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!