Recently in Criminal Law Category

February 20, 2014

Need some help with a criminal case in Mississippi?

crime.jpgIf you are a frequent reader of my blogs (which I highly doubt you are) you will know that my law partner and mentor, Merrida Coxwell (nee "Buddy") is always urging me to blog about the cases I am fortunate enough to win. His theory is that people will see that we help people and more people will want to come and see us at Coxwell & Associates. Now this is a sound theory. What better way to market your skills than to let prospective clients know about your victories? Now Merrida is a marketing guru and he is the firm's Rainmaker. (For what it's worth, "The Rainmaker" was the best movie adaptation of all of John Grisham's books. If you haven't seen it I strongly suggest you watch it. But I digress.) My problem is I view posting such things as "bragging" and for all of my many shortcomings, I hate to brag. However, I do recognize that the legal field is a service industry and we have to let the public know what we do. So with that being said please allow me to tell you about one of my recent cases.

I had a client, we'll call him "Bobby" in order to protect his name. Bobby is a fine young man who is an artist at painting cars. You can see his artwork displayed all over Jackson. Well, Bobby found himself in a pickle and one of my former clients suggested that he come see me.

Bobby had just been arrested for murder. The facts showed that Bobby was going over to an apartment to get his hair cut. However, when he stepped into the apartment he was ambushed by several other men. It was a classic setup. Bobbyy was shot in the stomach during the fight. One of the other men who had been waiting to jump him was killed. Bobby was able to escape from the apartment and run down the street. Two men chased after him and fired at him and with automatic weapons. Bobby's friend came out to help him and was shot and killed. Before Bobby passed out, he was able to call 911 and report the incident. Bobby was taken to the hospital where the doctors worked frantically to save his life. They were not able to take the bullet out however.

Jackson Police detectives did a really good job of investigating the scene. They secured all the shells and projectiles and found one handgun left on scene. One detective wisely swabbed this weapon for possible DNA which came into play later. The witnesses who were interviewed gave inconsistent versions of what transpired; some flat out lied. The witnesses all stated that Bobby had been the aggressor and that he killed their friend.

Once Bobby was indicted I was able to obtain the police reports and the 911 call. Right away you could tell that the physical evidence did not match up with what the witnesses were saying. Bobby submitted to a DNA analysis and his DNA was not on the weapon which was found at the crime scene. The weapon was the one which was used to shoot Bobby. Further, the physical evidence showed that Bobby was shot at over 20 times by the men who were in the apartment.

The Hinds County District Attorney's office was also skeptical. They took a very hard look at the evidence as well and concluded that Bobby was actually a victim. Two of the men in the apartment were indicted for aggravated assault and the murder of Bobby's friend. The eyewitnesses recanted their statements. Bobby's charges were eventually dismissed.

Bobby's case was a classic example of being betrayed by people he thought were his friends. It's a good thing that Bobby was fortunate enough to have good lawyers working for him and also that the prosecutors kept an open mind.

Continue reading "Need some help with a criminal case in Mississippi? " »

January 30, 2014

One for the Road?

I've recently had several people call in about getting ticketed for having an open container of alcohol, usually in conjunction with being arrested for DUI. Many of these callers have all said the same thing: "But my friend told me there were no such things as open container laws in Mississippi! They can't arrest me for that!" In doing some research for this post, I also found this article on Huffington Post, which may be where my potential client's "friend" got his information. And while I still caution you on using any legal advice or information given to you by your friend--unless, of course, your friend is a lawyer--in the case of open container laws in Mississippi, he might be right.

Now before you start erecting a drive-thru daiquiri stand or open a bottle of your nicest cabernet sauvignon for the drive home, pay attention: although there is no statewide prohibition against having an open container in a car or on a street corner, most counties and cities do prohibit open containers. If you are caught with an open container in these places, you can get be ticketed for it, even though there is no statewide prohibition against it. Not only do most cities and counties prohibit open containers in vehicles, but there are 34 counties in Mississippi that are completely dry when it comes to hard liquor and 36 counties that are dry when it comes to beer and light wine. If you are driving through one of these "dry" counties with alcohol in your vehicle, whether or not it's in an opened container, you could face penalties for mere possession of these intoxicating substances.

