New Orleans Traffic Court cracking down on plea deals, pushing more trials

Posted on May 26, 2015 in Courts, Criminal Defense, DUI/DWI, Traffic

Photo courtesy of The New Orleans Advocate (www.theneworleansadvocate.com)

Photo courtesy of The New Orleans Advocate (www.theneworleansadvocate.com)

According to The Advocate, New Orleans Traffic Court will be cracking down on the number of plea deals offered for minor and major traffic violations. A few weeks ago, the city prosecutors in traffic court have begun the beginning of taking more matters to trial rather than offer a plea deal. A spokesman for the mayor, Mitch Landrieu, has confirm this change in the court and stated that dealing down on the traffic tickets will no longer continue. Brad Howard, spokesman for the mayor, stated that the new policy would remain for at least 30 days and did not express a proposed end in sight. Many claim this is a ploy to get more money in revenue from fines, but Mr. Howard stated the new approach is “to ensure our policies are consistent with the best practices and consistently enforced across the board.”

Many defense lawyers are calling this new policy problematic as the NOPD has been so thinned by a manpower shortage. By having multiple officers be required to show up in court for trials will likely put a drain on the already strained police force. This more aggressive approach to traffic violations may help compensate for the reduced number of officers writing a reduced number of violations. However, according to the Mayor’s Office, the fines are not the main reason for this new system.

Last year, traffic court and city budget numbers reported that only 120,000 citations were processed, a huge 29 percent decline from 2010. With a steady decline such as that, one way to offset is to prosecute more cases. Whatever the reason for this new policy, more traffic cases will likely be pushed to trial and have fewer pleas.

If you or someone you know is arrested or issued a traffic citation, no matter how small, in the Greater New Orleans area, please give our office a call at 504-599-9997 or email us directly at info@bloomlegal.com.

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