Diamondhead Municipal Court

Diamondhead Municipal Court

Diamondhead is a city in southeastern Hancock County, located about 50 miles northeast of New Orleans. Diamondhead was not officially incorporated as a city until February 2012. It is estimated that the city’s population is close to 9,000. When the Secretary of State presented the newly issued city charter to the mayor and city council in Diamondhead, there was plenty of fanfare across the city. In the 1700’s, France gave its North American territories east of the Mississippi to Great Britain, who divided the territory into East and West Florida. West Florida included the future Hancock County and Diamondhead, and by 1781, both East and West Florida had been given to Spain by Great Britain. In 1810 the residents rebelled, creating the Republic of West Florida, and the newly formed United States annexed the Republic of West Florida a mere 90 days after its creation.

It was not until 1817 that Hancock County was annexed into the Mississippi Territory. Once the Territory opened up, literally thousands of settlers from the east moved to the coastal areas. Once the railroads came to the area, waterways were no longer the only method of transportation. Hotels began springing up along the coast, and tourism was literally booming. In 1956 transportation received another boost when the interstate highway system was created. I-10 construction began in the Mississippi Gulf Coast, making Hancock County accessible to many people. By the early 1960’s the federal government brought in thousands of government workers and contractors who were building the Stennis Space Center.

Diamondhead Corporation purchased six thousand acres next to I-10, creating a resort development with model homes, a driving range, a community center, a country club and an airport. By 1973, thirty-seven home lots had been sold, and Diamondhead was organized as a Property Owner’s Association. The Diamondhead area has more rolling hills than other parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which is relatively level. As of 2017, it was estimated there were 8,000 people in Diamondhead. Today, Diamondhead offers two 18-hole golf courses as well as an indoor-outdoor Golf Academy. The tree-lined fairways offer challenges for any level of golfer. Residents and visitors also enjoy the Maluhia Garden which has been landscaped and developed with 11 flower beds bordered with castle wall bricks, a gazebo and a gardener’s retreat. Projects for the future include covered seating areas and rebuilding the western bridge on Diamondhead Drive to make it handicap-accessible, and an additional bridge from the walkway to Alawai Drive.

Diamondhead Municipal Court

The Diamondhead Municipal Court is located at 5000 Diamondhead Circle, Diamondhead, Mississippi. All court sessions begin at 9:00 a.m. In Municipal Court, the first appearance is known as an arraignment. When an individual’s name is called, he or she will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. A guilty plea means the individual waives his or her right to a trial and a not guilty plea indicates the charges are being contested and a trial will be held, usually within 30-60 days. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department can make arrests within the city limits as well, as can the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and, of course, the Diamondhead Police Department.

Felonies and Misdemeanors

The primary difference between a felony offense and a misdemeanor offense are the penalties involved. Felony offenses are usually violent offenses—but not always. Embezzlement and computer crimes can be felonies in the state of Mississippi, and both these crimes are considered white collar crimes. More often, however, a felony offense is one of the following: murder, arson, burglary, rape, manslaughter, aggravated assault and aggravated domestic violence.

In the state of Mississippi, a felony conviction will result in incarceration for a minimum of one year, and a maximum of life in prison, except in the case of a capital felony. A capital felony includes treason, hijacking an airplane and capital murder. Capital murder is a murder in which at least one aggravated circumstance is present, and no mitigating circumstances are present. Aggravated circumstances include:

  • The defendant has a conviction for a prior capital offense or violent felony.
  • The defendant created a significant risk of death to a number of people.
  • The defendant was already imprisoned when the murder occurred.
  • The defendant committed the murder as a means of avoiding a lawful arrest, escaping from custody, hindering lawful government functions, influencing policy by coercion or assassination or for money or other personal gain.
  • The defendant committed the murder while engaged in, an accomplice to, or while attempting or fleeing a sexual assault, rape of a child under 12, robbery, rape, non-consensual sodomy, arson, burglary, kidnapping, hijacking, the unlawful detonation of a bomb or child abuse.
  • The defendant committed a murder which was particularly cruel, atrocious or heinous.

Mitigating circumstances include:

  • The defendant had no prior criminal activity.
  • The defendant was under extreme duress or domination from another person.
  • The defendant was either mentally or emotionally disturbed.
  • The defendant was an accomplice in the capital offense committed by another person, having minor participation.
  • The defendant was very young at the time of the crime.
  • The victim either consented to the defendant’s conduct or participated in the conduct.
  • The defendant lacked the ability to appreciate the criminality of his or her conduct.

Misdemeanors are also serious, however are less serious than felony criminal offenses. There are instances when a misdemeanor offense can be bumped up to a felony offense when aggravating factors are present. For example, a simple assault is typically a misdemeanor. However, if the simple assault is perpetrated upon a person in a protected category, such as a peace officer, the misdemeanor could be charged as a felony. Misdemeanor criminal offenses have a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail and fines as large as $1,000. Some examples of a misdemeanor offense in the state of Mississippi include petty theft, first-offense DUI, simple battery, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana and shoplifting less than $500. If you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor criminal offense it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Contact Our Diamondhead Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Diamondhead, Ridgeland, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, you need to fight for your rights and protect your freedom. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced Jackson criminal defense attorney immediately.

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) 265-7766.

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