Texas Criminal Process

If you have been arrested or charged for any sort of criminal offense in Denton or its surrounding areas, it is time to educate yourself on the Texas criminal process and how it can affect your future. Regardless of the crime, arrests and ensuing charges must be taken seriously.

The state of Texas takes criminality extremely seriously, but the Texas criminal process can be extremely complex. As a result, individuals who are attempting to navigate this process on their own may find themselves in a world of confusion that results in a criminal conviction that could have been avoided had they reached out to a criminal defense lawyer in Denton.

Texas Criminal Process Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX

Being arrested for (and charged with) a crime is never what anyone wants to experience, and it can feel like you’re in an impossible circumstance if this happens in your life. However, the most important thing to remember is that time is of the essence once this takes place.

Your criminal process begins the moment you are arrested. Once this happens, you will need to prepare yourself for hearings, trials, prosecution, and the countless other aspects of the Texas criminal process. Make sure you’re able to rightfully defend yourself during this trying time by hiring Denton criminal defense attorney Richard C. McConathy. McConathy and his law office of litigation experts have a proven track record of helping individuals of Denton, Lewisville, Little Elm, and the surrounding areas of Denton County calmly navigate the criminal process while working towards a favorable outcome. If you need help with your criminal charges, call The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (940) 222-8004 to speak to a legal expert about your case.

Denton Booking and Case Filing

When an individual is arrested for an alleged crime, he or she will be held in jail until they are permitted to appear before a judge. Alleged offenders are taken into booking where law enforcement will take their photographs and fingerprints for record-keeping. They will also review your criminal history and hold you in jail until it is your time to appear in court for your arraignment.

Texas Criminal Process

Initial Appearance, Bail, and Arraignment in Denton

If you are a criminal defendant that is being held in custody, the judge will decide whether or not to provide you with a set bail, release you without requiring bail, or decline your bond and hold you behind bars until further notice. Once the judge has made this decision, the defendant will enter their initial court appearance, commonly referred to as arraignment. During this initial appearance, the defendant will be made aware of the charges against them as well as their bond conditions. 

When bail is set, the amount can be paid by the defendant, their criminal defense attorney, a bondsman, or an associate of the defendant. However, once the bail has been paid and posted, this does not mean the criminal process is over. Posting bail is a guarantee by the defendant that they will be physically present at any subsequent hearings or court/trial dates. If the defendant successfully appears, the bond amount will be returned to the individual who paid. If the defendant fails to appear, the bond will then be forfeited.

At your arraignment, the judge will be required to identify the defendant’s criminal defense lawyer and set the conditions of the bail. During this meeting, your lawyer will have the opportunity to argue your bail amount and/or release you from jail. Once the arraignment ends, you, the defendant, will have the option to enter a plea of not guilty, nolo contendere (no contest), or guilty.

Pre-Trial Negotiations in Denton

Before your trial begins, the state prosecution and your legal defense will have an opportunity to discuss pre-trial negotiations, or potentially agree upon a plea deal. Once this happens, the prosecution and defense will determine whether or not there are any reasons to dismiss the case completely, or, if necessary, reschedule or postpone any upcoming trial dates.

Denton Hearings, Appearances, and Pre-Trial Motions

Once an individual is released from jail or released on bond, they will be notified of the next time they will be summoned in court, typically for an arraignment. As a defendant, you are legally required to appear in court on the date and time that they have set for you, or else you will lose your bond and potentially receive a warrant for your arrest.

After pre-trial negations are over, the court sets a date to hear all pre-trial motions from both the prosecution and defense. The defendant’s attorney is allowed to file any motions in support of why the case should be dismissed or to suppress certain evidence. The most common pre-trial motions filed on behalf of defendants include:

  • Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Probable Cause
  • Motion to Exclude a Non-credible Witnesses’ Testimony
  • Motion to Exclude the Defendant’s Confession
  • Motion to Strike Prior Convictions
  • Motion to Suppress Illegally Obtained Evidence

Denton Criminal Trial

Once a defendant has rejected all of their pre-trial options, negations, and potential plea deals, their case will be set for a trial. In the state of Texas, the defendant is allowed to the right to choose between a bench trial and a jury trial.

A bench trial is a type of trial that does not involve a jury. In a bench trial, the judge is the sole decider of the verdict, whereas a jury trial consists of a number of “jury members” who are chosen through a process known as voir dire. Misdemeanor cases require six jury members, whereas felony cases require twelve.

In order to convict a defendant, the entire jury must unanimously agree that said defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If they are unable to come to a unanimous decision of “guilty”, the jury is called a hung jury and the judge must declare a mistrial. The case will then later be retried if the prosecutor determines another jury will be able to make a unanimous decision.

Resources for Texas Criminal Process

Federal Bureau of Investigation: A Brief Description of the Federal Criminal Justice Process – This link takes you to the official FBI website, where you can learn about the federal criminal justice process.

Find A Denton County Defense Attorney | Law Offices of Richard C.McConathy

Arrests and criminal charges cannot be taken lightly. If mishandled, these instances can potentially derail both your short and long-term life goals. If you have recently experienced an arrest or a criminal charge against you, calling a Denton criminal defense attorney must be your number one priority.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy understands the Texas criminal process, and we’re ready to use our knowledge to help you fight for your rights in a court of law. With decades of experience, McConathy and his legal team have helped countless clients in Denton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, and surrounding areas. If you’re searching for a lawyer who will tirelessly defend you against potentially aggressive prosecutors, look no further than Richard McConathy. Call today at (940) 222-8004 to speak to one of our on-site litigation experts. We offer a free, confidential consultation for new clients.