Outcomes of a Criminal Case
Defending All Criminal Offenders in Houston, Texas
The first and most important thing to do in case you get arrested in Houston, Texas is to get help from a competent criminal defense lawyer to make sure that your rights will be protected. The Texas criminal procedure establishes that the rights of the defendant and of the criminal process.
Chain of Events after Getting Arrested
Any case such as domestic violence, drunk driving, or sexual assault is instigated when the police believe they have probable cause that a crime has happened. In Texas, these are the three ways wherein a charge can be taken to court:
- Taking the accused into custody right at the scene of the crime or right after
- An arrest has been made due to a court-issued warrant backed by a sworn complaint
- An arrest has been made after investigation and indictment by a grand jury
The arrested person may be brought to the city jail or any substation before they are incarcerated in the County Jail.
Furthermore, the arrested individual may not immediately be given an option for bail since there are processes to consider before they are listed in the system. The network of state’s law enforcement, clerks and prosecutors must first ensure that the paperwork is completed and as well as computer entries which will help in bringing up the charges of the arrested person. This process is more commonly referred to as “being put in the system.” During this process, any information about bailing out the individual will not be relayed to their family members or friends. With this regard, it is advisable to contact a guarantor and have them check the status of the charge.
What you need to know about Warrants
A warrant, which is issued on the grounds of indictment or complaint, means an accused will be arrested. Therefore, the accused individual cannot speculate that even if it is only a misdemeanor charge; law enforcement has the legal right to arrest him anywhere at any given time, which may also result in an embarrassing situation.
A bench warrant and arrest warrants are issued by a judge, but there are significant differences between the two. An arrest warrant is issued when there is sufficient evidence that an individual has committed a particular crime. The warrant signifies that law enforcement can search and arrest the individual. There are also instances wherein a warrant is issued so that the police officers can question the suspect regarding the alleged crime.
Having an arrest warrant means that law enforcement can take the suspect into custody, and there are even some cases wherein the accused individual is not informed about the imminent arrest not until cops arrest them. If a warrant is issued for you or anyone you know, then the best solution is to get in touch with Houston criminal defense lawyer who specializes in arrest warrants.
Here at Zavala Texas Law, we can quickly obtain information from Harris County and other computer systems. We also have the means to coordinate with the police and even get additional information on the warrants issued.
The Decision Rests on the Harris County DA
The DA in Harris County is responsible for making vital decisions on whether to proceed with the charges or not. Most prosecutors would prefer an indictment even before a warrant or summons is issued. A prosecutor who is assigned at the DA’s intake division will first go over the case for filing wherein oftentimes, a phone call will be placed by the police officer present in the scene. The officer must thoroughly explain to the prosecutor the case details, which can help in making a prompt decision whether there is probable cause. The assistant DA is solely responsible for deciding whether to charge or not, and this will be based on the officer’s phone call. The officer in charge controls all information in addition to any exculpatory information.
The Significance of Preliminary Appearance
There should be a sense of urgency for the officer who made the arrest, and they must bring the accused before a judge, wherein they will be informed of their constitutional rights and explain if there is probable cause for the arrest. The first appearance in court usually happens within 24 hours of detention.
There are instances wherein the accused can post bail before they can be brought to see a judge. The process is still the same whether the accused has posted bail or not wherein the magistrate will advise them of their rights and reassess the case details to check if the bail is sufficient. It is very important to get legal representation right away if you get involved in such a situation since an experienced attorney can effectively negotiate the bail amount or conditions.
Differences between Bail and Bond
Bail is usually predetermined by the court for most crimes wherein there is a list of regulated bail amounts. However, there are certain cases wherein the accused is denied a bond. The judge assigned to the case decides on the bail details, and the court judge will require the accused to comply with all the conditions of pretrial release.
There are certain cases such as drug or theft, wherein the bail is set too high. The bail amount for such cases is initially determined by the street value of the illegal substance or the purported loss in a theft.
In cases wherein the bail is set high, the assigned lawyer will ensure that they will implement the right techniques so that the bail amount will be reduced. Bail is set to make sure that the accused individual will return to court, and this can be influenced depending on the relationship between the lawyer and the prosecutor. If the prosecutor is assured that the accused will not flee; then they may agree to lessen the bail amount; otherwise, the matter will be decided by the judge. Sometimes, a writ of habeas corpus will be filed and arraigned.
The right to have Legal Representation
Every person who is accused of committing a crime has the right to seek legal representation. If in case the accused cannot afford the legal fees, then the state will provide him with an attorney.
