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What kind of cases are handled in city court?

Because they often involve serious crimes, much of what is covered about criminal charges in the media revolves around felonies. However, many people do not accurately understand what a misdemeanor charge or conviction means or what the penalties can be. The Baton Rouge City Court handles all types of cases, including misdemeanor criminal charges.

The city court handles both civil and criminal cases and also deals with traffic violations. To be heard in the city court, a criminal charge must involve a misdemeanor that has a maximum sentence of six months or less and/or involves a fine of $1,000 or less.

It's a common misconception that you do not need legal representation if you are charged with one of these crimes and the case is to be heard in civil court. Any time you are charged with a crime, no matter how insignificant it seems, the chance for a conviction is there. Once you are convicted of a crime, it goes on your criminal record. Even though it is typically felony charges that can keep you from getting certain jobs or passing background checks, misdemeanors can have an effect on your reputation in the community and can be a reminder of mistakes you'd rather leave in the past.

By talking to an attorney as soon as you are arrested, you can get a better idea of what the possible outcomes are for your particular situation and what defense alternatives you have. Depending on the facts of the case, a defense attorney may even be able to get the charges dropped completely and help you keep your criminal record clean.

Source: Baton Rouge Government Website, "FAQs," accessed April. 24, 2015

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