In Texas, the path to a trial often begins with an arrest. Once arrested, the defendant is brought before a magistrate without unnecessary delay, as per Article 15.17 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
This initial appearance is the critical phase when you’re informed of the criminal charges and your rights.
During this phase of the process, expect various motions and hearings.
This is the part of the process where we have an opportunity to enter negotiations with the District Attorney. A seasoned & experienced criminal defense attorney such as Mr. Tad Nelson or Ms. Amber Spurlock could potentially negotiate a plea bargain or even get the charge dismissed.
The “arraignment” is when you are formally informed of the charge against you. During the arraignment, you’ll be able to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty and opt for a jury trial, the next phase of the process is jury selection.
Known as “voir dire,” this process is an intersection of your lawyer’s strategy and intuition. Potential jurors, drawn from the community, are questioned by both the defense and prosecution. As any experienced defense lawyer will tell you, this is where the tone is set for the trial.
During the trial, assuming you plead not guilty and opt for a trial, we’ll present our case, and the prosecutor will present theirs.
Witnesses are examined and cross-examined.
Evidence is presented, challenged, and weighed.
In juvenile cases, the trial process is different. It’s geared towards rehabilitation rather than punishment in line with the Texas Family Code.
Presumption of Innocence
The presumption of innocence is rooted in the Constitution of the United States. This principle places the burden of proof squarely on the prosecution. In Texas, as dictated by Article 38.03 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
After both sides have presented their cases, the jury (or judge, in a bench trial) will deliberate. Then, a verdict will be rendered. In Texas, a verdict must be unanimous in felony cases, as per Article 36.29 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Sentencing and Criminal Appeals
Should a guilty verdict be rendered, the sentencing phase comes next.
For juveniles, options like probation or rehabilitation programs will be available. For adults, a jail sentence, a fine, or a combination of both may be an order.
For individuals who believe the court ruled in error, there are the appellate courts. In the Texas Courts of Criminal Appeal, errors in the trial can be reviewed and, potentially, rectified.
The Right to Appeal
Under both the Constitution of the United States and Texas law, a defendant has the right to appeal a conviction. This process provides a safety net for those who believe that justice was not served in their trial. It’s also a good tool for the state to rectify and reverse its errors.
Accused of a Crime?
Talk with A Galveston Criminal Lawyer Today!
Attorneys Tad Nelson & Amber Spurlock are not only seasoned criminal defense lawyers, but they’re also dedicated to serving the communities of Galveston, League City, Texas City, and other great causes throughout Galveston County, TX.
Should you need legal representation for a criminal or other matter, feel free to visit our law offices or give us a call. Talk with us today at 409-765-5614.
Attorney Tad Nelson is Board Certified® in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.