What Are The Steps After A Misdemeanor Arrest?
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor offense (or for a felony offense) in Texas, it is important to understand the steps in the criminal justice process in the state and how a Temple criminal defense attorney can assist with your defense throughout your case. Whether you are arrested for a drug offense, a non-violent theft, an assaultive offense, a DWI, or another type of misdemeanor, the following are the general steps you should anticipate in the criminal justice process, according to the State Bar of Texas.
- Begin Exercising Your Rights Immediately After Your Arrest
As soon as you are arrested or taken into police custody, you can begin exercising important rights that can benefit your defense later on. You have the right to remain silent, and you should know that anything you say to the police can be used against you in a criminal case. You also have the right to have an attorney, and you should exercise that right immediately. These are rights you have under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
- Initial Appearance Before a Texas Judge
In Texas, most people who have been arrested for a criminal offense must have an initial appearance before a judge within 48 hours from the time of the arrest. At the initial appearance, the judge will inform you of the allegations against you and will inform you of the rights we mentioned above, in addition to other important rights concerning the trial process. The judge can also set a bond at the initial appearance.
- Charges Filed
While the time limit will depend upon whether bond is posted, the prosecutor will only have a particular period of time to file charges against you. If you do not post bond and are accused of a misdemeanor offense, the prosecutor typically must file charges within 30 days. If you post bond, a prosecutor typically must file misdemeanor charges within two years.
After charges have been filed against you, you will need to go to an arraignment, which is another appearance before the court. At an arraignment, the charges against you will be read and you will enter a plea.
- Pre-Trial Procedures
Following the arraignment, a variety of pre-trial steps or procedures may occur, including plea negotiations, a suppression hearing if evidence was gathered against you in violation of your rights, and discovery in order for both sides to gather information. The pre-trial procedures in your case will depend upon the specific charges you are facing and the particular facts of your case, so you should seek more information from your lawyer.
If your case goes to trial, then a series of additional steps will occur, and the trial process can be lengthy.
Contact a Temple Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have questions about the steps in the Texas criminal justice process, or you want to know more about your rights following an arrest and how a lawyer can help, you should seek advice from experienced counsel. A dedicated Temple misdemeanor criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Katie L. Gomez, PLLC can speak with you today about getting started on a defense strategy tailored to your case.