Frequently Asked Questions - Expand All
Are fireworks legal in St. Mary Parish?
The St. Mary Parish Council recently (June 2016) approved and enacted a new parish ordinance regulating the use of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the parish. The new parish law allows certain fireworks to be sold and set off during certain times of the year.
According to the ordinance, “Fireworks may be used, set off or shot from June 25 to July 5 and from December 15 to January 1 from the hours of 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Additional hours of fireworks use will be allowed from 10:00 pm on July 4 to 1:00 am July 5, and from 10:00 pm December 24 to 1:00 am December 25 and from 10:00 pm December 31 to 1:00 am January 1.”
However, some fireworks remain prohibited. The ordinance lists the following types of fireworks that are still off-limits even with the new ordinance in effect:
- Cherry bombs
- Tubular salutes
- Two inch American salutes
- Firecrackers with casings the external dimensions of which exceed 1½ inches in length or one-fourth of an inch in diameter
- Repeating bombs
- Aerial bombs
- Torpedoes which exceed three-eighths of an inch in diameter
- Roman candles larger than ten balls
- Sky rockets larger than six ounces
The new ordinance also prohibits igniting fireworks within 1,000 feet of a church, hospital, school, or public building.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office offers these safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety for the responsible use of fireworks:
- Do not consume alcohol prior to or during the handling of fireworks.
- Designate a responsible adult to supervise all firework activities for your family. Never give fireworks to children.
- Read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- Always have a bucket of water and a water hose that is turned on and ready to go nearby.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Only use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade or attempt to alter or modify fireworks. Use fireworks only in the manner for which they were intended.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
What is a summons? What is a warrant? What is a subpoena?
A summons is a signed request directing a person to appear in court at a stated time and place. When deputies make an arrest, they may release the person on a summons instead of booking the arrested person in jail. A person may also be released on a summons after being booked into jail.
There are many different types of warrants. Generally a warrant is a document issued and signed by a magistrate or judge addressed to a sheriff or other law enforcement officer authorizing deputies or other law enforcement officers to make an arrest, search premises, or carry out some other action relating to the administration of justice.
A subpoena is a legal court document ordering a witness or other person to appear in court at a specified time and place.
Do I have to have insurance for my vehicle? Do I have to have insurance paperwork in my vehicle?
Yes. Louisiana law states that all registered vehicles must have, at minimum, liability security or insurance. Louisiana law also states that proof or evidence of insurance must be contained in the vehicle. That certificate of insurance or proof may be kept in the vehicle in several forms. They include an insurance identification card or a photocopy of the card. A new law enacted in recent years expands those forms of proof to include an insurance ID card displayed on an electronic device such as a cell phone or tablet.
I think I have a warrant for my arrest. How do I find out? What do I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?
You may contact the Warrants Division at 337-907-0407 or 337-907-0408. You will be asked a series of questions and an investigator will search our records for you.
In order to clear a warrant for you arrest, you must return to the court that issued the warrant. A judge or magistrate will decide what happens next. If there is a warrant for your arrest, you can report to the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office or your local police department. You will be arrested. Following the arrest, the deputy may release you on a summons to appear in court at a later date or transport you to the St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center in Centerville for booking. Once you appear in court, your lawyer may make a motion to reschedule a court date.
Can I take pictures or video of deputies while they are doing their job?
Generally, members of the public and media may record audio and/or video of deputies while they are working. However, public safety and the integrity of an investigation is our main priority. Onlookers may be asked to clear a scene for their safety and/or to preserve the investigation. Refusing to comply with a deputy's orders to do so could result in criminal charges.
What should I do if I see a crime occurring?
FIRST, CALL 911 OR OUR OFFICES IMMEDIATELY. St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office numbers are 337-828-1960 and 985-384-1622.
There are several other things you can do when you see a crime occurring.
Be a good witness. Be observant and make mental notes.
- Are there any weapons involved?
- What is the address?
- What are the physical characteristics of the persons involved such as height, weight, race, beard, or scars?
- What type of clothing are the persons involved wearing?
- How many people are involved?
- Are the persons involved on foot or in a vehicle?
- What does the vehicle look like: color, make, model, and license plate?
How do I file a commendation or complaint with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office?
