The procedures used during a criminal prosecution are extremely important. Your attorney should be well versed in how these procedures will impact the investigation and prosecution of your case. Important defenses contained in the Texas rules of criminal procedures can be used to fight the criminal charges against you.
The rules of criminal procedure govern every part of the criminal part for the first appearance, the arraignment, motion hearings, status conferences, and the final trial in front of a judge or jury. The rules of criminal procedure also govern violation of probation revocation hearings.
Attorneys for Criminal Procedures in Fort Wort, TX
If you were arrested for a felony, misdemeanor or DUI case in Fort Worth or Tarrant County, TX. Call our office to discuss the criminal charges against you, the typical penalties associated with the charge and important defenses that can help you fight the charges. Our team of attorneys can answer your questions and help you make decisions in your case.
Call (817) 422-5350 for a free consultation.
The Classification of Felony and Misdemeanor Cases
The penalties for a criminal defense depend on whether it is classified as a felony or a misdemeanor:
- Class C Misdemeanor is punishable by no confinement but a $500 fine;
- Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by 180 days in the county jail and a $2,000 fine;
- Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by one year in the county jail and a $4,000 fine;
- State Jail Felony is punishable by 180 days to 2 years and a $10,000 fine;
- Third Degree Felony is punishable by 2 to 10 Years and a $10,000 fine;
- Second Degree Felony is punishable by 2 to 20 Years and a $10,000 fine;
- First Degree Felony is punishable by 5 to 99 Years and a $10,000 fine; and
- Capital Murder is punishable by Execution or Life Imprisonment.
Formal Charges in a Felony Case
Felony charges are filed by the issuance of an indictment. An indictment is a formal charging document that is issued by a grand jury after evidence presented by the prosecutor is reviewed. District judge assembles the members of the grand jury. A grand jury has between 15 to 40 persons chosen from the county to serve for a term set by the court. Members of the grand jury have the choose between returning a no bill or a true bill. The true bill will result in an indictment being filed.
If formal charges are filed, an arraignment is set before a court for the purpose of taking a plea and scheduling the case for further proceedings. In Texas, a plea can be either guilty or nolo contendere (often called "no contest").
The defendant can request a preliminary hearing to challenge the truthfulness of the pending accusation. At the preliminary hearing, the prosecutor must show sufficient cause to convince the court that the defendant should be bound over for trial.
The preliminary hearing can be requested by the defendant whether he is charged with a felony or a misdemeanor before an indictment has been issued. In some cases, the defendant can waive the preliminary hearing to avoid expedite the process or avoid pretrial publicity.
This article was last updated on Monday, April 10, 2017.