Get Help from Top New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorneys
Arrested in Louisiana? Confused by the laws in New Orleans? Need to help a loved one? No matter the reason, you’re visiting this page, we’re here to help. Read our criminal law FAQs and then schedule a free consultations with the experienced New Orleans criminal defense attorneys at Bloom Legal.
Questions About Your Arrest
What Kind of Criminal Cases Do You Handle?
At Bloom Legal, we handle most types of criminal defense cases, both at the misdemeanor and felony level.
Under misdemeanors, we handle a lot of what we call the “party crimes.” These include charges like DWI, disturbing the peace, drunk in public, battery charges, or criminal trespass, among others. Whether you were visiting New Orleans and got in trouble, or whether you live here—we can help. We handle many cases of this nature. We can help get people out of jail, and back on their feet.
We also handle both misdemeanor and felony drug crimes. We understand that addiction is a disease, and the way these issues and drug users are treated in our society is often biased and stigmatized. We want to help people. We want to push people towards rehabilitation, and we also want to defend them and protect their rights.
Ever since its founding in 2004, Bloom Legal has devoted itself to representing good people. We understand that mistakes happen, and life can sometimes be harsh and unforgiving. We want to help as many people as we can, and we approach each case with empathy and compassion.
We care about our clients, and that reflects in the work we do. Give us a call today for a free phone consultation on your case.
What Should You Do If You’re Arrested in New Orleans?
Getting arrested is an experience nobody wants to go through. If it does happen to you, there are a number of things you should know in order to protect yourself, and to set yourself up for success should your case go to trial.
When getting arrested, always remain calm and cooperative with the police. Do not give the police any reason to antagonize or suspect you further. Maintain a cordial tone when answering questions, and do not swear or get worked up.
The police will likely ask you a number of questions, both at the scene of the crime and once you are taken to the station for processing. Answer only those questions necessary to get you through processing. These will mostly be personal questions about your identity.
Beyond that, it is best to ensure that your New Orleans criminal defense lawyer is present before you answer any more questions. You can refuse to answer certain questions without becoming hostile. Without raising your voice or becoming agitated, politely inform the officers that you want to see your attorney before you will answer any more questions. You are within your rights to make this request, per the Fifth Amendment.
When you are arrested, the police are required by law read you your Miranda Rights. If you’ve ever watched a cop show, you’ve probably heard the Miranda Rights a hundred times:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have a right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
The Fifth Amendment and the Miranda Rights are designed to protect a person being arrested from acting as a witness against or further incriminating themselves.
While you have the right not to incriminate yourself, you must exercise this right. Anything and everything that happens or is said during the process of your arrest is fair game for a criminal trial. This is why it is important to have an experienced attorney present to help protect you. Your New Orleans criminal defense lawyer can assist you through all the phases of your arrest, beginning with police interrogation, and onward through your criminal defense, bail, plea bargaining, and trial.
On a similar note, during your arrest, it is important to pay close attention to everything that is happening. This information may be useful for your criminal defense down the road. The more thorough you can be the better, so if possible write down the details of your arrest as soon as you can.
Did the police forget or forgo part of the arrest process? Did they make you uncomfortable or refuse any requests? For example, if the police failed to read you your Miranda Rights, this information could be used by your attorney to defend you in court.
A licensed, experienced New Orleans criminal defense attorney is the most effective way to ensure you are protected during and after your arrest. If you have been arrested, the criminal law professionals at Bloom Legal LLC are standing by and ready to fight for you. In issues of criminal defense, time can play a key role. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.
What Constitutes Resisting Arrest in New Orleans?
Resisting arrest, also known as obstruction, can be a misdemeanor or felony crime, depending on the situation. One may be charged with resisting arrest if they are not compliant or act aggressively during their own arrest. One can also be charged for interfering in the arrest of another person.
Things that may constitute misdemeanor resisting arrest:
- Running from a police officer
- Attempting to hide from a police officer
- Lying to a police officer about the location of someone they are trying to arrest
Things that may constitute felony resisting arrest:
- Acting violently against a police officer
- Threatening violence against a police officer
Things that do not constitute resisting arrest
- Refusing to answer questions asked by a police officer
- Disagreeing with a police officer
When attempting to prove a resisting arrest charge, the officer must be able to show that the arrest was lawful. In other words, that the arrest was warranted on the basis of the law being broken or suspicion of the law being broken.
