This is the next post in my series on the handling of misdemeanor charges in Austin and other Texas areas. My last post addressed the question of “do I go to jail for a first offense misdemeanor?” It is important to understand that, while all misdemeanors are eligible for probation, how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the specific facts of the case. If you or a loved one are facing charges then it is important that you speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately. In this article I will expect the process one faces after they have been charged in our area. If you need assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Misdemeanor charges can be initiated in one of two ways. First, a defendant may be arrested and taken to jail. They will be arraigned before a magistrate within 48 hours. The magistrate will set the terms for the individual’s release. These can include the requirement of a bond or the individual being released on their own accord. A subsequent court hearing will be held where the defendant will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The process will proceed from there. The second method in which a misdemeanor charge can be brought is by the defendant receiving a notice to appear in Court. Such notices may be issued by an officer, at the time of the offense, in lieu of taking the defendant into custody. The notice will inform the defendant of the time at which they must appear for their arraignment.
If a defendant enters a “not guilty” plea at their arraignment then the Court will set a trial date. If the defendant is out of custody at the time of the arraignment then they will remain free pending the trial. If they are in custody, then counsel may make additional requests for their release. In between the arraignment and trial, counsel for the defendant will file any pre-trial motions and they will also conduct an investigation into the matter. If a resolution is not reached between the defendant and the government then the case will proceed to trial. Texas is different from many other states in that it allows for misdemeanor defendants to receive a jury trial. Misdemeanors will generally be decided by a jury of six citizens.
How to best defend against misdemeanor charges will always depend on the specific facts of the situation. The nature of the charges, and whether you have a prior record, will have a meaningful impact on the extent to which the prosecutor pursues the matter. Also, how to best defend yourself will depend on the nature of the charges. Retaining experienced counsel will help to ensure that your case is handled correctly.
I am an Austin criminal defense lawyer who devotes his practice to protecting the rights of the accused. I am Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and have been practicing law since 1995. I understand that you are facing a serious situation and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. My office also serves the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.