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Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

In 1699, the French were sailing north and west along the east coast of the United States; they landed on Ship Island after failing to detect Mobile Bay. Contact was established with the natives at Biloxi, and before heading west to the Mississippi River, the French camped on the banks of the Bay of Saint Louis. After locating the river, the remainder of the time was spent exploring the mighty Mississippi as far north as Baton Rouge. The French returned to the Bay of Saint Louis, spending a month building Fort Maurepas at what is now Ocean Springs. Thirty-five men were left behind at the colony when the other Frenchmen returned to France.

The men left behind explored the Bay of Saint Louis, naming it for Louis IX, the King of France who led the Crusades into the Holy Land. A colony was established at Bay St. Louis—the third colony located on the Gulf of Mexico. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the territory was opened up to homesteaders—within three years, 3,300 people moved into the area from the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. Many settled across the Coast from Mobile to the Bay of Saint Louis, but there would be no bridge across the bay for another 110 years.

Bay St. Louis was incorporated in 1818 by the Mississippi State Legislature, although the colony remained primarily French, somewhat isolated from the Americans. Eventually, Bay St. Louis became known for the wealthy New Orleanians summer homes, effectively reinforcing the French culture of the city. New Orleans culture has shaped the social customs, as well as the culinary and artistic customs of the people of Bay St. Louis which has become renowned over the years for its highly acclaimed artists, fine dining and hospitable atmosphere.

Bay St. Louis is located in Hancock County and is the county seat. Located on the Gulf Coast, on the west side of the bay, the population of Bay St. Louis was nearly 13,000 in 2016. The city lost a considerable portion of its population in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage and significant evacuations. Interstate 10 passes through the northern extension of Bay St. Louis; traveling east on I-10 will lead to Biloxi, and southwest just 54 miles will lead to New Orleans. Adjacent cities and towns include Diamondhead, Pass Christian, and Waveland. Jacob Lindgren, an MLB player is from Bay St. Louis, as is Albert J. Raboteau, a Black scholar and professor at Princeton for more than 30 years.

The Bay St. Louis Beach is a favorite destination for tourists, as well as for residents. The beautiful, white sandy beach along the waterfront has a newly constructed walkway, as well as a bike path. The beach is pristine, peaceful, and stunning. Another favorite is the Alice Mosely Museum, filled with 52 works of art by Alice Mosely, as well as a striking collection of vintage bottles, Majolica vases, depression glass, and other antiques.

Bay St. Louis Municipal Court

The Bay St. Louis Municipal Court is located at the Conference Center, 598 Main Street, Bay St. Louis, MS. Court is held on Fridays at 10:00 a.m. While extensions for an initial court appearance are generally not granted, if a true emergency arises, you can contact the court in person to explain the situation. Failure to appear in court could result in a driver’s license suspension and a warrant being issued for your arrest. Appropriate attire is required (no tank tops, halter tops or excessively short skirts). No purses, backpacks, hats, cell phones, cameras, or recording devices are allowed in the courtroom. The judge of the Bay St. Louis Court is Judge Stephen Maggio. The Court Clerk is Clementine Sheppard, and the Deputy Court Clerk is Sandy Reynolds.

Felonies and Misdemeanors

Those charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense in the state of Mississippi should take the charges very seriously. A felony conviction can result in one year to life in prison, depending on the crime. Apart from the penalties imposed by the court, a felony conviction can make it difficult to obtain employment in the future, can prevent an individual from obtaining a professional license, owning a gun, attending college on a federal student loan, voting, and even renting a home. A misdemeanor conviction, while less serious than a felony, can still result in many unintended, adverse consequences. Unlike most other states, Mississippi does not divide felony and misdemeanor offenses into sub-categories, rather lists penalties for each offense.

A single mistake can potentially alter an entire future when that mistake results in felony or misdemeanor charges. A capital felony is the most serious type of felony, and can potentially result in the death penalty, depending on the offense. Capital felonies in Mississippi include capital murder, hijacking an airplane and treason. While felony criminal offenses are often violent crimes, there are instances where a felony criminal offense could be a crime such as computer fraud or embezzlement—typically known as white collar crimes.

In the state of Mississippi, some of the most common felonies and their penalties include:

  • Computer fraud (when the damage or loss is $500 or more—a fine as large as $10,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison)
  • Sexual battery (up to 30 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines)
  • Possession of a Class V drug (50-150 grams—one to four years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, depending on the substance and the amount
  • Murder (up to life in prison)
  • Grand larceny (up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000)
  • Embezzlement (over $500, a fine up to $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison, embezzlement of public funds or trust property, fines up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years)
  • Domestic Violence (up to $500 in fines and up to six months in jail)
  • Robbery (up to 15 years in prison)
  • Some repeat offenses, such as a third conviction for shoplifting or a third DUI conviction
  • Kidnapping (up to 30 years in prison)
Contact Our Bay St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been arrested on felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in the state of Mississippi, it is crucial that you speak to a knowledgeable Bay St. Louis criminal defense attorney who will ensure your rights are properly protected. At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for our clients, and we can build a defense that is designed to expose the holes in the prosecution’s case against you. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 948-1600 or (877) 231-1600.

Client Reviews
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"Merrida was there immediately when I needed him. Great service. Explained the law in layman's terms and gave sound advice. I highly recommend Merrida Coxwell." B. Chism
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"The best in the state of Mississippi I highly recommend Mr. Coxwell and his team of lawyers." M. Denton