Being arrested for a criminal offense is like a nightmare. Only the defendant knows the pain and hassle he or she experiences during the trial. As most individuals face no or few criminal cases in a lifetime, most have no experience in such procedures. As a result, they become confused, overwhelmed, and a lot of questions come to mind. The defendant remains most tensed regarding the steps of the trial, preliminary hearing, and duration of the whole process. In reality, these depend on the nature of the crime and its severity. Penal code Texas defines the crimes and punishment for each quite clearly. Fortunately, you don’t have to defend the lawsuit alone. A criminal defense lawyer will present you in front of the court and help you go through different stages of the trial. The verdict depends largely on how well your attorney defends your case at the court. While most of the official tasks will be done by your attorney, it makes sense to know about the basic things of a criminal defense process. This knowledge can improve your understanding with the attorney and reduce your anxiety during your presence at the court.
It is the first step in a criminal judiciary process. Law enforcement officers cannot arrest you until a probable cause exists of such arrest. To justify a charge, they use different procedures like an interrogation, search warrant, or seizure of property. You can be arrested without having a probable cause if a law enforcement officer witnesses your crime in public. It is wise to contact any of the criminal lawyers Houston during the investigation without waiting for the arrest. It can impact the outcome of the case in a positive way.
Being accused and arrested
Once the law enforcement officers find ample evidence or probable cause to accuse you of a crime, they will arrest you. You will be sent to prison and police will take your photographs and other identity parameters. They are likely to search and question you in different ways to make the charge strong. However, “you have the right to remain silent”. In other words, it is wise not to make any statement in absence of an attorney. Your attorney will instruct you on how to talk with the police officers or prosecutors.
Arraignment and applying for bail
Here you make your first presence in front of the court. A brief hearing will take place where the judge will identify you and confirm that you know the crime you are charged with. Also, you will be asked whether you want to confess or deny the guilt. Naturally, you will try to avoid any sentence and therefore plead not guilty. During this hearing, your attorney will apply for your bail. If the court is happy with the application, you might be granted bail for a certain amount of money.
Several sessions of meetings take place in presence of both defendant’s party and the prosecutors. Both parties try to strengthen their points and break opponent’s arguments. The outcome of the trial greatly depends on the experience and knowledge of your lawyer. However, the defense lawyer may cut a deal with the prosecutors and avoid a trial or accept a less severe sentence.
The criminal defense process proceeds to this phase if the defendant pleads ‘not guilty’. A jury board or a judge conducts the trial. During the prosecutor’s turn, all pieces of evidence against the defendant are presented. Next, the defense attorney crosses the prosecutor’s arguments, presents an alibi, and brings other evidence in favor of the defendant. The judge reviews all of these and decides whether the defendant is guilty or not.
Once the judge or jury comes to a decision as to whether the defendant is guilty or not, a final verdict is prepared and read in the court in presence of both parties. The jury may take few minutes to several weeks to make a decision beyond all reasonable doubt. If the verdict is ‘not guilty’, the defendant becomes cleared of all charges and is free to go home. However, if the verdict is guilty, you can either accept the sentence given by the judge or appeal to an appellate court.
Your attorney (if you decide to employ one) will guide you through all the complex processes during the trial. All you have to do is to cooperate with the lawyer and avoid hiding any information.