Gulfport City Municipal Court
Gulfport reportedly began as a pencil mark when William Harris Hardy surveyed a map and a railroad he was building. As Hardy ate his lunch one day at what is now Hattiesburg, he drew a line from Ship Island Harbor which intersected his railroad at the spot where he sat. At the point where the line crossed the coast, the mark was made—that mark became Gulfport. Years later, Captain Joseph Thomas Jones arrived on the Gulf Coast in the winter of 1897 and by the time he left to return to his home in Buffalo New York—some two months later—he was totally engaged by the area. The earliest enterprises in the area centered around cutting and selling timber reserves of the inland pine forests. Incorporation of Gulfport took place in 1898, and four years later the residents of Harrison County voted to move the County Seat to Gulfport.
By 1902, the Gulfport Harbor was completed, becoming a working seaport. Millions of dollars in annual sales and tax revenues for the state have come from the Port of Gulfport. Visitors love the nearly seven miles of man-made pristine white beaches, and the recent gaming activities have made Gulfport one of the fastest-growing areas in the state. Thirty-three square miles were annexed by Gulfport in 1993, making it the second largest city in the state of Mississippi, with a population of more than 70,000 and a land area of nearly 63 square miles.
Along with Biloxi, Gulfport is the other county seat of Harrison County, and definitely the larger of the two. Gulfport is also home to the US Navy Atlantic Fleet Seabees. In August 2005, Gulfport, like other gulf cities, was hit by Hurricane Katrina, flooding much of the city and destroying homes and businesses. The top employers in Gulfport are currently the Naval Construction Battalion Center, the Memorial Hospital, the Harrison County School District, the Island View Casino, and Hancock Bank. Gulfport has hosted such popular cultural events as the “World’s Largest Fishing Rodeo,” “Smokin’ the Sound,” and “Cruisin’ the Coast.”
Gulfport City Municipal Court
The Gulfport City Municipal Court is located at the Robert J. Curry Public Safety Center, 2218 15th Street, Gulfport, MS. The Municipal Court is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Gulfport Municipal Court is the busiest city court in the entire state, in terms of volume. The Gulfport City Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor crimes, municipal ordinances, city traffic violations, and civil domestic protective orders, but does not have jurisdiction over felony criminal cases or juvenile criminal arrests with the exception of juvenile traffic offenses, juvenile DUI, liquor, and tobacco violations and for juveniles certified as an adult or who were previously arrested as an adult. Judges at the Gulfport City Municipal Court are Judge Kirk Clark and Judge R. Fant Walker.
The schedule for the Gulfport Municipal Court is as follows:
- Monday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. are jail arraignments from the Harrison County Adult Detention Center.
- Tuesday mornings at 8:30 a.m. are the private affidavit DUI arraignments, and drug trials.
- Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 are general arraignments.
- Wednesday mornings at 8:30 a.m. are general arraignments and DUI trials.
- Wednesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. are private affidavit trials & review.
- Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m. are domestic violence trials reviews and arraignments.
- Thursday afternoons at 12:30 p.m. are open court VOP, warrant, walk-in, attorney pleas, and contempt.
- Thursday afternoons at 1:30 are general trials for traffic and misdemeanors.
- Friday mornings at 8:30 a.m. are drug arraignments and general trials for traffic and misdemeanors.
- Friday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. are jail arraignments for Harrison County Adult Detention Center.
Differences Between Felonies and Misdemeanors
Misdemeanor offenses are typically less serious than felony offenses. In the state of Mississippi, misdemeanor offenses include such offenses as possession of fewer than 30 grams of marijuana, carrying a concealed weapon, simple battery, petty theft, shoplifting items worth less than $500, and DUI. Punishments for misdemeanor criminal offenses in the state of Mississippi are up to one year in jail and fines not to exceed $1,000. Those who are sentenced to jail time for their misdemeanor offense will serve their sentence in either a County or City Jail, rather than the Mississippi State Penitentiary, which is reserved for felony charges.
A felony conviction, by contrast, can result in years—or even life—in prison in the State Penitentiary as well as extremely large fines. While a misdemeanor conviction does not result in the loss of a person’s right to vote and does not result in the denial of a professional license, many felony convictions do. (Although there are some professional organizations that may choose to revoke a professional license because of a misdemeanor conviction). While a felony conviction will likely stay on an individual’s record for life, many misdemeanor convictions can be expunged, which removes all history of the arrest, trial, and conviction from public records. Once the misdemeanor conviction is expunged, the individual may legally state on future job applications that they have never been arrested or convicted of the expunged criminal offense.
A misdemeanor offense usually begins when a police officer writes a ticket or signs an affidavit which swears he or she witnessed the person committing the crime. When charged with a misdemeanor, the individual may be arrested and taken before a judge, at which time bail will be set. The individual charged must either put up a cash bond in the entire amount of the bail or pay a bondsman 10 percent of the face amount of the bail—if the person fails to appear, the full amount of the bond must be paid. For a misdemeanor offense, bail is the rule rather than the exception. An initial appearance—where a plea will be entered—will take place in court after the individual is released from jail. A felony offense will either have no bond (depending on the offense) or a much higher bond than a misdemeanor offense.
Contact Our Gulfport 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 Gulfport 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) 265-7766.
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