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Defending Criminal Defendants from our Offices in Houston, Texas.
Standing as the Voice of Reason to Protect and Defend you or your accused loved one.
If you have been arrested in Texas, the first thing to do, is exercise your right to remain silent, and immediately request to speak to your lawyer. The next step in an aggressive defense of your rights is for you to contact an experienced attorney to represent you.
What You Need to Know About Your Criminal CaseThe Arrest
Your case begins when there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. There are three ways that a case can be brought to court:
- arrest of the accused at the scene of the crime or soon thereafter
- arrest based on a warrant issued by a court as a result of a sworn complaint, or
- arrest based on an indictment by a grand jury after investigation
If a warrant has been issued as a result of a complaint or indictment, the accused is subject to arrest at any place and at any time. That means law enforcement may knock at your door, your work place, or even at your church! This can cause untold embarrassment. If this happens, we once again advise that you contact an attorney immediately.The Charge
In most counties, the District Attorney (DA) makes the decision on whether to charge a person with a crime. A federal prosecutor is more likely to seek an indictment before issuing an arrest warrant or summons.
In the majority of cases, one of the assistants stationed at the intake division of the District Attorney’s office will review a case for filing. This may involve a simple telephone call from an officer on the scene, where an officer explains to the DA’s office facts of the case, and the assistant will make the immediate decision whether probable cause exists to charge a crime.
In most federal cases and some state cases, usually a lengthy investigation is conducted before filing a charge. In most cases the person being investigated is aware of the investigation. If that person has experienced legal counsel, he may be able to re-direct the focus of the investigation, or at the very least provide the investigator exculpatory information.Preliminary Appearance
Both the Federal and Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure require that the person making the arrest must, without unnecessary delay, present the accused before a magistrate. The magistrate must inform the accused of his constitutional rights, determine whether probable cause exists for the arrest, and set bail. This first appearance usually occurs within twenty-four hours of the arrest.
Sometimes the accused bails out of jail before he can be brought before the magistrate. In those cases, and sometimes irrespective of whether he has seen a magistrate, the trial judge may bring the accused before her bench on the first setting to explain his constitutional rights and review probable cause to determine whether bail is sufficient. It is important to seek legal representation early to assist you maneuver through this complex process, because a skilled lawyer may be able to dissuade the court from raising bail or attaching bail conditions.Bail
For many crimes, bail has been previously determined by the courts and is in a list of standard bail amounts. In certain circumstances, bond is denied to the accused. The judge assigned to the case may set bail or change the bail amount depending on the circumstances. In federal court, the magistrate will usually require that an accused satisfy the conditions of a pretrial release.
In some circumstances, especially in theft or drug related cases, bail is set very high for the accused to get out of jail, because the amount is initially determined by a multiplication of the value of the alleged loss in the theft case or the street value of the drugs.Preliminary Appearance of an Attorney
Every person accused of a crime has the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the state must provide one. The accused, however, does not have the right to choose a particular attorney if the state is to provide the accused with legal counsel.Grand Jury
The district attorney is required to present felony cases to the grand jury. Most presentations before the grand jury are without witnesses. A misdemeanor charge does not require a grand jury indictment.
In some cases, it might be advantageous for an attorney to fight the case at the Grand Jury stage in order to convince them to dismiss his client’s case. Your attorney may prepare and present an information packet to the Grand Jurors for review, with a letter to the foreman of the Grand Jury explaining why the accused case should be dismissed.
The Grand Jury does not determine guilt or innocence. The members of the Grand Jury are only required to be concerned with existence of probable cause. However, there is no right to representation in the Grand Jury room and the prosecutor has unimpeded access to the accused while he is testifying. The accused is placed under oath and everything he says is taken down by a court reporter.Arraignment
The first appearance of the accused after indictment is called an arraignment. Unless formal arraignment is waived, the judge will verify the identity of the accused and ask for his plea.
Seek the legal counsel you need to understand Texas criminal procedure. Contact The Opande Law Firm for consultation immediately.
Our defense team represents people who have been accused of crime anywhere in Houston Texas, and surrounding counties and cities including League City, Angleton, Pearland, Alvin, Clear Lake, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Baytown, Pasadena, Memorial, Spring Branch, River Oaks, West University, Bellaire, as well as Houston County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, and Harris County.