Criminal and Civil District Courts Function Separately

A prosecutor or district attorney represents the people and has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Civil cases are brought by one private individual or company against another; the goal is monetary remedies or equitable remedies. No one faces jail time in a civil case. The plaintiff must prove his or her claim in civil court, but does not have the obligation to prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is important to understand the types of cases, as well as which court has jurisdiction or the right to hear each type of case. The distinction between civil and criminal cases is an especially important one for cases in the New Orleans Parish court system. In New Orleans Parish, the criminal district court and the civil district court function separately.

Bloom Legal represents clients injured by motor vehicle accidents or other negligence claims in civil court. Our New Orleans criminal defense law firm represents clients who face criminal charges for drug offenses, party crimes, drunk driving and many other types of illegal acts.

Our attorneys can help you understand:

  • How the New Orleans Parish court system is structured and what that means for your case.
  • Where your case will be heard in the New Orleans Parish court system.
  • How a our attorneys can help with your case.

How is the New Orleans Parish Court System Structured?

The Orleans Parish Criminal District Court has jurisdiction over all state criminal cases that are brought within the New Orleans area, except for juvenile crime cases. According to the Orleans Parish criminal district court website, the goal of the court is to: “prosecute all crimes, misdemeanors, and offensives committed within the Parish of Orleans in which jurisdiction is not vested in some other court.”

The Orleans Parish criminal district is made up of 13 sections, which 12 elected judges preside over. The judges in sections A to L preside over primarily felony cases. Section M is comprised of four appointed commissioners and one elected district court, which conducts bond hearings, among other tasks.

The Orleans Parish criminal district court routinely refers misdemeanor offenses to the New Orleans Municipal Court.

The Orleans Parish Civil District Court has general civil jurisdiction. It presides over injury claims, breach of contract claims and other civil law cases.

Where Will My Case Be Heard in the New Orleans Parish Court System?

If you file a lawsuit you are required to present your case in the court that has jurisdiction over your case. Generally, this means filing suit in a district court where the incidents leading to the court case took place, or where the parties reside.

For example, if you were involved in a motor vehicle collision, you would generally sue the driver who caused your crash in the district court at the location where the accident occurred. You could also file a lawsuit in the district court at the location where the defendant lived.

If you are facing criminal charges, your case will generally be prosecuted in the district court or municipal court where the arrest occurred. If you are facing federal criminal charges, your case will be heard in federal court, not state court.

New Orleans Criminal District Court

In Louisiana there are multiple courts within each parish. Each court is assigned specific duties and has jurisdiction over certain types of cases. In New Orleans, the district court system is unique in that the criminal district court and the civil district court are entirely separate. In all other parishes, there is one District Court that has civil and criminal jurisdiction, while in New Orleans the criminal district court and civil district court operate independently and are located in separate buildings.

If you are charged with a crime, you may have your case heard in a New Orleans criminal district court. There is a different court for juvenile crimes, and the district court refers many cases to municipal or traffic court.

Bloom Legal has represented many clients in New Orleans criminal district court and can assist you throughout the entire process of your criminal case. It is important to understand where your case will be heard. The legal professionals at Bloom Legal, a New Orleans criminal defense law firm, are familiar with the local court system and can explain where and why you case will be tried.

We can answer your questions including:

  • What kinds of cases does the New Orleans criminal district court hear?
  • Will my case be heard in a New Orleans criminal district court?
  • How can a  criminal defense lawyer help with my case?

What Kinds of Cases Does the New Orleans Criminal District Court Hear?

According to the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court website, the court prosecutes all crimes, misdemeanors, and offenses that are committed within the Parish of Orleans unless there is another court that is vested with jurisdiction for hearing the case.

While the court has jurisdiction over misdemeanors and felonies, the criminal district court usually presides primarily over trials where a defendant faces felony charges. The Orleans Parish District Attorney routinely refers state misdemeanor offenses to New Orleans municipal court, while cases involving traffic offenses are heard by a judge in a special traffic court.