Trust and confidence between the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office and the people of St. Mary Parish is essential to effective law enforcement. All members of the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office are expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct. We encourage the public to fill out a commendation form when a St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy has made a positive impression. SMPSO members who have gone above and beyond to perform outstanding service are formally recognized.
An individual may file a complaint on a member of the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office by contacting the branch office in Morgan City at 985-384-1622. An individual making a complaint has the option of allowing a supervisor address an issue or completing a formal complaint form. Complaints against St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office members are investigated in a fair and impartial manner. The complaint system and disciplinary procedures subject agency members to corrective action following any improper conduct and protect members from undeserved criticism and false complaints when they properly and lawfully perform their duties.
When filing a commendation or complaint, it is important to remember the name of the deputy, the date and time of the incident, the names of any available witnesses, and the details and circumstances of the incident.
The Commendation or Complaint Form can be downloaded here. Once completed, the form should be delivered to either of our offices on the 4th floor of the St. Mary Parish Courthouse at 500 Main Street in Franklin or at 1455 Railroad Avenue in Morgan City.
How do I report suspected terrorist activity?
Call one of our offices or in the event of an emergency call 911. St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office numbers are 337-828-1960 and 985-384-1622.
You may also provide information about suspected terrorist activity to the St. Mary Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness by calling 337-828-4100 ext. 500 or visiting their website at http://www.stmaryohsep.org/.
Remember, factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious. The public should report suspicious behavior and situations rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity. Situations can include an unattended package, backpack, or box in a public place or someone trying to break into a restricted area.
How do I pay for a ticket?
Tickets can be paid in person at either of our offices located in Franklin on the 4th floor of the parish courthouse at 500 Main Street or in Morgan City at 1455 Railroad Avenue.
Tickets may be paid by local check, cash, or money order.
If not paying in person, payments of a local check or money order only may be mailed to:
St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office
Attention Civil Division
P.O. Box 571
Franklin, LA 70538.
Information including the amount of a traffic fine can be obtained in Franklin by calling 337-828-6979 or in Morgan City at 985-384-1622.
How do I obtain a copy of a report?
Incident/Crime reports may be obtained through either of our offices in Morgan City at 1455 Railroad Avenue or in Franklin on the 4th floor of the St. Mary Parish courthouse at 500 Main Street. The fee for this service is $5.
Crash reports may be obtained through either of our offices or online through policereports.us.
The fee is $5 for reports given out through our office payable by cash, local check, or money order. The online fee for crash reports is $15.
What's the phone number for the jail?
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office Inmate Information System may be accessed by calling 337-836-9509.
The system provides information on inmates, visitation policy, directions to the jail, victim notifications, and more.
Is Louisiana an open carry state?
Yes. However, there are restrictions in the Louisiana Laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms in close proximity to certain locations, including schools, alcoholic beverage outlets, parade routes, etc. In addition, owners of private properties such as homes and businesses are allowed by law to prohibit or restrict guns on their property regardless of whether the weapons are carried openly or concealed.
Can juveniles be arrested and go to jail?
Yes. Juveniles, ages 10-16, can be arrested. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the offense, juveniles are either released to a guardian pending juvenile court proceedings or housed in a juvenile detention center. The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office also works with the Office of Child Services in extraordinary juvenile cases.
Can I carry a loaded firearm in my vehicle?
Yes. If you are legally allowed to own a gun, you may carry a loaded firearm in your vehicle. Your vehicle is considered an extension of your home. In the event you are stopped by a deputy, you may be asked if you have any weapons in your vehicle. Although it is legal to carry a firearm in your vehicle, the deputy may secure the weapon during the course of the traffic stop.
Will the St. Mary Parish Sherif's Office check on my home or business while I am away?
Yes. The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office offers spot checks to residents and business owners in St. Mary Parish. During regular patrols, a deputy will check on your property to help deter criminal activity while you are away. Deputies conduct spot checks as time allows between responding to complaints and conducting other patrol related work.
To request a spot check, inform one of our dispatch offices in Franklin (337-828-1960) or Morgan City (985-384-1622) that you would like a deputy to check on your property while you are away. You must leave your name, property address, dates you will be away, and a phone number where you can be reached while away.
