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Rankin County Justice Court

Rankin County is located east of the Pearl River, almost in the center of the state. Bordered by Madison County on the north, Scott County to the East, Hinds County to the West and Simpson County to the South, residents of Rankin County enjoy the amenities of Jackson while living in rural and suburban settings. Rankin County was founded in 1828, named for Congressman Christopher Rankin. The population of Rankin County is approximately 150,000. Including the cities of Brandon, Flowood, Pearl, Richland, and Jackson (also in Hinds County and Madison County), towns Florence and Pelahatchie and villages Puckett, Richland, Sandhill and Star, Rankin County has the third largest school district in the state.

Pearl is home to the Mississippi Braves minor-league baseball team, and Brandon was recognized in 2017 as one of the safest cities in the state—and the second-best city in Mississippi in which to live. Rankin County is home to the second-largest river in the state, the Pearl River. Mary Ann Mobley, Miss Mississippi of 1958 hails from Brandon; Mobley acted opposite Elvis Presley in Hollywood films. Country music singer Faith Hill grew up in Star. Rankin County covers a total of 806 square miles, with about 3.8 percent of that being water. Brandon is the county seat of Rankin County. Rankin County, Mississippi is rich with history and diversity.

The Old Capitol Building is Mississippi’s most historic building as the site of some of the state’s most significant legislative actions (the passage of the 1839 Married Women’s Property Act, the crafting of the 1868 and 1890 state constitutions, and the 1861 Mississippi secession from the Union). The Old Capitol has been restored and re-opened as a free museum which focuses on the history of the building and the events which have taken place in the building. The Old Capitol is a National Historic Landmark with a massive limestone exterior, copper dome, and grand interior spaces. You can find the Old Capitol by taking the Pearl Street exit off I-55, turning right on State Street, right on Amite Street and right into the parking lot behind the Old Capitol.

Rankin County Justice Court

Rankin County Justice Court is held at 117 North Timber Street in Brandon. Rankin County has four Justice Court Judges who are elected by judicial district, but whose jurisdiction is county-wide. Rankin County Justice Court handles jury and non-jury civil and criminal cases. Judge Richard Redfern is the District 1 Judge, Judge John Shirley is the District 2 Judge, Judge Joshua McCrory is the District 3 Judge, and Judge Ken Fairly is the District 4 Judge.

Every Tuesday in Rankin County Justice Court is a “plea” date for misdemeanor criminal cases where those charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense will appear and plead guilty or not guilty. If the defendant pleads guilty, sentencing will commence immediately; if the defendant pleads not guilty, a trial date will be set. If a plea of guilty is entered, the Judge will determine the penalty.

Depending on the offense, the penalty for a misdemeanor offense could include a jail sentence up to one year, probation (supervised or unsupervised), a fine, house arrest, community service, victim’s impact seminar, vehicle immobilization, Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program, anger management counseling, domestic violence counseling, psychological assessment, recommended treatment and drug and alcohol assessment and treatment.

Felony arrest warrants and search warrants are issued by a Rankin County Judge when probable cause is shown. The Rankin County Justice Court Judges have the authority to conduct initial felony appearances and felony offense preliminary hearings, although these are generally heard in County Court. Civil cases which do not exceed $3,500 are handled in Rankin County Justice Court, including evictions, torts, debt collection matters, and replevins.

Felonies vs. Misdemeanors

In the state of Mississippi, a misdemeanor criminal offense cannot have a penalty of more than a year in jail, along with fines. A felony criminal offense conviction can result in the death penalty, life in prison, or years in prison, depending on the specific offense. The state of Mississippi lists individual offenses, along with their penalties, rather than classifying offenses in sub-categories like some states (i.e., a first-degree misdemeanor, third-degree felony). While a felony criminal offense is often a violent crime (murder, sexual assault, manslaughter), some white-collar crimes are felonies, and most drug crimes are felonies (even possession of most illegal drugs except for small amounts of marijuana).

A misdemeanor criminal offense is a less serious offense and may also be eligible for expungement once the sentence has been served. A misdemeanor conviction will not result in the loss of your voting rights and, in most cases, will not deny a person the right to hold a professional license. Certain felony convictions, on the other hand, can result in the loss of voting rights, the loss of the right to own a firearm, denial or loss of a professional license, the inability to obtain a government student loan for college and even the inability to rent a home or apartment.

A felony offense may begin with a warrant for arrest, while a misdemeanor offense usually begins when a police officer writes a ticket or signs an affidavit which swears he or she saw the person committing a crime. When charged with a misdemeanor, the individual must usually post bond before being released from jail. They will then appear before the judge and plead guilty or not guilty to the offense. If the individual pleads guilty, the Judge will probably sentence him or her immediately.

In addition to the penalties handed down by the court upon conviction of a misdemeanor or felony offense, there are a number of additional consequences, some of which were listed above. A person convicted of a criminal offense may also have to provide restitution of some type to the victim of the crime. Many of those convicted of a criminal offense not only lose the job they currently have, but they also find it extremely difficult to obtain employment in the future. If you have been arrested for a criminal offense in the state of Mississippi, it could be extremely beneficial to your future to consult an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney who will ensure your rights are protected.

Contact Our Rankin County Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, whether felony or misdemeanor, contact an experienced Rankin County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. 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 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

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