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Coming to the Lafayette Parish Courthouse – What You Need to Know

Location of courthouse: The Lafayette Parish courthouse is located at 800 S. Buchanan St. in downtown Lafayette. The cross street is West Main Street, which is where the entrances are located. The courthouse backs up to Lafayette Street. The Thomas V. Alonzo Law Firm office is conveniently located about 5 1/2 blocks from the Courthouse.

map of the location of Lafayette Parish Courthouse

Map to the Lafayette Parish Courthouse in Lafayette, Louisiana

Parking: There are parking spots with meters on the streets around the courthouse and a parking garage at 835 S. Buchanan St., between Main St. and Convent St.

When to arrive: DO NOT BE LATE! We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes before your scheduled court time. So if you are subpoenaed to appear at 8:30 a.m., please arrive at least at 8:15. The courthouse opens at 8 a.m. and it is much better to be early than late. There is a security checkpoint at the entrance to the courthouse (located on West Main St.) and sometimes there is a line. It’s best to arrive early enough to allow time to go through the checkpoint and to find your courtroom.

If you are late and your name has already been called, a bench warrant will be issued for you. If you have a legitimate reason for being late (ie traffic accident, went to wrong courtroom, etc.) you may explain to the judge what caused you to be late. Sleeping in or forgetting are not legitimate reasons for being late, and a judge could fine you or put you in jail at their discretion. If a bench warrant has been issued, be sure to have your attorney or the Clerk of Court recall that bench warrant before you leave the courthouse.

Lafayette Parish Courthouse

Lafayette Parish Courthouse

Finding your courtroom: The courtrooms are located upstairs. Each courtroom is associated with a particular judge, so you need to know the name of the judge hearing your case. There is a list of judge’s and their courtrooms in the elevator and also posted on the wall on the 4th floor. If you do not know your judge’s name, you may ask for help at the Clerk of Court’s office on the 2nd floor. Most pre trials and criminal matters will take place on the 4th floor in courtroom 4b or 4c.

What to wear to court: Dress like you are going to church or in business casual. Please dress respectfully — this means no shorts, flip flops or overly casual attire. Do not wear provocative clothing or t-shirts with vulgar or controversial messages. Men cannot wear hats or head coverings. Please see “Dressing Appropriately for a Court Appearance” from Thomas V. Alonzo’s Legal Blog, for more information.

Also, you will need to go through a security checkpoint with metal detectors before you can enter the courthouse, so you may want to limit jewelry or belts or shoes with metal just for your convenience since you will have to remove them to go through.

What to bring with you: Please bring any official documents or paperwork related to the charge – like a subpoena, indictment, Bill of Information or any discovery.

Lafayette Parish Courthouse sign prohibiting cameras, phones, weapons.

Sign Outside of Lafayette Parish Courthouse

What NOT to bring with you: You cannot bring your cell phone into the courthouse, so leave it in the car. Do not bring weapons, sharp metal objects, cameras or recording devices into the courthouse. You cannot take food or drink into the courthouse. Please do not bring children if at all possible.

How long will I be in court? This depends on the number and type of cases also being heard. Sometimes you can be there all day, so please plan ahead and make sure you have made provisions for childcare, work schedules, etc. just in case. Most commonly you will be subpoenaed to appear at 8:30 a.m. on your court date. Even if you case is not heard until later in the afternoon, you need to be in court at 8:30 a.m. and stay until your case is heard.

Coming to Lafayette City Court – What You Need to Know

Location: Lafayette City Court is located at 105 East Convent Street, between Lee Avenue and Johnston Street, in downtown Lafayette, Louisiana. City Court is located within walking distance (about 2 1/2 blocks) from the Thomas Alonzo Law Firm.

map to City Court in lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette City Court

 

The difference between the Lafayette City Courthouse and the Lafayette Parish Courthouse: City Court is where traffic violations and misdemeanors that occurred in the City of Lafayette are heard. If the arrest for a misdemeanor took place in the city of Lafayette, the charge will be heard at the City Courthouse. Misdemeanor arrests that took place outside of the city of Lafayette will be heard at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse. All felony charges are heard in the Lafayette Parish Courthouse regardless of where the arrest took place.