But let's say you are lucky enough to be enjoying a drink while driving in a location without open container laws. Are you completely safe? Probably not. It's legal to have a drink while driving, but only if your blood alcohol content stays below the legal limit. What's more, if a law enforcement officer sees the Bud Light can you're sipping from, he then has probable cause to pull you over and inquire about your alcohol consumption. (Mayo v. State, 843 So.2d 739). Which, as we all know, can then lead to a number of problems.

Open container laws or not, always have a designated driver if you have been drinking. Sobriety is the only sure-fire way to "beat" a DUI charge. However, if you are stopped on suspicion of DUI, remain calm and polite when interacting with the officer. Everything you do and say will be recorded or written in a later report. Decline to take the portable breath test, the field sobriety tests, and the Breathalyzer test if you are arrested. For more information on DUI Do's and Don't's, see Merrida's post here.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having been charged with open container, DUI, or any other criminal offense, please call the attorneys at Coxwell & Associates so that we may discuss your options. Our lawyers have more than 30 years' experience in dealing with serious criminal matters, and we use our time, energy, and intelligence to help those facing a daunting legal system.

January 13, 2014

Famous Jameis Winston: Is he a Victim of a Convict Quick Society?

prosecutors-were-telling-jokes-and-giggling-at-the-jameis-winston-sexual-assault-press-conference.jpgFor the uninformed, Jameis Winston is the star quarterback for Florida State who just led his team to the BCS Championship last week. Winston also became just the second freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Alas, Winston is not the first star athlete to become embroiled in a sexual assault scandal.

According to the police reports, a young lady claimed that Winston raped her in December 2012. The unnamed victim reported the crime to the Tallahassee Police Department right after it happened but did not identify Winston as the accused until a month later. Police interviewed several witnesses, two of whom were Winston's teammates. The two teammates accidentally walked in on the pair engaged in what was described as consensual coitus. The teammates were asked by police if the girl acted as if the coitus was forced and they said "no, she told us to get out." Several eyewitnesses told police they observed Winston take the female home afterwards.

The Florida State Attorney decided it did not have enough evidence to file charges against Winston. The victim and her family expressed outrage through their attorney, Patricia Carroll. Carroll has announced plans to sue Winston, the Tallahassee Police Department and FSU.

I have to be honest. Even though I have been a criminal defense lawyer for almost 20 years I immediately think someone is guilty when I see a story like this. I guess it's just human nature. But then you get the "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey was fond of saying. Winston's teammates observed consensual sex. Other eyewitnesses saw Winston taking the victim home afterwards and there were no apparent problems. But the biggest problem I had is why did it take the victim almost a month to identify Winston as the alleged rapist?

When I see "gaps" like these it takes me immediately to the Duke Lacrosse story in which an African American woman from Durham, North Carolina accused several white lacrosse players from privileged Duke of brutally raping her. The Duke players hired the "victim" and another woman as strippers to perform at their fraternity house. The "victim" alleged that she was not only raped but subjected to racial slurs. The media convicted the Duke players almost immediately. The local district attorney also was quick to believe her despite the lack of evidence and the her shady past. Indictments quickly followed.

The Duke players, however, were able to hire some pretty good lawyers and they dismantled the case. The DA was eventually disbarred. The "victim" was later convicted of numerous crimes, including most recently killing her boyfriend. This entire situation would not have happened had the DA simply looked at the evidence objectively. The witness statement of the second stripper discredited the "victim". The DNA evidence did no corroborate her story either. She had also falsely claimed she was raped before. There is no doubt that the Florida State Attorney had the Duke case on his mind when considering the case against Winston.

Continue reading "Famous Jameis Winston: Is he a Victim of a Convict Quick Society?" »

January 9, 2014

The Knockout Game: Terrifying Trend or Media Madness?

