Usually, a criminal case starts with an arrest report. After that, the prosecutor decides what charges to file . Some cases go to a grand jury for an indictment or to a preliminary hearing, where a judge decides whether enough evidence exists to go forward. Let’s look at how it works.
After an arrest, the police report goes to a prosecutor, whose job is to initiate and prosecute cases. Besides providing dates, times, locations, and witness names and addresses (if available), an arrest report summarizes what happened.
The prosecutor will typically either:
- that the case should be charged as a misdemeanor and file a “complaint” with the court;
- decide that the case would be a felony and should go to a grand jury, which will decide what charges, if any, to file, or;
- decide not to pursue the case.
A police officer specifies the crime or crimes that led to the arrest. Additional charges may also be recommended by officers to the prosecution. Charges are ultimately determined by prosecutors.
When a defendant appears in court for the first time, he or she learns what the formal charges are.
Charges initially filed by prosecutors may change. A prosecutor may not decide what charges to file until after a preliminary hearing, which may take place more than a month after arrest.
If you find yourself facing any of the following legal concerns, contact VICTORIA BARR LAW to retain representation by the firms’ aggressive litigators and trusted criminal defense lawyers.
Frequently Asked Questions of Our Criminal Defense Lawyers
1. What should I expect from a good criminal defense lawyer?
You should expect that your criminal defense attorney have the knowledge of the law and experience defending the type of charges you are facing as well as experience in the court where the charges were filed, and that he/she is a skilled litigator and negotiator. Not all criminal defense lawyers are experienced in both state and federal courts, so it is important to find out where the attorney has practiced and if he or she has defended similar cases. In addition, you should expect help with alternative scenario planning, evaluation of your options and risk assessment. Information about the proceedings and possible outcomes must be provided in a timely manner so that you have time to prepare for the outcomes. Finally, you should expect that your attorney will be creative and effective, so that he/she is able to come up with a proper resolution of your case.
2. What happens after a person is arrested?
Generally a person who has been arrested is brought to the police station where he/she is “booked”. This means the police will take personal, historical and biographical information. The police will use this information to determine if the individual has any warrants or a criminal history in order to evaluate whether or not he/she can be released from custody and whether the payment of a bail/bond is required. Depending upon the jurisdiction, if the authorities intend to detain an individual, the person may have a right to have their detention reviewed by a judicial official. Generally, the police will file a criminal complaint in court and the individual will be required to appear before that court. During the arrest procedure, officers may also seize property, records, and/or materials as evidence.
3. Is there a difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge?
Yes, there is a difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge.
4. How much does a criminal defense attorney cost in Texas?
You can’t put a price on a powerful defense. While financial limitations are a reality, it is important to prioritize results and reputation when it comes to selecting the right representation for your matter.
Driving While Intoxicated
A DWI conviction can result in the suspension of your driver license and cancellation of auto liability insurance. More importantly, even a first time DWI offender faces serious penalties including jail time, fines, and time-consuming classes and rehab. Protect your future and your rights by working with VICTORIA BARR LAW. Our first goal in every DWI case is to see the charge dismissed or reduced. To reach that end, our firm investigates and evaluates each DWI case as if it’s going to jury trial. This approach ensures that every client, whether guilty of the charge or not, receive a just a fair result.
Drug offenses are very serious offenses that require the representation of an experienced and understanding criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested and charged with the sale, manufacture, or possession of an illegal or controlled substance, you need VICTORIA BARR LAW on your side. Our team utilizes Licensed Substance Abuse Counselors and local rehabilitation resources to identify and tackle addiction problems with the goal of eliminating or mitigating any additional punishment the State might be seeking.
Pretrial Diversion Program
Did you know that most first time offender’s charges with a non-violent offense qualify to have their case dismissed upon successful completion of a Pretrial Diversion Program? Denton County has such a program, and the attorneys at VICTORIA BARR LAW FIRM know how to set clients up for admission and successful completion of PTD. After a dismissal, our attorneys take the extra-legal steps necessary to have all records related to our clients’ arrests destroyed by seeking an Expunction. For more information about Pretrial Diversion.
Did you know that if you were never convicted of an offense you can petition to have records related to your arrest and prosecution sealed by an order of non-disclosure or destroyed altogether by an order of expunction? When a record is sealed or expunged, you may legally deny that your arrest ever occurred. Sealing and expunging records is a crucial step in the process of moving forward with life after an arrest because it protects your character and reputation as you seek an education, professional licensing, employment, housing, and personal relationships.
Sex crimes are aggressively-prosecuted offenses that often result in lengthy prison time and mandatory sex offender registration. If you are convicted of a sex offense, you may also be required to abide by sex offender probation terms which require regular polygraph examination and sexual therapy and counseling. Protect yourself and your good name by contacting with VICTORIA BARR LAW immediately if you ever have a concern or fear about a sex charge in Collin County & Dallas County.
Theft, burglary, robbery, identity or credit/debit card abuse are all examples of theft-related crimes. In Texas, theft is considered a crime of “moral turpitude”. Theft is also enhanceable. This means that multiple charges, even for what would be a misdemeanor theft, can be enhanced to a felony if you have previously been convicted. VICTORIA BARR LAW handles theft-related charges with the utmost care to protect our clients’ present and future interests.