If you are facing a criminal charge in Texas, it will be unique to the circumstances involved. The steps that you take forward in the process, however, remain the same across nearly every case. Being charged with a crime is extremely stressful, but knowing what to expect can help.
Booking and Arraignment
The booking element of your charge is purely administrative, and during your booking, all of the following will be recorded:
Your name, address, and phone number
The charge you face
Your mugshot and fingerprints
At your arraignment, the judge will advise you of the charge you face, and you will plead (under your experienced criminal defense lawyer’s careful advisement) either not guilty, no contest, or guilty. If you plead not guilty, your trial date will be set.
After being charged, you may be required to stay in jail until your trial date, but the judge is very likely to set bail in your case. This payment works as collateral, which helps to ensure that you will show up at your appointed trial date, and if you fail to do so, you will forfeit your bail money and will very likely face a bench warrant.
Related: Bail Bonds and How They Work
You might have a pretrial hearing in which the prosecution will present the evidence against you, and the judge will determine if it suffices to prove that a crime was committed and that you are its perpetrator. If it does not, your case will not proceed to trial.
At your trial, both your defense attorney and the prosecution will begin with opening statements, and from here, witnesses will be called, questioned, and cross-examined; evidence will be presented, and both sides will make their closing statements. The judge will then instruct the jury, which will deliberate before announcing its verdict.
At sentencing, the judge will hand down your sentence, which will amount to either jail time, fines, or both.
In lieu of jail time, the judge in your case can order probation. This means that you will be released into the community but will have to adhere to specifications set by the court for a predetermined amount of time – under the supervision of a probation officer. If you are found in violation of your probation, you can be sent directly to jail to serve out your original sentence.
Your Path Forward
Your case will follow its own path, but the above basics will guide the direction it takes. The most important thing you can do to protect your constitutional rights and to help ensure your case’s best possible conclusion is to work closely with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Do Not Wait to Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a practiced criminal defense lawyer who understands the serious nature of your situation and dedicates his practice to helping clients like you prevail against the criminal charges they face. (Wondering how to pick the right lawyer? Read this article: Hiring the Right Criminal Lawyer for You) For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.