If you follow the national news, you may have noticed multiple reports of an alarming trend that the media has dubbed "The Knockout Game." The "game" is to select an unsuspecting and unlucky target, then try to knock them out with one blow. Reports of this terrifying phenomenon have been popping up in urban areas across the country, from New York City to San Francisco. Some victims have allegedly been targeted because of their race, religion, or cultural heritage.
However, despite prevalent reporting by many large media outlets, many law enforcement officers are adamant that there is no game--just an upswing in reporting of random assaults. Law enforcement officials are reluctant to label these random attacks as a pattern of behavior and instead claim the prevalence of the "game" is nothing more than an urban myth. Many commentators, including the always-funny Jon Stewart, have noted that the media's emphasis on these attacks may be nothing more than over-hype and borderline hysteria. Many have pointed to the unfortunate truth that physical assault, whether random or targeted, has been occurring for decades.
Regardless of whether assault occurs as the result of a ridiculous game by teenagers or as a specific, targeted attack, assault is a serious crime in Mississippi. Under 97-3-7 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, there are two types of physical assault: simple assault and aggravated assault. A person may be guilty of simple assault if:
  • he attempts to cause bodily injury to another person;
  • he knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person;
  • he negligently causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon or other; means that are likely to produce death or serious bodily harm;
  • he uses physical menace to cause another to fear imminent bodily harm.
If convicted of simple assault, the perpetrator can be punished by a fine of up to $500.00 or a six-month jail stay. Simple assault upon a number of professions and state employees can increase the penalty to up to $1,000.00 or a five-year imprisonment.
A person may be guilty of aggravated assault if:
  • she attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person;
  • she purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causes a serious bodily injury while under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life;
  • she attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce serious bodily harm or death;
  • she causes death to a child in the process of boarding or exiting a school bus.
If convicted of aggravated assault, a perpetrator can be punished by up to a year in county jail or twenty years in the state Penitentiary. Again, aggravated assault against a state official or certain professionals can carry a punishment of up to $5,000 and a thirty-year imprisonment.
Assault is a serious crime with serious consequences. The bottom line is this: if you find yourself charged with assault--be it simple assault, aggravated assault, domestic violence, or any other assault-related crime--contact the attorneys at Coxwell and Associates. We are experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable attorneys who will work tirelessly to help achieve the most favorable result under the facts. If you have a question about an assault or any other criminal charge, please call us for a complimentary consultation.
December 26, 2013

Protecting Your Identity During the Holiday Season

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Target made the news after 40 million credit card numbers were stolen between Black Friday and mid-December. This theft is being listed as the second largest credit card breach in United States history. Reportedly, the card information is being sold off in batches of one million cards at a time to anonymous buyers over the Internet.
We use credit and debit cards every day and most of us do not think twice about it. With the holiday season upon us, it seems like everyone is doing last minute shopping at places like Target to pick up last minute gifts. When we shop at these large stores, the last thing we want to worry about is whether our important information will be safe. There is nothing worse than thinking about your credit card information being sold to the highest bidder.

Continue reading "Protecting Your Identity During the Holiday Season " »

December 20, 2013

My First Day in Court by Casey, New Lawyer at Coxwell & Associates.

images.jpgYesterday was an important day for me. It was my first time to go to court without an older attorney's supervision. Chuck said we should have taken a picture, a la the first day of school, but I quickly nixed that idea. I didn't even have a lunchbox to show off. I was nervous all morning, and I spent probably 90% of my time yesterday preparing for the hearing: writing questions, looking up statutes and case authority, practicing what I would say to the witnesses and judge. Nerves don't begin to cover it.

When the time finally comes, Chuck and I arrive at Flowood Municipal Court. He introduces me to the judge, then abandons me to the mean hallways of the municipal complex. It's a little before 1:00, which is when court is scheduled to begin. I wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally, around 1:30, one of the officers motions for me to come to the back offices where I can speak with the prosecutor. I introduce myself as the newest attorney at Coxwell and Associates, tell him why I'm there, and we do some quick negotiating for my client. By 1:50, I've gotten what I came for--a reduced bail so my client can go home to his family and three-month-old child for Christmas.

After the client agrees to the terms and I've spoken with his family, I wait. And wait. And wait some more. The crowd in the courtroom starts getting restless--there are family members there for defendants, attorneys waiting to speak to their clients, and people waiting to finalize their own criminal matters with the court. It is not until 4:15 that the judge makes his appearance and the court's proceedings really get started. When it is our turn, my client and I sign the necessary forms, appear before the judge, and we are free to leave.

When I finally left the municipal complex, there were still half a dozen people waiting to be heard by the court, almost all of whom had arrived on time at 1:00. All of this is to say that court requires patience. For everyone involved: family members, defendants, attorneys, and probably even the officers who have to deal with impatient people like me. What can start out as an exciting, terrifying, and maybe even confusing day in court will really just turn into an exercise in patience. When going to court--whether you are an attorney, client, or family member--be prepared for a long wait. The court will see you and hear your cause before the day is over, and hopefully you can come out like my client did on my first day in court--victorious and on his way home to family. Casey Farmer, new associate at Coxwell & Associates.

