the year. Did you know there are over 135 annual festivals in New Orleans? It's no small wonder that so many people choose NOLA as a travel destination. However, with so many people partying all the time, our law enforcement officers can get wrapped up in keeping the peace.
Becoming overwhelmed by the festivities that happen in New Orleans can be pretty easy, and if you aren't careful, it could lead to your arrest. Travelers often don't realize that despite the party-friendly nature of our town, it has some clear rules that shouldn't be broken. Here's what can happen if you get on the wrong side of the law in our area.
Arrested While Visiting New Orleans? What Next?
If you are arrested for a crime while visiting New Orleans, then you will be charged and prosecuted in New Orleans. In many states, this would mean that you have to appear in court for hearings and trials, but Louisiana allows what is called trial in absentia. This process allows an attorney to represent the accused without the accused being present in court.
For tourists, this can be advantageous, sparing them the costs of travel, room and board when returning to face charges. However, only a judge can decide if trial in absentia is appropriate, and that decision will depend on several factors.
How Does a Judge Decide if You Can Leave Louisiana?
If your crime is severe enough, a judge may decide that you should be held to await trial. Some misdemeanors and felonies may fit this bill, but crimes committed in other states can also have an effect. A judge could decide that you are likely to not show up to trial if you have unaddressed charges in another state. That could result in you being held, and if the crime in the other state was severe enough, it could also lead to extradition.
Depending on the severity of your charges, you could also be restricted from traveling. Even if you were released to await trial, you may not be allowed to travel far from New Orleans. But if your record is relatively clean, and your personal circumstances are compelling, a judge may agree to trial in absentia. This is why having an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to a strong defense strategy.
When Results Matter, Contact the Right Criminal Defense Attorney
Hiring an attorney who understands how the court works and what judges are looking for can be critical to your defense. The New Orleans criminal defense attorneys at Martzell, Bickford & Centola understand that an arrest during your vacation shouldn't derail your life. We help everyday people when legal matters threaten their way of life, so call (504) 581-9065 if you are having problems with the law.