City of New Orleans to Criminal Defense Lawyers: “No more plea deals for traffic violations.”
This morning, the New Orleans Advocate reported what local criminal defense firms, including Martzell, Bickford & Centola lawyers, have realized in recent weeks: the City Attorney’s office has ended the practice of issuing plea deals for major or even minor traffic violations.
For years, it had been the practice of the City Attorney’s office to allow alleged traffic rule violators to plead guilty to a lesser charge or charges in exchange for dismissal of more serious charges. This practice applied to everything from minor speeding tickets to reckless driving and DWI charges.
In the New Orleans Advocate story this morning, Mayor Landrieu’s office confirmed that this will no longer be in place “for at least 30 days.” The mayor’s office denied the new change in policy had anything to do with raising new revenue from fine collection. (Locals might recall that city officials made similar denials about the reason for traffic cameras, only to more recently confirm that the city’s budget depends on those traffic camera revenues and that the cameras are now here to stay).
Without hiring additional City Attorneys, or introducing a new mechanism to get police officers to appear in Court as scheduled, we expect there to be a huge backlog of cases waiting for trial.
The change in policy does not mean there are no longer effective defenses to traffic or DWI violations. It does mean that local criminal defense lawyers will have to work better, harder and smarter to defend their clients.
Martzell, Bickford & Centola has successfully defended traffic violations, DWI charges, drug charges, rape charges, even murder charges for over 30 years now. With the practice of “easy pleas” on hold, at least for now, your choice of a reputable criminal defense firm is more important than ever. If we can serve you in your criminal defense, please contact us for a complimentary consultation at 504-581-9065.