October 18, 2013

False Confessions: How could that POSSIBLY happen?

Imagine being held by the police for questioning about a crime. You're in a small room, facing the pressure from multiple officers and investigators who want you to admit to a crime that you know you didn't commit. They continually pound you with questions until you don't think you can take anymore. Do you think you could be pushed to the point where you tell the police what they want to hear, even if it's not true?

When police interrogate a suspect, they follow the steps laid out in the Reid Technique. Besides a behavioral analysis and a factual analysis of the circumstances surrounding the crime, the technique also lays out the 9 important steps of interrogation. These steps are outlined as follows:

Continue reading "False Confessions: How could that POSSIBLY happen? " »

October 18, 2013

DUI Flyer Helps You Protect Your Rights?

Asserting your rights when you have been pulled over by a police officer for DUI is difficult for most people to do. Besides the worry that you may be wrong about your legal rights, there is also the fear that comes along with being pulled over. The result is that most times, drivers allow police officers to trample their rights without having any recourse.

Recently, a group in Florida has created "DUI flyers" that can be used if a person is stopped at a checkpoint. The flyer sends a very clear message to the police officer (I'm not talking, I don't want my car searched, I DO want my attorney). An example of the flyer can be seen below:

The purpose of the flyer is to communicate to the police officer that the driver is fully informed of his or her rights and to remind the driver about what should be done during a DUI checkpoint. The flyer reminds the driver to not speak to the police officers and that they are not required to cooperate with the police. The flyer appears to give the driver sounds advice about what they can do to protect their rights.

Should you have a flyer? While it might useful immediately after you are pulled over, it will probably cause you just as much grief and ridicule from the officers who stop you. I believe there are five important things that you can and should do once you are stopped:

Continue reading "DUI Flyer Helps You Protect Your Rights?" »

October 14, 2013

Undercover Cop: Should he have intervened in the SUV attack?

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Recently, the news has been flooded with the story of the motorcycle gang in New York City that brutally attacked the driver of an SUV while his family watched helplessly from the car. Making this story even more interesting is the fact that an undercover police officer, who is a member of the motorcycle gang, was actually involved in the incident. Instead of stepping in to stop the attack, he participated and even broke one of the windows on the SUV.

Yesterday the news reported that the police officer turned himself in and was facing riot and criminal mischief charges. Many in the New York area have raised questions about the responsibility of the police officer in that situation. Should he have risked blowing his cover to protect the driver, or should he have gone along with the attack in hopes of remaining undercover?

Continue reading "Undercover Cop: Should he have intervened in the SUV attack? " »

October 14, 2013

When in doubt, put it away!

In this day and age our cell phones have become something like a best friend and personal assistant. We have personal bits of information on our phones and don't we all expect that what is on our phone is private from the rest of the world? As much as I hate to admit it, my cell phone runs my life and keeps track of all my important information, from my doctor's appointments to my work schedule and everything in between. The thought of a stranger taking control of my phone and looking through its contents is absolutely terrifying. I really don't care who the stranger is: my phone is my personal life!

But that is exactly what is happening many times during a traffic stop. There are court cases popping up all over the country dealing with the situation of the police pulling someone over for a driving violation and using a mobile device to download the data from the driver's phone. Evidence taken from the cell phone might then be used to charge the owner of a phone with an additional crime. In California, Gregory Diaz was pulled over after the passenger in his car sold drugs to an undercover police officer. Diaz's phone was searched, and based on the data the police retrieved, he was charged with selling a controlled substance. (People v. Diaz, 51 Cal.4th 84). It is also necessary to distinguish between a traffic stop and a search incident to a valid arrest where the police might have probably cause to believe the phone containing evidence. It seems nothing is simple in the law. That is because life is not simple, is it? Here is a good basic article on the subject.

Continue reading "When in doubt, put it away!" »

October 14, 2013

Do you REALLY have the right to remain silent?

If there's one thing I love, it's sitting on the sofa after a long day at work and watching a good police drama. In every single episode, there is at least one scene where the police officer is reading the suspect his rights and he is reminded that he has the right to remain silent. But what happens when a suspect is brought to the station willingly and is questioned without being under arrest?

