People may commonly think of New Orleans when they think of visitors to Louisiana, but there is a lot in Ouachita Parish to attract people to this area of the state, as well. When tourists come to check out the Northeast Louisiana Cotton Festival and Fair, the Dragon Boat Festival, or the Crawfish City Festival, they sometimes end up being charged with a criminal offense. If you have traveled to Louisiana and are now facing criminal charges, below our criminal defense lawyer explains the most important things you need to know.
Common Offenses Tourists are Charged with in Ouachita Parish
Although it may not be a part of anyone’s travel plans, there are many criminal offenses tourists are commonly charged with in Ouachita Parish. The most common of these are as follows:
- Driving while intoxicated: Ouachita Parish and its surrounding areas are very exciting places, and it is easy for people to get carried away. Visitors sometimes get carried away and they may get behind the wheel after they have had a drink or two too many. They may then get pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated.
- Drug possession: Just like drinking and driving, people may also become so excited during a visit that they choose to imbibe in illegal drugs. Even those who do not consume illicit substances can still be charged with drug possession if they are merely in the presence of drugs.
- Open container of alcohol: Many people mistakenly believe that it is legal to drive a vehicle with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, but that is not true. The open container law specifically prohibits drivers and their passengers from having an open container of alcohol in the car. While there are some exceptions, such as those pertaining to frozen drinks, they are quite limited.
Trial in Absentia in Ouachita Parish
One of the main concerns of a person who has been charged with a criminal offense while visiting Ouachita Parish is whether they will have to stay or return to the state. This can become expensive, particularly when flights and accommodations are involved.
Fortunately, if you have been charged with a misdemeanor, a trial could be held in your absence. This is known as a trial in absentia. To have a trial in absentia, you will need to work with a criminal defense attorney who can appear at the different hearings and trial on your behalf. A judge must approve a trial in absentia and they will consider many different factors when making their decision.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Parish
If you have visited Ouachita Parish and have been charged with a criminal offense while here, it is imperative that you have legal counsel. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our Monroe criminal defense lawyer can advise on the facts of your case, uphold your rights, and help you obtain the most positive outcome possible. Call us today at 318-594-3592 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.