Law Offices Of Richard C. McConathy

Texas Criminal Process

Weatherford Texas Criminal Process Attorney


If you have been arrested for a crime in Parker County, it is time for you to prepare yourself to undergo the Texas criminal process. These are the steps you will be taking throughout the next days, weeks, or months while your case plays out amongst prosecutors, a judge, a potential jury, and your criminal defense team.

Texas is a state that strictly enforces the laws it has in place, and it can be very unforgiving, depending on what your sentence is. Because of this, you need to make sure you go into your criminal process with a Collin County criminal defense attorney already right by your side. This method allows you to be informed, educated, and assisted from the first step of this long, arduous process.

If you were recently arrested in Parker County, you need to act quickly to get yourself qualified legal help. Make sure that you are working with a strong criminal defense lawyer capable of fighting to get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has helped scores of people all over Texas overcome all kinds of criminal charges. You can have us take a longer look at your case to see what we could do for you as soon as you call (817) 458-3226 or contact our firm online to schedule a free consultation.

Texas Criminal Process2

Booking and Case Filing in Parker County

After an alleged criminal offender has been arrested for a criminal offense in Weatherford, they will be held in jail until they appear before a judge. Immediately after the arrest, criminal defendants are taken to booking where their photographs and fingerprints are taken. Additionally, a fingerprint report, or rap sheet, is prepared that shows the defendant’s criminal history.

In misdemeanor cases, while the defendant is held in jail, the arresting officer files the criminal charges with the district attorney’s (DA’s) office. If the district attorney wants to pursue the case, the DA will create a charging instrument called an “information.” This is a written statement that is filed and presented on behalf of the state of Texas that charges the defendant with a crime. The information also puts the defendant on notice that they have been charged with a criminal offense.  After the information is processed, the case is assigned to one of the 11 misdemeanor courts in Dallas through a random process.

In felony cases, the arresting law enforcement agency will also file charges with the DA’s office. These charges will then be presented to the grand jury to decide if there is enough evidence to charge the defendant with the crime. If the grand jury does decide there is enough evidence, they will file an indictment. This charging instrument is a written statement that formally accuses the person named of the criminal offense. The grand jury is a private proceeding that is comprised of a panel of citizens who are selected to review criminal complaints provided by the police. The grand jury panel is made up of between 16 and 23 people.

If the grand jury decides to true bill the alleged offender, or formally charge them, the grand jury has determined there is sufficient evidence to charge the defendant with the alleged criminal offense and will issue an indictment. If the grand jury decides to no bill the alleged offender, the defendant will not be charged with a criminal offense because the grand jury did not find sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. If a defendant is formally charged with a felony offense, their case will be assigned to one of the felony courts in Parker County.

Initial Appearance, Bail and Arraignment in Weatherford

While the criminal defendant is held in jail, the judge will determine whether to set bail, to release the defendant from jail without bail (personal recognizance), or to hold the defendant in jail without bail. If bail is set, it can be posted at any time while the defendant is help in jail.

If bail is set, the amount can be posted by the defendant’s attorney, a bail bondsman, or another person. After the amount of bail has been posted, the defendant is guaranteeing they will appear at any subsequent hearings or at trial. If they do appear as ordered, the amount of the bond, less any fees paid to secure the bond, will be returned to the individual who posted it. If the defendant does not appear, the amount of bond will be forfeited.

After an information or indictment has been filed and the judge has decided whether to set bail or not, the defendant is entitled to an initial appearance, which is also known as the arraignment, where they will be advised of the charges that have been brought against them. The judge will also identify the defendant’s lawyer and set bail conditions at the arraignment.

Additionally, your attorney will have an opportunity to argue the amount of bail that has been set, and if the prosecutor has requested the defendant be held in jail, your attorney will also argue for your release. At the end of the arraignment, the defendant will enter a plea of not guilty, nolo contendere or guilty, and will be informed of the date of their next court appearance.

Pre-Trial Negotiations in Parker County

Prior to any appearances, hearing or trial for the defendant’s criminal charges, the defendant’s attorney and the state prosecutor will have an opportunity to discuss any pretrial negotiations or enter a plea deal. They will also be able to enter a plea deal at the arraignment if this is in the defendant’s best interest.