The 5th Amendment tells us that you do not have to admit to a crime or say anything that may be used against you later on. This is where we get the phrase "I plead the fifth" and it is one of the most important rights we have when dealing with the criminal justice system.

Continue reading "Do you REALLY have the right to remain silent? " »

August 7, 2013

License Tag Covers - Worth the Possible Stop?

On the way to take my son to daycare this morning I pulled behind a vehicle much nicer than mine when I noticed a small problem. At the next red light, I snapped this picture to share with our readers. License Plate Problem.jpg

As you can see, the driver of this vehicle is a New Orleans Saints fan (I'm gonna guess post-2005 when all the Saints fans came out of the woodwork). He's proudly displaying his loyalty to his NFL team by placing a mighty fine tag cover around his license plate. What he probably does not realize is that he is giving any law enforcement officer probable cause to pull him over.

The Mississippi Code, specifically in 27-19-31, states in relevant part: "Any person who...covers any portion of a license tag with any sticker, decoration, paint, marking, license plate bracket or such a manner that the characters and any legally affixed decals on the tag cannot be read, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than Twenty-five dollars. ($25.00)" The statute goes on to say that it's acceptable for the county name at the bottom of the tag to be partially or completely covered.

Look at that tag again. Can you tell when the tag expires? I think I can, but the answer is completely within the discretion of the person answering the question. I am willing to bet the driver of this vehicle can afford the $25.00 fine and the ridiculously high court costs that get tacked on to each traffic violation, but the fine is hardly the problem. If you are anything like me, you enjoy living your life without governmental interference, even from law abiding law enforcement officers. Displaying my loyalty to a certain team through a tag holder is not worth it to me. Usually we just keep the tag holder on the vehicle from when we purchased the car. Car dealerships love it when we're lazy. We become driving billboards for their dealership. These tag holder often cover parts of the tag in violation of 27-19-31.

If you are arguing with the officer that you think you can see all the portions of your tag that need to be seen, you have already lost. It isn't enough that you could "win your case in court." Do you want to be stopped at all? No. The tag holder gives the officer the reason he/she needs to stop you, temporarily detain you, and "get in your business."

Display your team loyalty, collegiate affiliation (real or imagined), fraternal organization, etc. in some other way that does not cover your license plate. Do not give law enforcement officers the probable cause they need to pull you over.

July 12, 2013

Zimmerman Trial: The Right NOT to Testify

130605-trayvon-zimmerman-jsw-1250p.380;380;7;70;0.jpgUnless you have been hiding under a rock for the past year, you have at least heard of the Zimmerman Trial. This blog post will not comment on what we believe the outcome of the trial will be; it will instead address a legal issue which many Americans outside of the legal profession have trouble understanding: although you have the constitutional right to testify in your own trial, you also have the constitutional right to remain silent - to NOT testify or incriminate yourself in trial. In fact, since criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, many clients prefer not to testify at all.

The Fifth Amendment provides all criminal defendants constitutional protection against self-incrimination. If the defendant chooses to exercise his or her Fifth Amendment right, the judge presiding over the trial must inform the jurors that the defendant's refusal to testify is neither an indication of guilt nor of innocence. This is a very common misconception among Americans. Many Americans infer guilt from a defendant's refusal to get up on the stand and testify. However, this should not be the case. Defendants are innocent until proven guilty; not the other way around. Several reasons the defendant may choose not to testify include: the opportunity for the prosecution to paint the defendant in a negative light by asking about previous convictions; the potential that the jury's opinion will be swayed if the prosecution unveils past convictions; or the defendant's personality or behavior on the witness stand could leave a bad impression to the jury.

Perhaps most importantly, the defendant is not required to prove his or her innocence. Instead, it is the prosecutor's job to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defendant does not come across well on the stand, leaving a bad impression on the jury - perhaps due to social ineptitude or anxiety - the jury could potentially find an innocent man or woman guilty of a crime he or she did not commit. Some people are just not good at speaking to large groups of people - especially if they are forced to plead their innocence on national television. Lastly, the Fifth Amendment was written to protect innocent defendants from incriminating themselves on the witness stand; not to create a sense of doubt surrounding a defendant's decision not to testify.

