Fighting a criminal charge

Fighting a Criminal Charge in Texas?

Fight your charge. Protect your rights and your freedom.

Fighting a charge requires tenacity and expertise. If you have been charged with a crime, the government is taking the position that you are guilty and that you should be subjected to criminal punishment. The government bases its charge on the evidence collected by the police and other law enforcement during their investigation. You will be assigned a court to hear your case, and you will face off against highly-trained prosecutors who will be trying to put you in on probation, in jail or in prison. If you want to fight the charge, you should find a criminal defense attorney who will fight for you and your rights in court and through a trial if necessary.

Once you have been arrested for a crime, the state will decide whether to file a case against you. If the case is filed, you will be formally charged through either an “information” or an “indictment.” An information is just a piece of paper declaring the government’s belief (based on a sworn affidavit, usually by a police officer) that you are guilty of a crime. The information will also include a few basic facts about the offense as the government believes them to be true. An indictment is a document signed by a grand jury that says a grand jury has found probable cause that the person named in the indictment committed the crime described in the indictment.

All felonies must be charged by an indictment. The state prosecutors will bring their evidence to the grand jury in hopes of obtaining an indictment, but the grand jury will ultimately make a decision whether to return the indictment (a “True Bill“) or not return the indictment (a “No Bill“). While it is very easy for the state to obtain a True Bill of Indictment, in some cases (where I have been able to conduct a thorough investigation) I have been able to put forth the results of my investigation to the grand jury and obtain a No Bill. This effectively ends the case dead in its tracks and is the best possible result for my client.

Once you have been charged with a crime, you will likely be in the position of deciding whether you want to plead guilty in exchange for a plea bargain agreement or take your case to trial to have a jury decide the outcome. Many of my clients have come to me in this stage of the proceedings because they feel pressured to take a plea deal that is unfair or because they want someone to fight the charge through a trial. If you are being pressured to take a plea deal and want a second opinion, or if you feel that you need to hire a criminal lawyer to take your case to trial, please contact me to discuss your case.

If you want to fight your charge, you can rest assured that we fight tooth and nail for our clients. As criminal defense lawyers, we welcome the opportunity to set your case for trial and argue your case in front of a jury. It’s that passion that juries like to see, and we are passionate about every one of our clients because we know that your case is your life.

Not every case will plead or go to trial. Some cases are dismissed by the prosecutors themselves. We may be able to negotiate a resolution to dismiss your case or we may be able to collect enough evidence through our investigation that the district attorney realizes that your criminal charge is unjustified and not substantiated by the facts. Other ways for a case to get dismissed are pursuant to a pretrial diversion program or a conditional dismissal like a memo agreement. Please call us to find out if you are eligible for a program like that. If your charge is not dismissed, then you will either plead guilty or take the case to trial (which will result in either a Guilty or Not Guilty verdict).

How long does it take to go to trial?

It usually takes, at a minimum, several months for a case to go to trial. The cases that move that fast are usually cases where the defendant has been held in custody (not out on bond). If the defendant is not out on bail, then it is usually at least one year before the case will go to trial. But more typically, especially for misdemeanor cases, it can take several years before a case goes to trial. The amount of time it takes for a case to go to trial depends on various factors, but the biggest delay usually comes from the court. There are a lot of people who want a trial and not enough courts to hear all the cases, so the courts are usually backlogged with trials. If you want to fight your charge, be prepared to be patient.

How much does it cost to go to trial?

Trials are expensive because of how much time it takes to prepare for them and because of how long the trials actually take. If you want a good result at trial, it takes even more time to effectively prepare. We always charge a separate trial fee for our criminal defense attorney, but we typically give our clients some time to pay the entire fee. We sometimes advise that our clients hire experts to testify at trial as well. Expert fees vary, but they usually charge by the hour. Our criminal lawyer usually does not charge by the hour, instead we charge a flat fee.

What happens after a trial?

After a trial, you will be found either Guilty or Not Guilty by a jury or a judge. The jury or a judge will then sentence you to among a range of punishment specified in the Texas Penal code. Learn more about the Range of Punishment

In federal cases, if you are found guilty or plead guilty, then you will be sentenced according to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. However, the federal sentencing guidelines are complex, and there is almost always a disagreement about how they will apply to any particular case and where, within the guidelines, a particular defendant should be sentenced. Learn more about the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

If you are found guilty, the judge or jury may also choose to “probate” your sentence (aka put you on “probation” or “community supervision“). Learn more about probation and community supervision

If you are found Not Guilty, then you will be eligible to receive an immediate expunction. An expunction will remove all records of the arrest from your record, and you will legally be able to say that you were never arrested. A criminal defense lawyer can file this expunction for you. Learn more about expunctions

If you are found Guilty, then you will be eligible to appeal your conviction. An appeal is essentially a request to a “higher” court (either a Texas Court of Appeals or the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals) that it review your case and determine whether the judge erred in some application of the law. You may also consider a Writ of Habeas Corpus if the trial was fundamentally unfair for some reason. Learn more about Criminal Appeals and Writs of Habeas Corpus

Published by Criminal Defense Attorney on and last modified