However, in the heat of the moment a resisting arrest charge is really on the word of the arresting officer. If a person gives them difficulty or acts disobedient or unruly, the officer may see fit to charge them with resisting arrest.
If you have been accused of resisting arrest or obstruction, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to argue your case, either by means of showing that the arrest was unlawful, or that you were acting in self-defense, among other strategies.
How Can You Find Out Where a Loved One is Detained?
If you don’t receive a call directly, you may have trouble determining where they are being held. If you are in the New Orleans area, you can visit the Orleans Parish sheriff’s website, opcso.org, to search a database of current detainees. These days, many other parishes and counties around the country offer this kind of online tool.
It helps to know what parish the crime was committed in. Even if there is no online database, you can contact the sheriff’s office or the police department in the parish directly to try to locate the person.
If you aren’t sure which parish they were arrested in, you may have to do a bit of calling around. It should also be noted that sometimes the booking process can take some time. The person won’t appear in the database until the booking process is complete, so you may need to keep checking around if you can’t locate the person initially.
What is Release Under One’s Own Recognizance?
In some cases arrested individuals may be released under their own recognizance. This means that the person is released without paying any bail or posting a bond. Instead, they sign a document promising to show up for all future court dates.
In determining whether individuals may be released under their own recognizance, the court will consider severity of the crime. The suspect’s prior criminal record can also play a part. First time offenders are usually more likely to be released under their own recognizance, though this is not always the case.
Other factors that may be considered are the suspect’s potential danger to the public, and their family and employment obligations. For example, a single mother without anyone else to care for her children may be more likely to be released without bail.
Usually individuals released under their own recognizance have to abide by certain legal stipulations. They may be required to stay within the jurisdiction where their crime was committed until their court date. Be sure to clarify with the appropriate courts any stipulations on your release, to make sure you remain compliant.
Other stipulations may include abstaining from drug or alcohol use, forfeiture of driver’s license, or reporting to a probation officer.
If a suspect is released on their own recognizance and then fails to show up for a court date, a warrant for their arrest will be issued immediately. As might be expected, the bail set for their release this time around will typically be substantial.
What if You Can’t Afford Bail?
When someone is arrested, with the exception of extremely heinous crimes, a bail amount will be set by the court. If paid, this bail will allow the arrested individual to go free under the presumption that they will attend their ensuing court dates.
However, most people don’t plan to get arrested, and so when it happens they may not have thousands of dollars sitting around to get them or a loved one out of jail.
This is where bail bondsmen come in. A bail bondsmen will front the bulk of a bail fee to get someone out of jail. Typically, you pay between 10-13 % of your own money and the bondsman covers the rest.
The bondsmen is then acting as a sort of in-between, or a vouchsafe. They are saying that the person in prison can be trusted to show up to their court dates. Failure to show up, means that the bond will be forfeited, and the bondsman may send someone—like a bounty hunter—to look for this person and bring them in.
Questions About Your Plea and Sentencing
Can I leave the state or country if I have pending charges?
For most misdemeanor charges, you are free to travel. However, many pending felony charges may prevent you from leaving the state or especially the country. One should always check with the court handling the charges ahead of traveling as each case is unique. For more info click here.
How will a criminal record affect me?
Having a criminal record can impact many aspects of one’s life. It can strip a person of their right to vote and their right to purchase and own guns. Many employers conduct criminal background checks prior to hiring people, and may not hire someone based on a criminal record. Additionally, a person with a criminal record may be more severely punished for future charges than someone without a record. These are just some examples of the negative fallout the system places on convicted felons.
How do I clear my criminal record?
In Louisiana and many other states, criminal records can be cleared by a process known as expungement. Though an expungement is not the equivalent of a totally clean slate, it is the closest approximate in our legal system. Via expungement, one’s record is sealed away and cannot be accessed by the public. However, it still may be accessible to law enforcement or legal officials.
The expungement process can be an arduous one, requiring a lot of paperwork, numerous fees, and a lot of waiting around. Some particularly heinous crimes, like murder or crimes of sexual violence, are not expungable offenses.
