Attorney Carson Marcantel
Defending With Experience
Carson Marcantel is originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and grew up on family farms in Southwest Louisiana and Northern Arkansas. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arkansas in 1984 and a Juris Doctorate degree from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1990, passing the bar exam and being admitted to the practice of law that same year.
Carson’s legal experiences in the field of Criminal Law is extensive, having worked as a law clerk for the former Chief Criminal Judge of the 19th Judicial District, the Hon. Michael Erwin, as an assistant district attorney for then-District Attorney Doug Moreau, and as a criminal defense attorney in private practice for over 20 years.
In 1996, Carson decided to enter private practice as a criminal defense attorney. As a private criminal defense attorney, Carson’s practice has focused in part on defending person’s accused of drunk driving. In order to defend his clients to the utmost, Carson sought out and successfully completed training with the National College of DUI Defense in 2000 and 2001, and in 2002 he became qualified in the administration of standardized field sobriety tests. The above training has given Carson a superior understanding of issues facing his DWI clients.
In addition to DWI defense, Carson has successfully defended clients accused of other crimes. These cases have included college students accused of drug possession offenses, kids accused of shoplifting, young adults accused of car burglaries and/or “joyriding”, and much more serious offenses, including felonies.
A Moment With Carson
Who or what drove you to become an attorney?
From the 4th grade forward, I was always involved in contests for Public Speaking, Debate, and Parliamentary Procedure. Going to law school seemed to be the most logical continuation of that process. Also, as a former football player, I wanted the challenge and competition presented by legal cases.
Why did you choose criminal law?
I didn’t choose criminal law as much as it chose me. By that, I mean that I didn’t start my legal career with the sole ambition of being a “criminal defense attorney.” My decision to become a criminal defense attorney started with my clerkship for Judge Mike Erwin. He was the former 1st Assistant District Attorney with the DA’s Office in Baton Rouge and his court heard only criminal cases. Thus, as his law clerk, I was the recipient of his trial experience, and I got to witness the best prosecutors and defense attorneys practicing criminal law on a daily basis. I decided to apply for a position with the District Attorney’s office and I was fortunate to be in a position to start trying cases almost immediately. After 4 years of prosecutorial training, I entered private practice in 1996 as a criminal defense attorney. I have been very blessed and successful since then, so I must be doing something right!
Why wouldn’t someone just want to hire a public defender and hire you instead?
Many Public Defenders receive a “bad rap” to the extent that they are perceived as being lazy or incompetent. That is in my opinion grossly unfair to them. Most of them are extremely hard working attorneys who are committed to achieving the best results for their clients. However, I believe that the difference that I bring for my clients is that I have a broader, more well-rounded set of experiences for my clients. As a former law clerk, prosecutor, and as a criminal defense attorney, I have seen all phases of criminal law from the perspective of a judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney. I also bring the intangibles of pride in my work, preparation, knowledge, and experience to each and every case for my clients. I want to use all of the above qualities to get the absolute best outcome for my clients!
What is your most memorable courtroom experience you can discuss?
I can’t pick just one memorable courtroom experience. Everyday criminal defense practice is seldom comparable to what is portrayed in movies or television. As odd as it may seem, the ideal case is resolved without ever having to go to trial. By that, I mean that the prosecution sees prior to trial that the attorney has full command of the legal issues and is prepared to fight! Cases are usually resolved because the prosecution knows that they are not going to “run you over.” But, sometimes cases just have to be tried. Your goal as a criminal defense attorney, once that trial starts, is a complete and utter victory! That sounds a bit “over the top,” but there aren’t really any “do-overs” in criminal defense. Movie and TV “Perry Mason” moments do happen, but when you destroy a witness for the opposing side or destroy the State’s case, my experience is that “win” did not occur from luck, as opposed to being the product of hard work and careful preparation. You make your own luck!
What would you say makes you stand out from all the other Criminal Defense Attorneys specializing in DUIs out there?
Not being satisfied with the status quo. For example, did your client “fail” the field sobriety tests administered to him because he was drunk, or did he “fail” the tests because of pre-existing physical conditions, e.g. blown out knees, disc problems in his neck or back? Did your client fail the breath test because she had too much to drink, or does she have acid reflux, which would cause the breathalyzer to register a “false-positive?” As a DWI attorney, you have to ask these questions and many others to effectively represent your client. Don’t necessarily start out in your representation of a client that they were intoxicated! Ask questions! Search for reasons other than intoxication to explain what the officer thought they saw to the judge. Successful outcomes usually have to do more with hard work and a willingness to exhaust every reasonable explanation of innocence than any “stunts” or “legal tricks.”
What’s the best piece of free legal advice you can share?
Often prospective clients come to an attorney with the intent of just getting the matter over with as quickly as possible. They just want to put it behind them. While understandable, a better course of action is to determine if the State can prove you guilty of what you have been arrested for. It is my job to also think of the client’s long-term interests. A quick guilty plea today may have serious consequences to your employment career and income over the long term. Hire an attorney to investigate your case and choose the best course of action. Never plead guilty unless you have no choice! You can hire an attorney solely for this purpose and be charged a fee at a rate lower than if you went to trial. Isn’t this kind of peace of mind worth it in the long run? You bet!
The Law Comes First
Respect of the law and its tenants is always at the forefront of what I do.
There is no victory without communication, and my promise to you is that I will be transparent in all areas of our case.
Committed to Excellence
My experience in defense law is only rivaled by the effort I put into each and every case.