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Lake Charles
Criminal Lawyer

Fontenot & Shumaker are your trusted Lake Charles Criminal Defense Attorneys. 

Practice Area

Criminal Defense

Facing criminal charges can be a daunting and life-altering experience. In Lake Charles, Louisiana, navigating the complexities of the legal system and safeguarding your rights requires the expertise of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Whether you’re dealing with misdemeanor or felony charges, having a dedicated legal advocate by your side is essential.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Lake Charles

Criminal defense attorneys are legal professionals who specialize in defending individuals accused of committing crimes. Their role is pivotal in upholding the principles of justice, ensuring a fair legal process, and protecting the rights of the accused. When you find yourself entangled in the criminal justice system, your choice of attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

Criminal defense attorneys in Lake Charles take on a wide range of cases, from minor offenses to serious felonies. Their expertise extends to various areas of criminal law, and their primary objective is to provide unwavering support to their clients throughout the legal proceedings. Whether you’re facing charges related to theft, drug offenses, assault, DUI, or more, a skilled attorney will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your situation.

Why Legal Expertise Matters

Legal expertise is the cornerstone of effective criminal defense. Attorneys specializing in criminal law possess a deep understanding of local and state laws, court procedures, and precedents that can significantly impact your case. They leverage their knowledge to craft a robust defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.

When you engage the services of a criminal defense attorney in Lake Charles, you benefit from their experience in handling cases similar to yours. This familiarity with the local legal landscape allows them to anticipate challenges, identify opportunities, and provide you with the best possible defense.

In the upcoming sections, we will delve deeper into the role of criminal defense attorneys, the types of criminal cases they handle, and how they protect their clients’ rights in Lake Charles.

Types of Lake Charles Criminal Cases We Handle 

Criminal defense attorneys in Lake Charles possess a diverse skill set to handle an array of criminal cases. These cases span a wide spectrum, from minor infractions to serious felonies. It’s essential to understand the various types of criminal cases they can assist with:

1. Misdemeanor Offenses

Misdemeanor offenses are generally less severe than felonies but can still result in legal consequences. Common misdemeanor charges include:

Petty Theft: Shoplifting or minor theft-related offenses.
DUI (Driving Under the Influence): Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Simple Assault: Non-aggravated physical altercations.
Trespassing: Unauthorized entry onto another person’s property.

2. Felony Charges

Felony charges are more serious and carry significant legal consequences. Lake Charles criminal defense attorneys are experienced in defending against various felony charges, such as:

  • Drug Trafficking: Involvement in the distribution of illegal drugs.
  • Burglary: Unauthorized entry into a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime.
  • Homicide: Charges related to unlawful killing, including manslaughter and murder.
  • Sex Crimes: Charges like sexual assault or child pornography offenses.

Felony cases often require meticulous preparation and legal expertise to navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system.

3. White-Collar Crimes

White-collar crimes involve non-violent financial offenses typically committed for financial gain. These may include:

  • Embezzlement: Misappropriating funds entrusted to one’s care.
  • Fraud: Deceptive practices for financial gain, such as insurance fraud or identity theft.
  • Forgery: Unauthorized alteration or creation of documents, often for fraudulent purposes.
  • Money Laundering: Concealing the origins of illegally obtained money.

4. Drug Offenses

Drug-related charges cover a wide range of offenses, from drug possession to trafficking. Attorneys in Lake Charles are well-versed in handling cases involving controlled substances, prescription drugs, and illegal narcotics.

5. Domestic Violence and Assault

Cases involving domestic violence, spousal abuse, or assault require sensitive yet resolute legal representation.

In the following sections, we will explore how criminal defense attorneys build strong defense strategies and protect their client’s rights throughout the legal process.

How to Build a Strong Defense

When facing criminal charges in Lake Charles, having a strong defense is paramount to safeguarding your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case. Criminal defense attorneys employ a strategic approach to build robust defense strategies tailored to your specific circumstances. Here’s a closer look at how they accomplish this:

Evidence Gathering

Criminal defense begins with a thorough examination of the evidence against you. Attorneys meticulously review police reports, witness statements, forensic analysis, and any other pertinent documentation. This process helps identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and opportunities to challenge evidence.

Witness Interviews

Witnesses play a crucial role in criminal cases. Defense attorneys conduct interviews with potential witnesses to gather information that may support your case. They also assess the credibility of prosecution witnesses and may uncover inconsistencies or biases.

Legal Research and Analysis

Legal research is a cornerstone of defense strategy. Attorneys delve into relevant laws, precedents, and case histories to identify legal arguments and precedents that can be used in your favor. They craft legal arguments that challenge the prosecution’s case.

Case Analysis

Criminal defense attorneys analyze the entire case, looking for procedural errors, violations of your rights, or any irregularities that may warrant a dismissal or reduction of charges. They leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of justice on your behalf.


In many cases, negotiations with the prosecution can lead to favorable outcomes. Attorneys engage in discussions with prosecutors to seek reduced charges, alternative sentencing options, or plea bargains that protect your interests.

Trial Preparedness

Should negotiations not yield a satisfactory result, your attorney will be prepared to take your case to trial. They will build a comprehensive trial strategy, select a jury if necessary, and present your defense vigorously in court.