Texas Pretrial Assistance
The pretrial service has replaced the conventional bail system in the State courts and has been proven to be quite useful. This pretrial assistance takes charge of the prisoners’ pretrial release. There are some counties in Texas like in Harris County, which have their pretrial release division. In the past, this division was hardly utilized as a replacement for the old bail system, but the process has changed over the past few years. Nowadays, it is a usual occurrence for misdemeanor defendants to be granted a pretrial bond. Most of the courts would employ the services of the pretrial division to determine the conditions of the bail.
The Duty of the Grand Jury
Felony cases are presented to a grand jury by the district attorney, and most of these arrangements do not necessarily have witnesses. A misdemeanor case will not need an indictment from a grand jury. There are certain cases wherein it is more advantageous for the lawyer to bring the case to a grand jury so they can adequately defend the accused, which could possibly result in a dismissal of the case. Here at Zavala Texas Law, we always make sure to present valuable information and evidence so that the Grand Jurors can review the case. The evidence packet would usually come with a letter addressed to the Grand Jury’s foreman, wherein we present strong arguments that will prove that the case should be considered as “No billed.”
We only allow our clients to testify before a Grand Jury on rare occasions or when it is necessary. Unfortunately, the accused does not have the right to representation, and the prosecutor has unhampered access to the accused individual when testifying in front of a Grand Jury. The accused will be placed under oath, and a court reporter will take note of every detail that they divulge. There is no possible way to rework the defense for the accused once the testimony has been memorialized. Our legal team always makes sure that our clients are not put at risk if they are presented to the Grand Jury.
An arraignment does not necessarily mean losing the war, but it is merely a battle that can be fought in another day. Most of our successful dismissal cases are achieved after the indictment. It is very important to attain a No Bill or a dismissal before indictment since the accused can have the option to expunge the case from his record, which is a huge advantage for people who are caught up with a grave charge.
The Arraignment Process in Texas
Arraignment is a term that refers to the first appearance of the accused after their indictment. The judge will have to verify the identity of the accused and request for his plea. The Federal Court still engages in formal arraignment. In addition, when the accused has legal representation, they can just be identified at docket call. Contact Zavala Texas Law and get a consultation on whatever legal matters that you may have. Seek the help of the experts so you will have a better understanding of the criminal procedure of Texas.
What are the Probable Results of a Criminal Charge?
This is by far the best outcome and also the main goal in any type of criminal case. We have this goal in mind in every step that we take in representing your case. But do bear in mind that there are also other possible results. The following are the three probable resolutions in any prosecuted criminal case:
- Plea Agreement
- Case Trial
The prosecution can decide to dismiss the case, especially after the defense counsel persuades them. Plea agreement or more commonly referred to as plea bargain is considered as a viable alternative if the prosecution can present strong evidence against the accused and wherein the jury may give out a harsher punishment than what is offered initially.
Expunction can happen when the case has been dismissed, no billed, or when the accused has been acquitted during the trial. On the other hand, an immediate expunction will not be feasible even without the dismissal of the case, which would often depend on the charges.
What does Acquittal Mean?
Being acquitted means that the judge or jury has found the accused individual as not guilty of their charges. This outcome will allow the individual to have his record expunged, and he will no longer be charged with the same crime to avoid the implication of his constitutional rights against double jeopardy.
What is the Meaning of Conviction?
Convicted means that they have been found guilty of their charges. A person who is found guilty of any criminal charge, whether through trial or plea can have their sentence suspended when their probation is implemented. The person is then taken under community supervision for a specific time in place of jail or prison. The difference between deferred adjudication and probation is basically the finding of guilt. With deferred adjudication, the court will not find the accused person guilty of their offense except when they are not able to complete the conditions of their community supervision. A sentence will be served in prison or jail if it is not suspended by deferred adjudication or probation.
Filing for Appeals
The criminal process does not necessarily end when the accused has been convicted of their crime. Any defendant who has been convicted has the right to appeal through a review of their conviction. There are cases wherein conviction through a guilty plea can still be appealed.
There are also instances even without a waiver wherein the defendant can seek post-conviction through the writ of habeas corpus. Fundamental fairness, as indicated by the Texas and U.S. Constitutions due process clause, is the primary basis for this kind of post-conviction relief. A defendant who may have been misinformed or misrepresented can seek relief.
However, the time frame for court decision appeals is limited. Act now and get legal assistance from any of our criminal defense lawyers.