June 10, 2013

Bar Fights can lead to Civil and Criminal Exposure in Mississippi

images.jpgPac Man Jones is in trouble again. The Cincinnati Bengals cornerback was arrested today for punching a female bar patron in the face. Here's the video from ESPN. First Pac Man claimed that the lady threw a beer bottle at him. However, the video does not support that version of events. Perhaps she poured beer on him but clearly there was nothing thrown at him. In my opinion Jones clearly overreacted in striking the lady. Short of a woman using deadly force against a man I cannot fathom hitting a woman like this.

This is not Pac Man's first scrape with the law. He was makin' it rain in a Vegas strip club which lead to a gun fight. Pac Man was sued by the victims of the shoot out and a jury ordered him to pay $11.7 million in damages. One of the victims was paralyzed from the waist down. Pac Man also plead guilty to misdemeanors related to the shooting but received probation. Pac Man was suspended by the NFL and was out of a job. He ended up getting a second shot with the Cowboys and then with the Bengals. He had kept his nose clean for a while but I guess a Bengal can't change it's stripes.

Bars and nightclubs can be very dangerous places. My Dad warned me about them for years, referring to them as "beer joints". He often told me that anyone could come up to you in a crowd and stick a knife in you or you could be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Well, I didn't always listen to my Dad but I can tell you that he was dead on accurate about "beer joints".

I have represented many Mississippians who were involved in fights or altercations at clubs in both civil and criminal court. I am currently representing three (3) individuals who were all harmed at a night club in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on separate occasions. In those cases, we have alleged that the club was a haven for criminal activity and the owner failed to take steps to beef up security. We go to trial on one of these cases in September 2013. These cases are typically called "premises liability" cases. Anytime you at at a club you are considered a "business invitee". The "beer joint" owes you a duty to protect you from harm it is aware of or harm that it should be aware of. If a club breaches that duty it could be liable for any harm suffered by you while you are on the premises.

The other side of the coin are criminal acts which occur in beer joints. A lot of folks go to clubs to have fun but some idiots are just "too stupid to have a good time." This will lead to bar fights and serious charges.

In a lot of clubs, the owners will hire off duty police officers for security. That's good. However, should you become "imbibed" and get into an argument with these guys you could be charged with "disobeying a police officer", "assaulting a police officer", or "resiting arrest". The reason is that in Mississippi, police officers are deemed to be on duty 24/7 even when they are working off duty jobs. Should you be out at a beer joint which has an off duty cop working security, you should be mindful of that. We have represented many folks on these charges and they have been very difficult cases to defend.

Continue reading "Bar Fights can lead to Civil and Criminal Exposure in Mississippi" »

May 10, 2013

Ordinances vs. Statutes in Jackson, Mississippi and throughout the state

Law Books.jpg "What's the difference between an ordinance and a statute?" I have fielded this question quite a few times in the past week. These two terms are commonly misused because we simply repeat what we have already heard through the media, whether it be the news or the paper.

Ordinances are enforceable at the city level only and only by the particular city that enacted the specific ordinance (unless it's a county ordinance, and then it covers the entire county). In other words, an ordinance in the city of Jackson cannot be enforced in the city of Vicksburg. Ordinances may only address misdemeanor violations and shall never address felonies. Any violations of a city ordinance are handled by that city's municipal court. While each city has a different procedure for approving an ordinance, usually these ordinances have been drafted by someone in the city or the city attorney's office and have then been adopted by the board of aldermen or city council and then approved by the city's mayor. Violating a city ordinance can result in a fine and/or jail time. Keep in mind that any time an individual goes to court and is found guilty of violating a city ordinance, that individual is responsible for paying court costs and assessments, which is usually anywhere between $100 and $200 depending on the violation. A listing of Jackson ordinances can be found here.

Statutes are enforceable throughout the entire state, including at the municipal court level. These are enacted by the state legislature and are regarded a bit higher than ordinances. Statutes have been kicked around committee hearings in the legislature and have withstood review by both the House and Senate, and then were signed into law by the sitting governor. These laws can still be considered unconstitutional by the Mississippi Supreme Court for a variety of reasons. A violation of a misdemeanor statute can result of a fine and/or jail time up to a year in the county jail. When in court for a violation of a statute, whether it be misdemeanor or felony, there will always be court costs and assessments attached to any sort of fine the defendant may be required to pay. The entire Miss. Code can be found here. As my boss says many, many times, "a code lawyer is a dangerous lawyer."

If you have any questions about your understanding of the law where you live, feel free to call the attorneys at Coxwell & Associates so that we may help you.