The 2017 NBA All Star Game comes to New Orleans during the first weekend of Mardi Gras parades. This should be an epic good time for Mardi Gras revelers as well as fans of professional basketball. There really is nothing like being at a big event in New Orleans. And there is no way to ruin a good time like being jammed up with the police. With that said here are 4 things you need to know if you are arrested in New Orleans during NBA All Star Weekend.

If YOU ARE DETAINED AND CUFFED BY THE POLICE, ASK THEM TO ISSUE YOU A SUMMONS INSTEAD OF TAKING YOU TO JAIL. NOPD policy is now to issue summons for most minor offenses such as marijuana possession, disturbing the peace and public urination. Many officers still arrest people and take them to jail in New Orleans despite this policy. If you are detained for a minor offense, ask politely for a summons. The cop may not realize the crime you are about be hauled off for is a summons-able offense. This will save you the hassle of having to be booked in and bonded out of jail, a process that in New Orleans takes forever even during a slow period.

IF YOU ARE GIVEN A SUMMONS, CALL A LAWYER- A summons is a notice to appear in court on a certain day at a certain time. You may be from out of town and think “I can’t get back to New Orleans in 10 days for a court appearance. I have to get on with my life.” That’s true and an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to represent you in court and resolve your case without your presence.

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED, LET A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO JAIL. Getting booked into Orleans Parish Prison takes a long time. While that process is moving forward, you will be in state custody and unable to contact anyone. Therefore it is imperative that a friend or family who is able to begin the process of getting you out of jail. The Sheriff’s website will let your friend know when you have been booked in and what your bond amount is.

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED, YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO BOND OUT OF JAIL. If you are from out of state, bonding companies will not post bond for you as they are afraid you may flee the jurisdiction and not return. This is where hiring an experienced, connected criminal defense attorney can help. If I am retained, I can possibly get a signature bond for you and if not I have relationships with several bonding companies that may be willing to post a commercial bond for you.