Parking: Parking is available at metered spots on Lee Avenue. There is also a parking garage at 700 Jefferson St.

When to Arrive: City Court will give you a specific time to arrive for your hearing, listed on your Summons. Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled hearing. For example, if you are scheduled at 2 p.m., please be 15 minutes early and arrive at 1:45 pm.

Lafayette Parish Correctional Center

The Lafayette Parish Correctional Center is located at 916 Lafayette Street in downtown Lafayette, Louisiana. The cross streets are West Main Street and West Vermilion Street. Phone: (337) 236-5400. Email: info@lafayettesheriff.com

map to Lafaeytte Parish Correctional Center

Map to LPCC

To locate a inmate, go to the Recent Arrests page of the Lafayette

Parish Sheriff’s website. If you click on the inmate’s cell assignment, you will see information about visitations.

The Recent Arrests page also provides information about outstanding warrants and defendants who were arrested but are not being held at LPCC.

The General Incarceration FAQ page has information about calling an inmate, sending mail, putting money into an inmate’s account, and much more.

Louisiana Prison Diversion Programs

As a Louisiana criminal defense attorney, my clients frequently ask me about diversion programs that will reduce or eliminate time spent in jail. There are a number of programs available in Louisiana and Lafayette Parish with different eligibility requirements. We have listed and described some of these programs here with links for more information. As always, if you have questions or need criminal defense assistance, please call my Louisiana law office at (337) 704-2615 for a free consultation.

STOP: Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Diversion Program

The Sheriff’s Office in Lafayette Parish offers a diversion program for eligible inmates to allow them finish their sentence outside of the

Exterior of Lafayette, Louisiana Sheriff's Office

Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office

Lafayette Parish Correctional facility. This program is called STOP, an acronym for Sheriff’s Tracking Offender Program. Inmates will be released from jail, but must serve the rest of the sentence in the STOP program. The purpose of STOP is to help inmates successfully transition back into society and avoid going back to jail.

Eligibility: Eligibility for the program depends on a variety of factors including the defendant’s criminal history, conduct in jail, any pending charges, and whether the criminal charges were for violent crimes. Having a stable living situation and job opportunities outside of jail are very helpful for inclusion in STOP. Generally speaking, a defendant without a long criminal history or current charges and who has a job and stable place to live can be eligible for STOP. If a defendant is considered eligible for STOP, the presiding judge must approve participation in the diversion program.

Other Programs: Once you have signed up for the STOP program, you will then be eligible for the other programs available from the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. The programs include 1. Work Release 2. Day Reporting 3. Home Monitoring. Each inmate will have a program tailored for their specific needs, which can include mandatory classes including anger management, counseling, GED prep courses, and job skills.

Visit FAQ Stop Program for more information about STOP.

The phone numbers for STOP are (337) 236-5440 or (337) 231-5606.

To visit the Lafayette Sheriff’s website for general information about the diversion programs they offer, click Lafayette Parish diversion programs.

Lafayette Parish Pretrial Diversion Fees and Conditions

Once you are accepted into the Pre Trial Diversion program of the 15th Judicial District (Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes), you will need to strictly follow the program requirements. Failure to do so could cause you to be kicked out of the program and you will never be eligible for pretrial diversion again – so obviously you want to avoid that.

These are the requirements for each type of charge:

Minor Possession of Tobacco or Purchase of Tobacco on Behalf of a Minor:
1. Fees — $110 enrollment fee plus $70 for the Quest Program
2. Probation: 3 months

Sale of alcohol/tobacco to a minor, No Garbage Collection, Livestock Ordinance, Leash Law Violation, Junked Vehicle:
1. Fees — $125 enrollment fee
2. Community Service: 20 hours

Misdemeanors (excluding drug charge):
1. Fees — $210 fee to enroll, assessment fee of $20, either $125 for Challenge program of $150 for Responsible Living Program.
2. Restitution to victim, if this applies
3. 45 hours of community service or obtaining a GED
4. Probation: 6 months

Misdemeanor – drug charge:
1. Fees — $250 or more enrollment fee, $20 assessment fee, $125 for Challenge Program or $150 for Responsible Living program, $15 for Scrubs
2. Programs – Challenge Program or Responsible Living, SHADOW Program
3. Community Service: 40 hours
4. Probation: 6 months
5. Must submit to random drug tests

