Canton Municipal Court

Canton is a town in Madison County and is the geographical center of the county as well as the County Seat. Canton was legally incorporated in 1836, with a population of 400; the first recorded ordinance made it a misdemeanor for any person to gallop a mule or horse on any city street or alley. By 1838, Canton had two hotels, a drug store, three tailor shops, ten dry goods stores, two banks, three grocery stores, a bakery, two watchmakers and a tin shop. A church, a jail, a courthouse and a female academy rounded out the bustling town. When the well-known Siamese twins, Chang and Eng visited Canton, the town enjoyed the resulting notoriety. It is unclear how Canton got its name, as two stories commonly circulate. The first story states that the daughter of a well-known Chinese family died in the area and the town was named for her family, while the other story says that Canton, Mississippi is geographically on the exact opposite side of the world from Canton, China.

In the center of Canton lies the Greek Revival Courthouse, with the cornerstone laid by the local Masonic Order in July 1855. The building was built with bricks salvaged from the prior Courthouse which was condemned in 1840, due to deteriorating mortar. The large dome of the Courthouse has nearly been torn down twice for “security” reasons—once in 1856, and a second time in 1925—but was saved by the women of the town. The Courthouse has long been used as a gathering place—when families sent their loved ones off to war, when the railroad was welcomed, as an early library and theater, as a polling place, and even as a hospital when an epidemic of yellow fever struck. In 1994 this historic Courthouse received a $2,000,000 renovation and a new Courthouse was built a block north of the Square. Today, the first floor of the Greek Revival Courthouse is home to the Madison County Economic Development Authority.

The Canton Courthouse Square receives national recognition for its twice-yearly Canton Flea Market Arts & Crafts Show, which can attract as many as 100,000 visitors. A mile north of the Square is the Nissan Automotive Plant, while a mile south is where the proposed Mississippi Film Complex will be. There are many places in Canton which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Canton’s population is estimated to be close to 15,000. Some notable people from Canton include civil rights activist, Annie Bell Robinson Devine, Buffalo Bills football player, George Doherty, NFL Pittsburgh Steelers players, L.C. Greenwood, folk singer, Caroline Herring, blues singer, Elmore James, guitar player, Sonny Landreth, and many more. Blues singer, Elmore James, learned electronics by working in a radio repair shop on Canton’s Hickory Street.

Canton Municipal Court

The Canton, Mississippi Municipal Court is located at 226 East Peace Street, Canton, Mississippi. The Judge at the Canton Municipal Court is Judge Vaterria Martin, the Court Clerk is Joyce J. Nichols, and the Prosecutor is George Nichols. The Canton Municipal Court meets on Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. Visitors to the area who receive a traffic or misdemeanor offense ticket while in the city of Canton will be required to attend this Wednesday court. The Canton Municipal Court also deals with city ordinance violations. Virtually any arrest made within the city limits of Canton by the Canton Police Department will be resolved in the Canton Municipal Court. The Mississippi Highway Patrol, as well as the Madison County Sheriff’s Department also have the authority to make arrests within Canton city limits as well as in Madison County.

Felonies and Misdemeanors

A felony is a category of criminal offense which is the most serious type of criminal offense that can be committed. A felony is generally considered to be a violent crime but can also be a non-violent crime. In the state of Mississippi, being convicted of a felony offense will result in incarceration for a minimum of one year, up to life in prison. A felony conviction usually means time behind bars is spent at the state prison rather than the county or local jail. Fines are also imposed for felony cases, sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars for more serious offenses. Under traditional common law, felony offenses were known as “true crimes.”

Today’s crimes which generally fall under the felony classification include capital murder, murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, rape, arson, burglary, robbery, human trafficking, escape from prison, criminal damage to property, assisting in a felony, and even failing to inform a sexual partner of HIV-positive status. A conviction for a felony offense can also result in the loss of such privileges and rights as the right to own a firearm, the right to obtain a professional license, the ability to take out a government student loan for college and even the right to vote. Those with a felony conviction may also find it difficult to keep a job, obtain a new job or even rent an apartment.

In some cases, a misdemeanor offense can be elevated to felony status when aggravating factors are at hand. As an example, simple assault is usually a misdemeanor charge, however when the assault is committed against a police officer or using a deadly weapon, the charge may be bumped up to a felony. Misdemeanor crimes are still criminal offenses, however the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor offense is up to one year in jail and fines up to a maximum of $1,000. Some examples of misdemeanor crimes in the state of Mississippi include first-offense DUI, shoplifting less than $500, petty theft, simple battery, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana. While less serious than a felony conviction, a misdemeanor conviction remains on your criminal record and can be accessed by potential employers. If you are charged with a Mississippi felony or misdemeanor, it is extremely important that you speak to an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Contact Our Canton Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a crime in Canton or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Canton criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights throughout the criminal process.

At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That’s why we work tirelessly to defend our Canton clients. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

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