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Texas Criminal Charges: How They are Determined

Texas Criminal Charges: How Prosecutors Determine Which Charges to File

If you have been either accused of or arrested for a crime in Texas, it does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily be filed. Instead, the prosecutor involved in such cases must determine – on the government’s behalf – which charges are worthy of bringing and which are not. The prosecutor in question has prosecutorial discretion in the matter, which is implemented to help keep the criminal court system from becoming overloaded.

The Circumstances Surrounding Your Case

Once the prosecutor is notified of your specific situation, he or she will carefully review all the pertinent circumstances:

  • Your alleged actions

  • The environment in which your actions took place

  • Any additional aggravating or mitigating factors

Take, for example, a case in which two men are alleged to have been involved in a fistfight. If the two men in question are college students and the fight took place outside of their dorm, the prosecutor may view the case very differently than one that involves two business people fist fighting outside a downtown bistro. While both cases could lead to assault charges, the prosecutor may be more leniently inclined with the college students.

Charges Brought

Just because the prosecutor moves forward with charges does not mean that he or she necessarily has a strong case against you. Prosecutors sometimes bring weak cases under the assumption that many of those accused will plea the charges down in exchange for reduced sentences – rather than fighting their cases in court. It is important to remember that being charged is not the same as being found guilty – you have rights that you should legally protect.

The Credibility of Evidence

Often a prosecutor’s decision to press charges will hinge on the quality of evidence available. If there is an alleged victim involved, his or her credibility will be closely scrutinized. The fact is that juries are made up of people who are just like we are – they scrutinize others to determine how much (or how little) faith to place in them. If the person alleging the crime does not present as trustworthy or honest, the prosecutor may be disinclined to bring charges. Additionally, if there are mitigating circumstances that tend to discredit the alleged victim, it can further complicate the matter.

Your Case

Before a prosecutor issues charges against you, he or she has plenty to consider, including:

  • The credibility of witnesses

  • Whether any defenses may apply

  • The exact circumstances involved in your case

  • The integrity of any evidence against you

  • Any mitigating factors, including any prior arrests

If You Have Been Charged with a Crime, Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a crime, the stakes are high. Criminal lawyer Brett H. Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, understands exactly how difficult this experience is for you, and he is committed to fighting for your case’s best possible outcome. We are here to help you, so please contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.
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