What Is The General Timeline Of A Criminal Case In Texas?
Unfortunately, there is no definite time frame because of a variety of factors. The timeline of a criminal case in Texas may be dependent upon whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony.
Another factor is how quickly the arresting officer is able to prepare his offense report. Or if the case will require additional investigation and gathering of evidence by law enforcement.
There are also certain statutes of limitations involved with crimes, so a county attorney or district attorney may be prioritizing cases based upon when a prosecution may be barred by an approaching statute of limitations.
Once the offense report is received, if it is a misdemeanor charge, the offense report is submitted to the county attorney. The county attorney will review the case and determine whether or not there is enough evidence to move forward. He will decide whether or not to issue an information, which is the charging instrument involving a misdemeanor. That process can be very quick, or it can be very lengthy.
If the charge is a felony, the offense report is submitted to the district attorney. The district attorney will determine whether or not to reject the case based on the offense report, or move forward by presenting the case to the grand jury. Again, this process can be very quick, or it can be very lengthy.
If the grand jury finds that there is enough evidence for the case to go forward, they will issue an indictment. Once the grand jury issues an indictment, an arraignment hearing will occur within about two to four weeks after an indictment has been handed down. At the arraignment, the judge will make sure that the accused individual has received a copy of the indictment, which was most likely mailed to their last known address, or the address that they listed with the jail when they were arrested. Then, the court will confirm that the accused’s name has been correctly spelled in the indictment. If the defendant is indigent or cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint them one at the arraignment hearing. At that time, a plea of not guilty is normally entered.
The individual is certainly entitled to hire an attorney of their choice, and hopefully they have already made those arrangements prior to the arraignment. It’s best for a defendant to show up at arraignment with the attorney of their choice, or be prepared to request a court appointed attorney at that time. Whether you hire your own attorney or if a court appointed attorney is provided, they will have an opportunity to request and review all the discovery materials, which is the offense report prepared by the investigating police officers, any physical evidence, any audio or video recordings or photographs and any eye witness statements made against the individual.
After the arraignment, there is normally a pre-trial date that is set. The pre-trial is an opportunity for the case to be resolved based on an investigation by the attorney, a plea bargain, or an outright dismissal. If the case is not resolved during the pre-trial period, a trial date will be set. Depending on the complexity of the case, the trial date may be set for as little as 30 days after the pre-trial, or may be set well into the future in especially difficult cases to allow more investigation into the facts.
What Are Some Qualities To Look For When Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney? What Are Some Red Flags?
One of the most important things to consider when hiring a criminal defense attorney is whether or not you feel comfortable with them. It is important to find someone who is going to listen and be understanding. You want an attorney who will make suggestions and give advice only after having thoroughly investigated your case. If an attorney doesn’t have time for you or seems to be concentrating on other matters, that should serve as a red flag. You want someone who is very detail- oriented. If you feel like your questions are not being answered, then I would certainly be looking for somebody else.
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