Felony (excluding drug charge):
1. Fees — $360 enrollment fee, $20 assessment fee, $125 for Challenge Program or $150 for Responsible Living program
2. Restitution to victim, if this applies
3. Community Service: 85 hours
4. Probation: 12 months

Felony Drug Charge:
1. Fees — $400 or more to enroll, $30 assessment fee, $15 for Scrubs, $230 for the Substance Abuse II program
2. Community Service: 80 hours
3. Probation: 12 months
4. Participation in SHADOW program and Substance Abuse II Program
5. Must submit to random drug tests

Underage DWI or DUI (must be under .08 blood alcohol level):
1. Fees — $550 to enroll, $20 for assessment, $45-75 for Driver Improvement program, $125 for Challenge Program or $150 for Responsible Living program
2. Community Service: 80 Hours
3. Probation: 18 months
4. Participation in SHADOW program, Driver Improvement and Challenge or Responsible Living

DWI or DUI (must be under .16 blood alcohol level):
1. Fees — $750 to enroll, $20 for assessment, $45-75 for Driver Improvement program, $30 for MADD program, $100 for SOAR Program, $150 for Effective Decisions program, $541 or more for Ignition Interlock
2. Community Service: 80 Hours
3. Probation: 18 months
4. Participation in Driver Improvement, SHADOW, MADD, SOAR, and Effective Decisions Programs

Day Reporting Center in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana

The Lafayette Parish Day Reporting Center is where inmates released through STOP, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Tracking Offender Program, go for training and counseling. Once an individual is allowed to participate in STOP, a program of classes and requirements will be created for them based on their own specific needs.

Depending on the person, the program can include learning new skills, counseling or substance abuse treatment.

A. Skill training may include the following:

1. Learning to read
2. studying to take the GED
3. computer skills
4. job skills

B. Counseling could be required for psychological issues, anger management, domestic violence, grief, etc.

C. If necessary, the offender will be required to attend classes for drug and alcohol abuse, mandatory drug tests and/or participation in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).

It is much better to be outside of jail than in, so it is vital to faithfully check in and attend the required classes and meetings at the Center. Much like probation, failure to report in and participate in the necessary programs can result in being dropped from STOP and ordered back to jail. Testing positively for drugs, getting new criminal charges, not working or not looking for a job are other reasons a STOP participant can be found non-compliant.

The Day Reporting Center is located at 100 Poydras St. in downtown Lafayette. You can contact the Center at 337-231-6365 for more information. Lafayette Parish Day Reporting Program.

Louisiana Sex Offender Registry Information

This is information from the Louisiana Department of Corrections’ pamphlet about Sex offenders including links to registration and notification requirements and a list of sex offenses that require registration:

“What is Registration? Registration is when a convicted sex offender is required to go to the sheriff’s office at certain intervals and report information about themselves to the sheriff. Sex offenders, convicted or released on or after June 1, 1992, or an offense described in Louisiana Revised Statute 15:541 , that had not completed their period of registration by January 1, 2008, must continue to register. Some convicted sex offenders have completed their registration period.

What is Notification? Notification is when a convicted sex offender, as described above, is required to send out information about themselves through a newspaper ad, post cards and/or driver’s license. As stated above some convicted sex offenders have completed this requirement period. Further information may be obtained from the sheriff’s office or by visiting the website.

What Is the Role of State Probation and Parole Regarding Sex Offenders? State Probation and Parole Officers supervise convicted sex offenders in the community that have been placed on probation or parole by the court or the parole board. Supervision may include such activities as: home and employment checks, drug screens, electronic monitoring, collecting victim restitution, monitoring sex offender’s participation in treatment, and other requirements imposed by the court or parole board. Probation and Parole Officers’ efforts in the supervision of convicted sex offenders are directed toward the safety of our community and families.”

For information about registration and notification requirements, you can visit the Louisiana State Police Sex Offender Registration page. For a list of offenses that require registration as a sex offender, visit the Offenses page.
The Probation and Parole Office for the Lafayette District can be reached at 337 262-5444.

The Law Firm of Thomas V. Alonzo defends clients against all felony and misdemeanor charges in Lafayette, Acadiana, and all parishes of Louisiana.

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