Will My Case Be Heard in a New Orleans Criminal District Court?

Whether you go to trial and face charges in New Orleans criminal district court depends on the circumstances. If you are charged with a felony crime, like certain types of aggravated assault or vehicular manslaughter, then your trial may be held in a New Orleans criminal district court.

For a minor offense, like a first time DUI, your case may be heard in municipal court. Yet, serious offenses like drug charges may involve federal charges and will be heard in federal court.

You do not get to choose whether you face federal or state charges, but you do need to understand the potential outcomes of your case at both levels. The New Orleans criminal defense law firm of Bloom Legal can represent you in any court in the New Orleans area.

Municipal Court in New Orleans

If you, like many visitors to this city, have been arrested, ticketed, or cited for public intoxication, minor in possession of alcohol, or any other “party” crime, it is highly likely that you have been given a summons to appear in New Orleans Municipal Court. New Orleans Municipal Court also handles more serious criminal misdemeanor charges, like lewd conduct, simple battery, domestic violence, assault, and aggravated assault.

These are common charges in New Orleans and, while they are not something to be taken lightly, they are also not a reason to be overly worried. All of these charges, however, are misdemeanors and can impact your record and future.

Bloom Legal routinely represents clients with criminal misdemeanor charges in New Orleans Municipal Court. These kinds of charges can often be handled without the client appearing personally in court. Sometimes, when the case is handled by an experienced attorney, the charges may be reduced or dismissed.

At Bloom Legal, we understand that many people must leave the city because they are here for pleasure or business, so we able are to handle cases and represent clients in abstenita (without them there) if necessary.

New Orleans Civil District Court

The New Orleans civil district court is the court that will preside over your lawsuit if you are injured and wish to pursue a claim for compensation. The civil division also hears other cases in which one private party such as an individual or a corporation takes some type of legal action against another private entity.

An experienced attorney at Bloom Legal, a New Orleans auto accident law firm, can represent you in your case before the New Orleans civil district court and answer your questions including:

  • What does the New Orleans civil district court do?
  • What if I have a case before the New Orleans civil district court?
  • How can an experienced attorney help with my case?

What Does the New Orleans Civil District Court Do?

The Orleans Parish has a unique court structure because it is the only parish where the civil and criminal courts are legally distinct and kept entirely separate. The New Orleans Civil District Court is located in a different building than the New Orleans Criminal District Court and operates independently.

The New Orleans Civil District Court has several departments, which each handle specific types of claims. This includes departments that handle specialty legal matters including:

  • Docket 1 – where probate matters and cases involving successions, tutorships, interdictions, civil judicial commitments and emancipations are handled.
  • Docket 4 – where cases involving defaults, writs of garnishments and foreclosures are addressed.
  • Docket 5 – where domestic matters such as divorce and custody cases are handled.

For any case that the New Orleans Civil District court has jurisdiction over, you must file suits, pleadings, wills, exhibits, promissory notes and other court paperwork with the Clerk of the Civil District Court.

What if I Have a Case Pending Before the New Orleans Civil District Court?

The New Orleans Civil District Court, like all courts, has procedural rules that must be followed. You must respond to a summons and come to court when required if you are involved in a case before the Civil Court. It is of upmost important to ensure you comply with the rules for submitting motions and pleadings or presenting evidence before a court.

Knowing the rules for how to proceed with a civil lawsuit can be difficult, but an experienced legal representative can provide necessary guidance. The New Orleans auto accident law firm of Bloom Legal has represented many clients with cases pending before the Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Filing a lawsuit can be complicated. An attorney can help you make decisions regarding who to sue and what court system to file a lawsuit with. At Bloom Legal, we guide our clients every step of the way and help you make the strongest case possible under the circumstances.

To learn more, call today to schedule your consultation with our experienced law firm. We can be reached at (504) 599-9997.

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.



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