How long does it take for DNA or fingerprints to be analyzed?
Every case is different. There is no schedule or timeframe by which evidence is analyzed. You may contact the deputy or detective assigned to the investigation for a better understanding of this process that varies based on the circumstances of each case.
Who is assigned to my case? How do I find out the status of my case?
Call the assigned deputy or detective. In Franklin, the phone number is 337-907-0400. In Morgan City, the number to call is 985-384-1622. Ask to speak with the deputy or detective assigned to your case. If you do not know the investigator assigned to your case, please have the time and date of the original complaint and/or your incident/case number ready so that the operator may assist you. If the investigator is not available at the time of your call, leave a message and they will return your call.
How can I reduce the risk of becoming a victim of property crime?
The number one way to deter theft and burglary in your home and vehicle is to lock your doors and your windows. Make it a habit. Criminals are opportunistic. By consistently securing your property you are less likely to become a victim of these crimes.
PREVENTING HOME BREAK-INS
Do not leave your home unlocked.
Don’t leave the windows in your home unlocked.
Don’t grow potential hiding places for criminals. Landscaping should be trimmed away from home entrances.
Light the entrances to your home and any dense bushes or trees to help deter criminal activity.
Installing heavy, metal or solid, wooden exterior doors along with a high quality locking system can help keep out criminals.
If you have a security system of surveillance system, be sure you maintain it. Keep the equipment in good working order and use it consistently.
PREVENTING VEHICLE BREAK-INS
Do not leave your vehicle unlocked or your windows open.
Do not leave your keys in the ignition or in the vehicle.
Do not leave your vehicle running unattended.
Remove personal property from view: cell phones, loose change, GPS devices, and laptops or tablets.
Call 911 immediately in the event of a break-in or if you observe someone acting suspiciously. Do not open the vehicle!
How can I reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud?
PREVENTING IDENTITY THEFT AND FRAUD
Be aware of how and when you use your personal and financial information.
Never give personal or financial information over the phone or the Internet unless you initiated the contact.
Check your monthly credit card and bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.
Do not use your date of birth as your password.
Do not write passwords on papers you carry with you that could be lost or stolen.
Do not carry personal documents such as birth certificates or social security cards with you.
Check your credit report every 6 months to a year.
Report any unusual activity on statements immediately.
Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
Should I report all crimes?
Yes. No matter how seemingly insignificant you think the crime is, the information you have may aid deputies or detectives in solving other crimes under investigation. Reporting all crimes also allows the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office to track any criminal trends and alert the public in a timely manner.
People are threatening me on a social media website. Can anything be done about it?
There are laws that prohibit certain actions and threats online and off. If you feel you are a victim, report the threats. We can be reached at 337-828-1960 or 985-384-1622. In addition to reporting the incident there are some other steps you can take that will aid in an investigation. Do not return contact to the person threatening you. Record or take pictures of the messages sent to you, including the time and dates of each contact. A deputy or detective can determine if a criminal act has taken place.
I'm not sure if I want to prosecute. What should I do?
The district attorney's office can provide information that can often assist a victim in making the decision to prosecute. St. Mary Parish is part of the 16th Judicial District. The 16th Judicial District Attorney's Office in New Iberia can be reached at 337-369-4420. The 16th JDC website may be accessed here http://www.16jda.com/ .
I know who committed the crime. Why hasn't the person been arrested?
There are many elements to a criminal investigation and many items of proof that would be required to pursue an arrest and criminal charges against a person suspected of having committed a crime. There are also Constitutional standards that govern when an arrest can be made by a law enforcement officer. That said, any information you provide about a crime may help law enforcement officers expedite an arrest.
Will the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office assist me in installing an alarm system?
No. The Sheriff's Office does not provide this type of private service or installation. The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office may respond to home and business alarm alerts within the areas it patrols, and encourages residents and businesses that can take advantage of an alarm/surveillance system to do so. These types of systems may deter criminals and may aid in solving crimes.
How long does it take a deputy or detective to solve a case?
Every case and investigation is different. There is no set legal timeline or timeframe for solving cases or making arrests following a crime. The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office works dilligently to develop evidence and information that will lead to solving each criminal case as efficiently as possible.