If you or someone you love was recently arrested for a criminal offense
in Texas, you probably have a lot of questions. Below, we compiled a list
of frequently asked questions about criminal procedure in Texas. If you
have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly!
How does Texas classify crimes?
Like other states, Texas places crimes into two categories: misdemeanors
and felonies, with felonies being the more serious of the two. Felonies
are punishable by being incarcerated in a Texas prison; these crimes usually
involve offenses against the person, such as
assault, sexual assault, and
manslaughter and serious property offenses (burglaries and robberies).
What happens after an arrest?
Soon after the person is arrested, he or she is brought before a judge,
who informs the individual of the charges filed against him or her. During
this hearing, the judge sets a bond amount and reads the defendant his
or her rights. If the defendant cannot post bond, he or she remains in
custody and is transferred to a county jail where they wait for the next
action in their case. If the defendant posts bond, he or she is released
from jail. As long as the defendant adheres to their bond conditions,
they will stay out of jail until their case is resolved.
Do all cases allow for bond?
In Texas, almost all criminal cases allow for bond. The District Attorney
does not set the bond amount, a judge or magistrate does. The purpose
of bond is to ensure the defendant shows up in court as required. The
judge must set the bond high enough that the defendant is motivated to
appear in court. The judge also considers the nature of the offense when
setting the bond amount – the more serious the offense, the higher the bond.
What if a suspect threatens someone to drop charges?
If a suspect does this, he or she is obstructing justice and can be charged
with “Retaliation,” a felony under the Texas Penal Code.
Why do judges dismiss some cases?
If the prosecutor decides that he or she does not have enough evidence
to secure a conviction, or if there are holes in the case, the prosecutor
can file a motion to dismiss. However, prosecutors only do this
after police have exhausted an investigation and cannot obtain any more evidence.
If a judge agrees with the prosecutor, the judge can grant the motion
and the case can be dismissed due to insufficient evidence.
Do you have additional questions? If so, please
contact our firm to schedule a consultation with a
Plano criminal defense lawyer from our team!