Texas Criminal Defense: The Basics


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Texas Criminal Defense: The Basics

There are few things more stressful than facing a criminal charge, and if this is your situation, it is time to acquaint yourself with the criminal defense basics. In the end, arming yourself with information is always a good idea.

Your Booking

At your booking, which is an administrative task in the criminal justice system, all of the following will be recorded and/or collected:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number

  • The crime you are charged with

  • Your photograph and your fingerprints

Your Arraignment

At your arraignment, you – as the defendant – will appear in court and will be advised of the charges brought against you. Your arraignment will culminate with your plea, and your options here include guilty, not guilty, and nolo contendere (or no contest). If your plea is not guilty (which it likely will be), a trial date will be set for you.

Your Bail

After your arraignment, you may be detained (put in jail) until your trial date. If this is the case, you will need to post the required bail in order to get out of jail before your hearing. The theory behind bail is to increase the chances that you will show up for your trial dates (by monetizing the matter). Once you appear as ordered, your bail will be released to you. If you fail to show up and the court issues a warrant for your arrest, your bail will be forfeited. The amount of bail is generally predicated on how likely the accused is to return to court – often factoring in variables such as one’s ties to the community and one’s employment history.

Your Trial

At trial, both your defense attorney and the prosecutor will make opening statements; witnesses will be called, and evidence will be presented. Finally, both sides will make their closing statements; the judge will provide the jury with instructions related to their deliberation; the jury will commence to deliberate, and the jury will announce the verdict it has reached. The possible verdicts typically include guilty, guilty of a crime that is less serious, or not guilty. At this point, your criminal attorney may request a post-trial motion (a motion for a new trial, for example).

Your Sentencing

If you entered a guilty plea somewhere in the above process, or if the jury ultimately convicts you of a crime, you will be sentenced at your sentencing hearing. The judge will read you his or her sentence for you, which may include time behind bars, a fine, probation, or a combination of these consequences.

You Need an Experienced Killeen Criminal Attorney on Your Side

If a criminal charge has been levied against you, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a resourceful criminal attorney who is committed to skillfully advocating on behalf of your constitutional rights and for a favorable case resolution. We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.

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