The defendant’s attorney and the prosecutor will determine if there are any immediate reasons to dismiss the case or if there is any reason to have a speedy trial. More commonly discussed prior to trial, a plea deal is a resolution of the case where both the prosecutor and the defendant agree to a certain punishment without ultimately having a trial to determine the defendant’s guilt. Additionally, at any of these pre-trial negations, the case may be reset, postponed, rescheduled, or a continuance may be requested by either parties.

Weatherford Hearings, Appearances and Pre-Trial Motions

After the defendant is released from jail on bail or bond, they will be informed of their next hearing date at their arraignment and will also receive notice in the mail of the date and the court where they are to appear for any subsequent hearings or appearances. The defendant is required to appear on the date and time where they were instructed to appear, or else they will risk losing the amount of bond and a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

After any pre-trial negations, but before trial, the court will set a date to hear all pre-trial motions by both sides. The defendant’s attorney can file any motions arguing why the case should be dismissed or to suppress certain evidence. The most common pretrial motions filed on behalf of a defendant can include any of the following:

Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Probable Cause
Motion to Exclude an Non-credible Witnesses’ Testimony
Motion to Exclude the Defendant’s Confession
Motion to Strike Prior  Convictions
Motion to Suppress Illegally Obtained Evidence

Parker County Criminal Trial

If a defendant has rejected all pre-trial negations, the case has not been dismissed, and the defendant has pleaded not guilty to an alleged criminal offense, the case will be set for trial. The defendant can choose to have a bench trial or a jury trial.

A bench trial is a trial without jury where only the judge determines if the defendant is guilty or innocent. Additionally, in bench trials, the defendant waives any error in the case upon any subsequent appeals.  A jury trial is comprised of a panel of 12 jury members for felony cases and six jury members for misdemeanor cases. The jury members are citizens in the county where the trial is held and are chosen through a process called voir dire.

After the jurors are selected, the guilt/innocence phase of the trial will begin. This phase involves the presentation of all evidence and all witnesses are called to testify. The prosecutor has the burden of proving the defendant committed every element to the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high burden of proof and often difficult to meet.

In order to convict a defendant, all jurors must unanimously agree the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If they do not all agree, the jury is called a hung jury and the judge must declare a mistrial. The case will then later be retried if the prosecutor determines another jury will be able to make a unanimous decision.

If the defendant is found guilty, the punishment phase of the trial will occur after the guilt/innocent phase. This phase is used to determine the defendant’s punishment for their alleged offense. The defendant can also choose at this phase whether the judge or jury will determine their punishment.

If the defendant believes a legal error occurred in the trial based on the judge’s instructions to the jury or for permitting inadmissible evidence, they can file an appeal to the next highest court. The criminal appeal is not a retrial or a rehearing of the evidence.

Weatherford Texas Criminal Process Resources

The Texas Criminal Justice Process – State Bar of Texas — View a guide that covers how criminal offenses are classified, what happens after a crime is committed, and what the rights are of crime victims. There is also information about what the crime victims’ compensation act is, the circumstances under which an arrest is made, and the rights of the person arrested. You can also read about procedures before trial, how criminal cases are resolved, and what community supervision is.

Code of Criminal Procedure – Texas Statutes — The code of criminal procedure covers a number of important topics, including the rights of the accused, right to representation by counsel, and  signed pleadings of defendant. You can also read about searches and seizures, right to bail, and habeas corpus. Additionally, this chapter also includes waiver of trial by jury,  waiver of rights, and waiver of indictment for noncapital felony.

Contact a Texas Criminal Process Lawyer in Parker County Today

Were you arrested in the Weatherford area? There is no time like now to get the help you need.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will be committed to making sure that you are able to achieve the most desirable possible outcome to your case. You can have us get started on your case as soon as you call (817) 458-3226 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

Practice Area

DWI Defense

BWI Defense

First DWI

Flying While Intoxicated

Second DWI

Third or Subsequent DWI

Felony DWI

DWI with BAC over 0.15

Controlled Substances and DWI

Open Container

Intoxication Assault

Intoxication Manslaughter

DWI Test Refusal and Implied Consent

License Suspension Hearings

DWI with Child Passenger

DWI Expunction

Contesting Blood Alcohol Tests

Ignition Interlock Device

DWI with Property Damage

Underage DWI

Commercial DWI

SR-22 / DWI Insurance

Theft Crimes

Enhanced Offenses

Criminal Defense

Case Results

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Parker Criminal Lawyer Richard & Brian

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