Arrested on Vacation in Louisiana?

Our New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney Is an Advocate for Louisiana Tourists

The New Orleans law firm of Martzell, Bickford & Centola represents tourists and visitors in a wide range of criminal allegations. With a team of experts, we can scrutinize evidence, analyze reports and cross examine witnesses. If necessary, our New Orleans criminal defense attorney can negotiate with prosecutors and use pretrial measures to protect your best interests. Our success stems from our experience developing reliable legal strategies. If you were arrested during Mardi Gras, French Quarter Fest, Essence Festival, Jazz Fest, an event at Tulane University or Loyola University, during a New Orleans Saints game or other circumstance, we can help.

It is no secret that New Orleans is a major travel destination for tourists around the world. In fact, the New Orleans Press reports that there are more than 135 annual festivals in the city. In addition, groups of travelers, students and business professionals frequent popular areas like Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to encounter or become a tourist charged with a crime. If you have been arrested in New Orleans on vacation or a business trip, odds are you have questions. After all, it can be confusing to navigate laws you may be unfamiliar with. At Martzell, Bickford & Centola, we are advocates for tourists charged with crimes in Louisiana. We believe these allegations should not define you for the rest of your life.

What Are Common Charges Tourists Can Face If Arrested in New Orleans?

New Orleans is a diverse city with a unique and deep culture. For instance, it is not unusual to see a second line performance multiple times a day, filling the streets with people and music. However, these celebrations can lead to confusion. With such large crowds and noise, sometimes a tourist is charged with a crime they had nothing to do with. In addition, you might be facing allegations against everyone in your group. Large scale arrests are routine when New Orleans Police see even one member in a group behaving irresponsibly. If you have been arrested in New Orleans, then it is highly recommended to reserve your right to be silent. Afterward, contact a New Orleans criminal defense attorney from our firm who can help you with common charges such as:

  • Drug Charges: Since New Orleans has roughly one festival every three days, allegations of drug use or drug distribution are common. For example, you can face a drug charge if police see a drug container on the ground and you are the closest person to it. Even if you are just passing by, you can face these charges. Furthermore, if the substance is stored in multiple containers, you can face a charge of intent to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Resisting Arrest: Unfortunately, a resisting arrest charge can be used as a tool by law enforcement to make your arrest easy. For example, an officer can claim that you responded too slowly and allege that you were resisting arrest.
  • Open Alcohol Container: Many tourists are confused with New Orleans’ open container law. While New Orleans lacks strict open container laws, the city does require alcohol in public streets and sidewalks to be consumed only in plastic cups.

Do I Have to Stay in New Orleans for Criminal Proceedings After Release?

For most travelers, it is a serious inconvenience — perhaps even impossible — to return to Louisiana for court. Even if you are able to travel, the cost of travel and additional time off work can be substantial. Fortunately, Louisiana state law allows you to be represented in court by an attorney in your stead. This legal process is known as a “trial in absentia”. Ultimately, the decision to conduct your trial in absentia is decided by the judge. For this reason, you should contact an experienced New Orleans criminal defense attorney that can persuade the judge to proceed with a trial in absentia. Some advantages of this process include:

  • Delay: Delaying your trial can give you and your attorney time to gather important evidence and build a stronger case that can mitigate risk.
  • Reduce Exposure: Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to avoid most or all of your trial proceedings. However, if you are found guilty, then you can be required to show up for your sentencing. Thus, it is beneficial to retain the services of a New Orleans attorney who can help dismiss your charges.

Tourist Charged With a Crime? Our New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney Offers Free Consultations

Have you been arrested while visiting New Orleans? Believe there is a case of mistaken identity or that law enforcement made an error in your arrest? Without legal representation, even a minor offense can result in serious penalties. Do not settle by taking the path of least resistance with a public defender. Contact a Louisiana lawyer that can advocate for you and help bring you peace of mind.

At Martzell, Bickford & Centola, we believe in second chances. Our firm knows that sometimes good and hardworking people find themselves in unfair situations. Because of this, we can focus on an aggressive defense that protects your best interests. Ultimately, our New Orleans criminal defense law firm works to make your resolution as quick and favorable as possible. Contact us online or call our Louisiana law firm at (877) 717-4551 to schedule a free consultation.

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