Will my criminal record have an effect on new charges?
Yes. Individuals with prior criminal records are eligible for higher penalties if they are charged with additional crimes.
What is a court summons?
When one is charged with a crime, they will usually be issued a court summons. This may happen at the time of the incidence, when the person is charged by the officer. Or the summons may arrive later in the mail. The summons commands a person to appear in court on a certain day and submit a plea of guilty or not guilty. If one fails to appear, they will be held in contempt.
What is a plea bargain?
A plea bargain is a deal worked out between the DA or prosecutor and, most often, the defendant’s attorney. With a plea bargain, a defendant agrees to plead guilty or nolo contendere to the charge or charges leveled against them. In exchange, the prosecutor will deliver some concession, such as a reduced sentence or penalty.
What does it mean to plead nolo contendere?
Most people know what it means to plead “guilty” or “not guilty,” but what about the third option, “nolo contendere?” With this plea the defendant is neither denying nor accepting the charges against them. It is also known as a “no contest” plea. From a legal standpoint, it is essentially the same as pleading guilty, and is often used in plea bargain.
Why would someone plead guilty?
This is a question we hear quite a bit. Why in the world would anyone ever plead guilty or admit to committing a crime in a court of law? Isn’t it always better, if you’re able, to hire a lawyer and fight the charges? Not necessarily.
In some cases, pleading guilty can help minimize punishment, whether it’s reduced jailtime or reduced fines. Particularly in cases where the prosecutor has substantive or extensive evidence against the defendant, it may be best to take a plea bargain and plead guilty.
Every case is different, and if you are facing criminal charges of any kind, you should always speak with a criminal defense lawyer before pleading.
What is white collar crime?
White collar crimes are typically non-violent crimes involving financial matters. Crimes like fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, embezzlement, and more fall under the umbrella of white collar crimes.
What is aggravated assault?
Aggravated assault in Louisiana refers to an act of violence with a deadly weapon. Most often the weapon is a gun or a knife, but could be something else. Aggravated assault does not only include physically attacking someone else. It also includes threatening harm with a weapon against another, regardless of whether there is physical violence involved or not.
Is aggravated assault a felony in Louisiana?
What is domestic abuse aggravated assault?
Domestic abuse refers to violence or the threat of violence committed by one member of a household against another. So, domestic abuse aggravated assault is when one member of a household commits or threatens violence with a deadly weapon against another member of the household.
Can you be arrested for trespassing in Louisiana?
Trespassing is a misdemeanor charge in Louisiana. Typically one will not be arrested on the spot for a trespassing charge. Instead, they will be issued a court summons. During court, if one is found guilty, they will likely be charged a monetary fine. They may also be sentenced to as much as a month of jail time. The fines and jail time will increase for repeat offenders.
How much is a disturbing the peace ticket in Louisiana?
For first time offenders, the maximum penalty for disturbing the peace in Louisiana is a $100 fine and/or 90 days in jail. For repeat offenders, the penalty will often be greater.
What is a disturbing the peace charge in Louisiana?
Particularly in New Orleans, disturbing the peace charges are often paired with public intoxication charges. People who have had too much to drink and are causing a disturbance or bothering others in a public setting are liable for this charge. However, alcohol is not a necessary requirement. Any individual who is being disruptive or offensive in a public place or private establishment may be charged with disturbing the peace.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorneys
For locals and tourists embroiled in civil litigation or criminal charges following their evening out in New Orleans, Bloom Legal can assist in expunging these charges or settling any and all civil cases.
Do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible after your arrest or if you are being questioned by police in connection with a crime. Call Bloom Legal today at 504-599-9997, or contact us online now to schedule a case evaluation with our New Orleans criminal defense attorneys and learn more about how we can provide criminal defense services tailored to your needs.
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Hear What Our Clients Have To Say
I contacted Bloom Legal out of the blue with a strange question for a fiction series I’m writing that takes place in New Orleans. Being from Maryland I was in the dark and needed assistance and they jumped at the chance to help me (they were the only law firm that responded to my e-mail). His team worked quickly and carefully to find the information I needed. Because of the help they provided it changed a large aspect of my novel and for that I am very grateful.
Posted by: Sarah Perrie