No one sets out to be arrested. However, for thousands of people across the state of Texas, it becomes a reality. Being arrested, finding yourself in jail, and going before a judge can all be daunting, stressful things. This guide will help you understand what you should expect and do at each stage.
If you find yourself under arrest, comply with what the officer tells you to do but do not incriminate yourself in any way. Do not give any sort of statement to the police, as anything you say during this time can be held against you when you go to court. Instead, ask for your attorney and then make any statements to the police in your attorney’s presence.
After you have been arrested and processed, you will go for your arraignment. This will be your first court appearance, and will be in front of a judge, not a jury. At this time, you will learn what actual charges you are facing, and the judge will determine your bail. This will be based on a number of factors, including the severity of the charges you’re facing, your criminal history, and your perceived flight risk. In some cases, the judge may deny bail entirely, but this is usually reserved only for the worst offenses and situations where the judge feels that you are likely to flee the area before your court date.
In some cases, particularly felony charges, you will go through a preliminary hearing. During this time, the judge determines whether a criminal case should be pursued. If there is not enough evidence, the case may be dismissed.
A pretrial motion, also called a pretrial conference, is a period before the trial when the judge determines which witness testimonies can be heard and what evidence can be presented.
The trial takes place next and may be either a trial by jury or a trial by court. Both sides will make their cases and the jury or judge will decide your guilt or innocence.
If a guilty verdict is returned, the sentencing portion of the trial is held last. This is when the judge will determine your punishment.
Don’t Go It Alone
The arrest and court process in Texas can be frightening and frustrating. Don’t go it alone. An experienced criminal law attorney can fight for you at each step of the way. Call the Blacknall Firm today at 214-678-9111.