What is the criminal process in Texas like? Well, as a general rule, once a person gets arrested and accused of a crime, then soon after that, there’ll be a case filed with a court. Whatever jurisdiction it is, misdemeanor or felony level. Then, they’ll be given an initial court date.
Usually, at that initial court date, the person is informing the court of whether or not they’ve hired an attorney. And the court may inquire if a person has not, whether or not they may be entitled to a court appointed attorney. Then, depending on the court and the county, there’s probably going to be a series of court dates that progresses from that point on.
Many courts will have a progressive schedule of court dates that may involve a first court date, where the prosecutor and the defense attorney get together and talk about what their positions are. Maybe they are given an opportunity to negotiate and possibly reach a plea bargain.
Then, if they don’t reach a plea bargain, then there may be another court date, where the prosecution is responsible for turning over all the evidence they have at that point. Then there may be a court date where the judge inquires about what the status of the case is?Are the two parties going to reach an agreement? Or do they need to set it for a jury trial? Then, there may be a jury trial date that’s set where the case actually goes to a jury trial.
Now, depending on the county or the jurisdiction, there may be a bunch of jury trial court dates before the case actually gets reached because the court may have so many cases actually pending that it takes a while for those case to actually be reached for trial.
Now, in felonies, there may be another part to the process where after the person is arrested and accused of the crime. There may be a process where the cases are pending before the grand jury. Then, nothing else happens until the grand jury returns an indictment. If they do, then there can be a court date and a series of court dates, where that led up to possibly a trial or a resolution by agreement of that case.
But grand juries can also decide not to indict a case. So, we call the grand jury decision either a true bill or a no bill. So, if they decide to indict, we call that a true bill. If they decide not to indict, that’s a no bill. The grand jury just decides whether or not there’s enough evidence that they think the person ought to stand trial.
Some attorneys will tell you that the grand jury is deciding whether or not there’s probable cause. But the law doesn’t state that the grand jury decides whether or not there’s probable cause. The grand jury just decides whether or not they think there’s enough evidence that the person ought to stand trial. They can also decide that they think there’s not enough evidence. Even regardless of the evidence, they don’t think the person should have to stand trial.
The grand jury can decide not to indict the case. And then, that’s like a dismissal, and the case is over. So, that’s just kind of a general overview of the criminal process in Texas.
The criminal process in Texas involves a person being arrested and accused of a crime. It also consists of filing a case with a court and awaiting an initial court date. The court may inquire whether the person has hired an attorney and if they are entitled to a court appointed attorney. The case progresses through court dates, including negotiations, plea bargains, and jury trials. In felonies, cases may be pending before the grand jury, which decides whether to indict or not.