5 Myths About Being Arrested at Mardi Gras Debunked by a Defense Attorney

Every year during Mardi Gras New Orleans police arrest hundreds of people. While some arrests involve serious state charges like selling drugs or aggravated battery, the majority are for offenses such as DUI/DWI, public intoxication, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct or reckless operation.

While Mardi Gras is famously associated with a laissez-faire “anything goes” spirit, it doesn’t mean that the police will turn a blind eye to illegal activities. Amidst the parades, costumes, and marching bands, law enforcement is still actively monitoring during Mardi Gras and will enforce the law to maintain order and public safety. Many people from out of town spent a disproportionate amount of their Mardi Gras trip in Orleans Parish Prison over relatively minor offenses that could have been avoided or mitigated. As a New Orleans defense attorney who has witnessed countless cases related to Mardi Gras arrests, I feel compelled to debunk these common myths and shed light on the truth. Let’s debunk the five myths about being arrested in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Myth #1: If You Are Arrested Any Time Between Saturday and Fat Tuesday You Will Be Stuck In Jail Until At Least Ash Wednesday.

I have heard this misconception hundreds of times from locals and visitors alike and it simply isn’t true. Many people have wasted their Mardi Gras stuck in Orleans Parish Prison because their friends and relatives said “we can’t do anything until Wednesday.” As an experienced New Orleans criminal defense attorney, I can get a bond set very quickly and once posted, assist in expediting the release of your loved one. While processing may take a little longer than normal during Mardi Gras, your friend or relative can be back out joining the party after a meal, shower, and probably a nap.

Myth #2: If I am From Out of Town, I Won’t Qualify for a Recognizance Bond or a Commercial Surety Bond.

It is rare for someone from out of state to be granted a recognizance bond.  Also referred to as a ROR bond, a recognizance bond releases the defendant without posting money. However, in some cases, I have presented certain facts that judges setting bonds allow a person from out of state to qualify for a ROR bond. While most commercial surety bond companies have their reasons for not writing bonds for people from out of state, retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney who has relationships with commercial bail bonds companies can facilitate a commercial bondsman writing a bond for you.

Myth #3: If I Do Manage to be Released from Jail, I am Stuck in New Orleans Until I Can Be Arraigned.

In certain cases such as very serious felony charges, this is true and you will have to file a motion asking the judge for permission to leave the state. However, for many misdemeanor and municipal court offenses, you can leave the state before your arraignment and have an experienced criminal defense attorney resolve your case for you.

Myth #4: This Arrest Is Going to Follow Me and Prevent Me From Getting a Job.

You came to New Orleans to have fun. Next thing you know you are in the holding tank at Orleans Parish Prison and are beginning to wonder the consequences of this arrest. Even if your attorney is able to get the charges dismissed, you may think, “This is going to be on my record forever”. Simply not true. Many felony convictions and all misdemeanor arrests and convictions are eligible to be expunged from your record. This means no one outside of law enforcement will find out about your Mardi Gras transgression.

Myth #5: I Am Just Going to Go to the Jail and See What I Can Do.

Mardi Gras is a very busy time at the jail and going to the jail is simply a waste of time. The people at the jail do not give out any information and if you aggravate them, it may slow down the process of getting your relative or friend released. In short, it is much more beneficial to call a criminal defense attorney who knows the process and procedure of getting people of jail and can perform the job efficiently.

Craig Mordock Can Help

My phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even during Mardi Gras. If you know someone who was arrested during Mardi Gras, call Craig at (504) 304-2335. Much of what you hear about getting arrested in New Orleans during Mardi Gras is simply not true and it’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the legal ramifications of being arrested at Mardi Gras.