Protecting Your Rights

Throughout the process, criminal defense attorneys protect your constitutional rights. This includes ensuring you are not subjected to unlawful searches and seizures, protecting your right to remain silent, and advocating for your right to a fair trial.

Client-Centered Approach

Your interests are at the forefront of every decision made by your attorney. Criminal defense lawyers in Lake Charles adopt a client-centered approach, ensuring that you are informed, involved, and comfortable with the strategies employed in your defense.

Understanding the Criminal Defense Process in Lake Charles

The criminal defense process can be intricate, with various stages and legal complexities. To navigate it effectively, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of how the process unfolds. Let’s explore the key stages and elements of the criminal defense process:

1. Arrest and Initial Proceedings

  • Arrest: The process typically begins with an arrest by law enforcement officers, either with or without a warrant, based on suspicion of criminal activity.
  • Booking: After arrest, individuals are typically booked into custody, which includes recording personal information and details of the alleged offense.
  • Initial Appearance: In some cases, there may be an initial appearance before a judge to determine bail or release conditions.

2. Investigation

  • Evidence Gathering: Your defense attorney and legal team will thoroughly investigate the case. This may involve collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing law enforcement reports.
  • Legal Research: Legal research is conducted to identify relevant statutes, case law, and legal precedents that can be used to build a defense.

3. Pre-Trial Proceedings

  • Charges: The prosecution formally files charges against the defendant, specifying the alleged crimes.
  • Arraignment: The defendant is informed of the charges and enters a plea, which may be “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.”

Discovery: Both the prosecution and defense exchange evidence and information related to the case.

4. Negotiations

  • Plea Bargaining: Negotiations between the defense and prosecution may lead to a plea bargain, which can result in reduced charges or sentencing recommendations.
  • Settlement Attempts: Parties may attempt to settle the case through alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation.

5. Trial

  • Jury Selection: If the case proceeds to trial, a jury is selected through a process known as voir dire.
  • Presentation of Evidence: Both sides present their case, including witnesses, evidence, and legal arguments.
  • Verdict: The jury or judge delivers a verdict, which can be “guilty” or “not guilty.”
  • Sentencing: If convicted, the court determines the appropriate sentence, which may include fines, probation, or incarceration.

6. Post-Trial and Appeals

Appeals: If there are legal errors or issues with the trial, the defendant may file an appeal to a higher court.

Post-Conviction Relief: In some cases, individuals seek post-conviction relief, which can involve seeking a new trial or sentence modification.

How to Pick a Lake Charles Criminal  Lawyer

Selecting the right criminal defense lawyer in Lake Charles is a critical decision that can significantly impact the outcome of your case. To ensure you choose the attorney best suited to represent your interests, consider the following factors:

  1. Expertise in Criminal Defense

Look for an attorney with a specialization in criminal defense. Criminal law is a complex field, and having an attorney who is well-versed in this area ensures that you have the right expertise on your side.

  1. Experience

Evaluate the attorney’s experience in handling cases similar to yours. Experience can make a significant difference in understanding the local legal landscape, building effective defense strategies, and negotiating with prosecutors.

  1. Local Knowledge

Local knowledge matters in criminal defense. An attorney familiar with Lake Charles’ courts, judges, and legal procedures is better equipped to navigate the system and anticipate potential challenges.

  1. Track Record

Review the attorney’s track record of success. Past case outcomes can provide insights into their ability to achieve favorable results for clients. Look for positive reviews and testimonials from previous clients.

  1. Client-Centered Approach

Choose an attorney who prioritizes your needs and concerns. A client-centered approach ensures that you receive clear communication, tailored defense strategies, and emotional support throughout the legal process.

  1. Legal Resources

Inquire about the legal resources and support available to the attorney. Access to resources such as expert witnesses, investigators, and research tools can strengthen your defense.

  1. Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial in legal proceedings. Ensure that your attorney has strong communication skills, both in negotiations and in the courtroom.

  1. Cost and Fees

Discuss fees and payment arrangements upfront. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the attorney’s billing structure and how costs will be managed.

  1. Client References

Don’t hesitate to ask for references from past clients. Speaking with individuals who have worked with the attorney can provide valuable insights into their professionalism and effectiveness.

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2706 Hodges Street Lake Charles, Louisiana 70601

Lake Charles Criminal Defense FAQ's

When arrested in Lake Charles, you have specific rights, including the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to a fair and speedy trial. It’s crucial to exercise these rights and consult with an attorney before answering any questions from law enforcement.

Choosing the right attorney involves considering factors such as their expertise in criminal defense, experience, local knowledge, track record, client-centered approach, and communication skills. It’s also essential to discuss fees and obtain client references.

The outcomes of a criminal case can vary based on factors such as the evidence, the strength of the defense, and negotiations. Possible outcomes may include dismissal of charges, reduced charges, plea bargains, or a trial with potential verdicts of “guilty” or “not guilty.”

Under certain circumstances, criminal records may be eligible for expungement in Louisiana. Expungement typically allows for the removal of specific convictions from public records, providing a fresh start for individuals who qualify.

A criminal trial in Lake Charles involves jury selection, presentation of evidence by both the prosecution and defense, legal arguments, and a verdict. Your attorney will represent your interests vigorously throughout the trial.

To ensure your rights are protected, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. They will advocate for your rights, challenge evidence, and work toward a fair resolution.