What Happens After Your Arrest?
Many of our clients are unfamiliar with the court process and what to expect after they are arrested. We also try and clearly explain to them what to expect, what to plan for, and how much time the court process takes. Below, is a basic summary of the court process including a summary of what each court appearance means and what you should expect at every stage of the process.
Once a person has been arrested for a criminal offense a judge or magistrate will set a bail amount. The amount of bail depends on many factors including, the crime charge, the persons criminal history and the facts of the arrest. Once bail is set, you may either post a cash bond for the entire amount or hire a bondsman to post bail for you. If you post a cash bond, then it will be returned to you after your case is over. If you use a bondsman, then any money you pay to the bondsman will not be returned.
Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR): DWI Cases ONLY!
To preserve your right to drive in Texas, you must request a hearing to contest your license suspension within 15 days of when you were served with a Notice of Suspension (usually the date of arrest). If you timely requested a hearing to contest your license suspension, you will be able to continue driving until the hearing. If you lose at the hearing, you can not drive after the hearing. It is our opinion you should requests the officer's presence at the hearing. Crucial defenses can be developed at the hearing. If your license is suspended at the hearing, you may be able to secure an occupational license to drive.
The Criminal Prosecution
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, then your case usually will be filed in one of the county courts at law within 20 to 60 days of your arrest. However, this is a general rule. The State has up to two years to file your case if it is a misdemeanor. Once your case is filed you will be given an initial court date known as a first appearance
If you are charged with a felony, then a grand jury will decide whether to indict you or not. If you are indicted, then your case will be assigned to one of the district courts. It can take from a few weeks to several months before a grand jury hears your case.
Do not expect to resolve your criminal case at your first court appearance. Several court appearances usually occur before your case is disposed.
The first time you will be required to go to court is know as a "First Appearance" setting. At the first appearance, you will inform the court whether or not you have hired an attorney. If you have hired an attorney then he or she will meet with the prosecutors about your case. Your attorney will then begin the process of requesting copies of any police reports, witness statements, videos and any other evidence in the prosecutor's possession. Typically, you will do no more than sit in the gallery of the court during the first appearance process in Collin County.
The settings immediately following your first appearance are know as "announcement" settings. The purpose of the announcement setting is just like it sounds, to announce to the court whether you are ready to enter a plea in your case or you are ready to set your case for trial.
Just like your first appearance, you will typically do no more that sit in the gallery of the court during the announcement settings. The Collin County courts give citizens these setting to allow attorneys time to obtain all the discovery materials from the Collin County District Attorney's Office. The discovery materials are all the police reports, witness' statements, videos and any other evidence that your DWI defense attorney typically will request at your first appearance setting. Because of the volume of criminal cases filed each month in Collin County, it usually takes the Collin County prosecutors some time to comply with discovery requests. For this reason, Collin County Judges usually give defendants two announcement settings to ensure that citizens and their attorneys have enough time to receive and review all of the materials necessary to make an informed decision to set a case for a plea or a trial.
After your announcement settings, and once you have had adequate opportunity to review all the evidence in your case, you will be required to set your case for a plea setting or a trial setting.
Plea Bargain: A Plea of Guilty
If you decide not to fight your case, you will enter into a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution. However, before you enter a plea of guilty, your attorney should carefully review your case to ensure there are no legal defects or factual problems with the prosecution's case that may warrant a dismissal of the charges. After your attorney has completed this process, he or she should explain the pros and cons of entering a plea of guilty and setting your case for trial. Remember, an attorney cannot tell you to plead guilty or set your case for trial. Doing so is against the professional rules of ethics. A good attorney must carefully explain your options clearly so that you can make the best informed decision possible.
If you do decide to enter a plea of guilty, then you will most likely be assessed a fine, jail term, and possible probation. Once the judge finds you guilty, a record of your conviction will be made and forwarded to the DPS. A record of your conviction will be maintained by DPS and will also be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigations so that you can be monitored locally and nationally.
ONLY THE PERSON ACCUSSED can decide whether or not the case goes to trial. If you plan on taking your case to trial, you should be sure that the attorney you hire has ACTUAL TRIAL EXPERIENCE in criminal cases. Not all attorneys, even criminal attorneys, have extensive trial experience. Trial skills are hard to learn and nothing beats experience when your future and freedom is at stake.
A good attorney should give you a personal evaluation of your case's strengths and weaknesses. The attorney should explain the legal reasons (if any) and the factual reason why a judge or jury may find you not guilty. MOST IMPORTANTLY, an attorney should never give you a guarantee concerning the outcome of your case. Trials can be won or lost for a multitude of reasons, most of which may not be foreseeable. An attorney's job is to gather all relevant evidence, properly evaluate your case, then give you his or her professional opinion concerning the possible outcome. Once your attorney gives you this information, then ONLY YOU can decide to proceed with trial or not.
Expunction / Clearing Your Record
If you are found not guilty by a judge or a jury, the case will be over. However, there is still a record of your trial, arrest, and charge. You will eligible for an expunction of your record, however this does not happen automatically. If you are found not guilty, I will explain this process to you to keep your record clean!
How long does the Assault Criminal process take?
The answer to this question depends on many different factors. These factors include the nature of your case, what county you are in, how fast the police agency acted, and to what court you are assigned. If your case goes to trial, it can be over a year before your case is disposed. If you end up pleading guilty in your case, it can be over anywhere from 4-6 months
Contact Frisco, Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys Dan Moran TODAY:
Call (214) 226-8475 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation
Frisco, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer
2591 Dallas Parkway, Suite 207
Frisco, Texas 75034
(800) 933-0891 Fax