Felony Trials


Felony Division

When a crime is committed, law enforcement gets the first call. In Washington and St. Tammany parishes this is usually handled by the Sheriff’s Office of the appropriate parish. In many instances, suspects are immediately taken into custody and jailed. However, if the charge is minor, an individual may be directed in writing to appear in court on a specific date.Read More


Collin Sims, Chief of Criminal DAMontgomery@22DA.org attention Felony Trials

St. Tammany – (985) 809-8383
Washington – (985) 839-6711

Felony Trial Division
What is a Felony?

Felony Trial Division

The Trial Division has principal responsibility for prosecuting felony crimes. It is comprised of 10 Divisions, and a number of specialized units, which target certain types of crimes or have other specialized knowledge, training and experience. The Divisions are each staffed by an Assistant District Attorney. In addition to the legal staff and supervisors, each Division has an investigator and secretary. The Felony Division handles all felony prosecutions, including felony grade drug offenses, property crimes (such as burglaries and thefts), and crimes against persons (such as robberies, rapes and murders).  Felony assistants in the specialized units develop expertise in certain types of crimes, including sex crimes, child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse and other serious violent crime. The attorneys and investigators in the Felony Trial Division are assigned to the District Courts to prosecute felony criminal offenses that occur in Washington and St. Tammany parishes. Much of their time is spent in these courts on docket calls, pre-trial matters, pleas before the court, revocations, jury trials, court trials, and post-trial habeas corpus matters or motions for a new trial. When the attorneys and investigators are not in the courtroom, they spend their time reviewing and preparing the cases for the next docket call, pre-trial, plea, revocation, jury trial, court trial, or post-trial matter, including locating witnesses, interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence.

What is a Felony

A felony class is how a state categorizes the seriousness of a crime and establishes the basic guidelines of the punishment for the crime. The more serious the crime, the more severe the penalty. Generally, a felony is defined as a crime in which the offender may be sentenced to hard labor. Each state establishes it’s own definition of felony class based on the legal interpretation of state statutes. The state also determines the severity of the penalty which may include incarceration, fines and restitution. Though most felonies are punishable by incarceration or in the case of the most serious crimes, death, the actual penalty is determined based on criminal history, elements of the offense and nature of the crime. A states statute will define the range which is the minimum and maximum penalty that can be served for each felony. The state code will also define whether or not a felon can apply for parole and the minimum and maximum fines s/he will be required to pay. Generally, if the possible punishment is six months or less, the crime falls into the misdemeanor category. Individuals sentenced to jail for felonious crimes usually serve their time in a prison, as parish jails hold those whose sentences fall under six months. The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice, and those accused of a crime should seek legal counsel immediately. In criminal law, a felony is a category of crimes that are often classified as the most serious types of offenses. The main characteristic of a felony is that being found guilty of a felony may result in incarceration at hard labor, meaning the imprisonment will be served in a prison facility rather than a county or local jail establishment. Criminal fines may also be imposed for felony charges, often in the amounts of thousands of dollars.


If I am a witness, when do I have to appear in court?

How long will this case take to complete?

Does a defendant in a felony case need an attorney?

How can I find out what my charges are and what the possible penalties are?

What is diversion/PIP?

If I am the victim in a case, is the prosecutor my attorney?


The time it takes to resolve a case will vary from case to case. Most cases are resolved quickly, i.e. within several months of entering the court system. However, more complicated cases require more time to resolve. Homicides, sex crimes and similarly complex cases sometimes take more than one year to be resolved. Felony cases generally go through several stages: arraignment, motions, pre-trial and trial.