Texas Criminal Procedure

Once the handcuffs click, the criminal process begins. Your lifestyle may be completely be altered in one moment. The criminal procedure in Texas can be daunting. You may or may not be familiar with the next upcoming steps. No matter your experiences, it is highly recommended that you seek trusted legal representation.

Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can give you the edge you need. A skilled attorney can file motions, suppress evidence, and uncover any available legal options. Additionally, an attorney can guide you through every phase of your case.

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested for a criminal offense, it is crucial that you seek a criminal defense attorney. 

San Antonio Attorneys for the Criminal Process in Texas

The Texas criminal process can be complicated. It may involve pretrial procedures, multiple court appearances, and other legal matters. Those who have been arrested in the Bexar County area are advised to seek a quality defense attorney.

Flanary Law Firm, PLLC is composed of established attorneys who focus on criminal defense. Our attorneys are experienced in the Texas legal system. We have the knowledge and available resources necessary to provide you quality legal representation. Do not face this prosecution alone. Contact an attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC today.

The attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC defend those accused of a criminal offense throughout the greater Bexar County area and adjoining counties including Medina County, Guadalupe County, Wilson County, Kendall County, and Comal County.

Call (210) 738-8383 to schedule a free consultation for your pending criminal charges.

 Overview for Texas Criminal Procedures 


Arrest or Notice to Appear in Texas Court

There are two ways the Texas criminal procedure begins, through an arrest or a notice to appear in court. In either scenario you are given a court date, and are recommended to obtain experienced legal representation. If the alleged offender is arrested, he or she will give their fingerprints and other additional information to law enforcement. 

Once they have finished the booking process, the alleged offender will be held in jail before appearing in front of a judge. If eligible, a judge may set a bond for the offender’s release. The individual will receive a court date and must return to answer to the charges held against them.

Those who are given a notice to appear will be required to attend their court date. Normally, an individual is given a time, date, and location for their first court appearance. Individuals who do not appear in court may have a warrant issued for his or her arrest. 


First Court Appearance in Bexar County, Texas

An alleged offender’s first court appearance is otherwise known as an arraignment. Here an individual will appear in court, and be notified of their pending charges. The judge is required to advise the alleged offender of his or her rights. Also, a judge may determine on whether or not to grant bail for the offender. 

A tentative appearance schedule will be set for the upcoming future. This includes a preliminary hearing, where the prosecution is required to present sufficient evidence for the case to go to trial. The alleged offender will also have a chance to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest). 


Pre-Trial Negotiations in San Antonio, Texas

Before scheduled court dates, the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to discuss any possible pre-trial negotiations. Pre-trial negotiations, or plea-bargaining, allow both parties to agree on an outcome. Usually, the prosecution will exchange potentially lighter penalties for a guilty or no contest plea.

There are many benefits to entering a plea agreement bargain. The prosecution may still apply legal penalties, but they are less harsh. An alleged offender may avoid incarceration, or further steep court fines. Some penalties a plea agreement may offer are probation, house arrest, restitution, or drug treatment programs.

During a pre-trial negotiation, the defendant is not required to accept a plea agreement. Ultimately, it is up to him or her to determine if the bargain is worth it. This is why it is important to obtain trusted legal counsel. A skilled attorney can assess any proposed pre-trial negotiation, or fight for a more desirable plea deal.


Pre-trial Motions and Hearings in San Antonio, Texas

In some cases, a pre-trial negotiation cannot be decided upon. If this happens, the defense will have an opportunity to file pre-trial motions. A pre-trial motion is a request to the court to make a decision on a certain issue before the trial begins.

Motions can significantly affect a trial’s outcome. There are various types of motions to assist the defense in trial. A skilled defense attorney can present several motions including but not limited to:

  • Motion to dismiss due to lack of evidence
  • Motion to suppress evidence
  • Motion to exclude witness testimony
  • Motion to dismiss charges due to lack of probable cause

Texas Criminal Trial in San Antonio

There are two types of trials a defendant may face, a bench trial or jury trial. Bench trials do not use a jury to determine an outcome. Instead a judge will interpret the law and also decide the verdict. Normally, a bench trial is reserved for lower misdemeanor crimes. 

If the defendant has to face a jury trial, a grand jury will determine if the alleged offender is guilty or not guilty. A panel of 12 jury members will be selected from a pool of citizens through a process called voir dire. Once they are selected the trial will begin.

During the trial, both the prosecutor and the defense will have an opportunity to present their evidence and witnesses. In a trial, the prosecution will have the burden of proof. He or she must prove that the defendant committed every element to the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a jury trial, all jurors must make a unanimous decision to convict a defendant. In cases where the jury doesn’t agree it’s called a hung jury. When a hung jury occurs, the judge will declare a mistrial. A new jury pool will be selected and a new court date will appear, repeating the legal process. 

If a defendant believes that a legal error occurred and skewed their case, they may be able to file an appeal. An appeal will result in a trail to determine if the legal procedures were handled mishandled. It’s not considered a retrial nor is evidence reheard.


Additional Resources

Bexar County Criminal District Courts – Visit the official website for Bexar County, Texas. Find more information regarding Bexar County’s criminal courts, their appointed judges, and their contact information. Gain access to court resources, and additional information surrounding the Texas legal system.

Citizen’s Guide to the Texas Criminal Process – Visit a document provided by the State Bar of Texas Criminal Justice Division. Find a wealth of information regarding criminal offense classifications, appeals, parole, court proceedings, juvenile court, and a glossary of legal terminology.


Criminal Defense Lawyers in Bexar County, Texas

A criminal trial can go in a multitude of ways. The law is not a simple matter, and can be daunting for even repeat offenders. It is important that you stay updated throughout your legal trial. Do not go in uninformed. Contact an attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC today.

Every attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLChas experienced with a love for criminal defense. We care about what we do. This means we will work tirelessly to obtain the best possible result for your case. The legal system is confusing, and we understand that. Let the attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC guide you. Call us now at (210) 738-8383 for a free consultation.

The attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC represent citizens in the city of San Antonio and surrounding areas including Converse, Live Oak, Leon Valley, Fair Oaks Ranch, and Windcrest.

Stay ahead of your case with a strong defense. Call (210) 738-8383 or submit an online contact form to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.


This article was last updated on September 27, 2018.