HOW DOES THE CRIMINAL PROCESS WORK?
See below for some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the criminal process:
What Is The Standard Criminal Process Once I’ve Been Arrested?
If you have been arrested and posted bond for a charge in Denton, you will be given a date to appear back in court. This date is usually 30 to 60 days after the arrest, but may be longer in some circumstances. Some cases take several months for a court date to be set. The hiring of a skilled Denton County criminal defense attorney is crucial at this point. Once you hire a criminal defense attorney, all correspondence will go through the attorney’s office, and the attorney will ensure that all proper paperwork, motions and/or documents are filed with the court. After the arrest, the police will prepare and present their report, as well as any corroborating evidence to the district attorney (the State). After reviewing the evidence, the State will then decide whether to file the case. If the State decides to go forward and file the case, it prepares an “information” and files this with the court. (With a felony charge, the case will be sent before a grand jury, where a “true bill of indictment” will be sought.) Once the information has been filed, your case is set on the court’s docket.
Once your case has been filed and set on the court’s docket, it will go through a series of settings. These court settings usually last between three and six months. Generally, if you have hired an attorney, you will not need to be present for these settings unless specifically directed by the court. During these settings, your attorney will review your case, review all the evidence, consult with the State and help you determine the best course of action. Your attorney should also ensure that all proper procedures have been followed and that your constitutional rights were not violated in any way during the arrest. Such violations may result in your attorney filing a motion to suppress evidence or having the case dismissed altogether.
Your attorney should be carefully examining every aspect of your case and discussing it with you and the State. He or she may obtain a plea bargain offer from the State, but contrary to popular belief, the State is not required to make an offer. If the State chooses to make an offer, it may include reduced or no jail time, reduced fines, probation or even a reduced charge. Your attorney will negotiate the best deal possible based upon the facts of your case and any flaws in the State’s evidence. Your attorney may advise you as to whether to accept the offer, but ultimately, the decision on how to proceed is entirely yours. A lawyer may not force you into any agreement to which you do not consent.
If an agreement cannot be met during this series of settings and you do not wish to accept any offers, the case will be set for trial. You may request a bench trial, wherein your case is presented before a judge, or a jury trial, wherein a jury of either six or 12 people will hear the case. Your attorney may also set up hearings to discuss various issues with the court while preparing for trial. One common hearing is a motion to suppress hearing, wherein your attorney may attempt to have some or all of the evidence against you thrown out if proper procedure was not followed.
Finally, if your case has not yet been disposed of, the State and Defense will proceed with trial. If you have chosen a jury trial and your case is a misdemeanor, the trial will be heard by a jury of 6 people. If you have chosen a jury trial and your case is a felony, the trial will be heard by a jury of 12 people.
Do I Need An Attorney?
If you have to ask yourself this question, chances are you do. Criminal charges are serious and can affect a person’s entire life. We would strongly suggest that, at a minimum, you contact a Texas criminal defense attorney if you have questions. We offer a free consultation, where we will sit down, review your case and discuss all your options at no charge.
How Much Is An Attorney Going To Cost Me?
Our fees are probably less than you think. In many circumstances, the savings we can obtain for you in fines, court costs and probation fees will often pay for the entire representation. If you are facing jail time, you know how important your situation is, as serving time can often lead to other devastating problems such as the loss of your job and the inability to care for your loved ones. That being said, every case is different, and we do not discuss fees over the phone or email. We believe that it is important to sit down, thoroughly review your case and answer any questions you may have before we discuss fees.
Will I Have To Appear In Court?
With most misdemeanor charges, you will not be required to appear for most settings. We’ll appear at the scheduled settings, speak with the district attorney(s) handling the case, address issues related to the case and stay in contact with you regarding the details. This is extremely convenient for many clients, since it allows them to go about their lives and not incur the burden of having to miss work or school for several hours at a time on numerous occasions.
Will This Charge Be On My Record Forever?
Far too many factors come into play when considering whether a charge will ultimately remain on a person’s record. An expunction or non-disclosure may be available, but this will depend entirely on the nature of your charge and what kind of deal or disposition is reached. Contact our office, and we can discuss the details of your specific situation.
Put An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney On Your Side Today
At Ross Law Offices, P.C., we provide quality representation and a dedication to our clients’ interests that is often hard to find. We offer competitive (not cut-rate) fees and a level of service that we believe is among the best in the industry. Let us prove to you the dedication we hold to our clients’ interests. We offer a no-obligation free consultation to review your case and discuss your options.
Contact us online now or call our Denton office at (940) 230-2400.