1. What happens when I get arrested?
When you are arrested, you are supposed to be given the Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent, USE IT. Nothing good will usually come from talking. You will be handcuffed, and taken to the jail where you will be processed into the jail computer system, with fingerprints and photographed, usually.
2. What is a bail bond?
A bail bond is a percentage of a fee amount of the bond amount, which is set by the court after you have been arrested and booked. It is usually done by the bail bond agency, but a bond can also be handled through the court system.
3. What is a summons?
In some instances, you will not be arrested but are in fact charged at a different time. Because you are not arrested, the court has to give you notice that you are in fact being charged with a crime. This notice is called a summons. It lets you know that you have been charged with a crime and that you need to appear in court on a certain date. You should in some cases post a bond so that you are not arrested at a later date.
4. How is my bond amount determined?
Your bond is determined based on a schedule that the legislature has approved and based on your previous history.
5. When do I get to talk to a lawyer?
After an arrest, you will be processed into the jail and at some point it will be determined if you can afford a lawyer or if you will need to be appointed a lawyer. If you can afford one, your family should handle it for you. If you can not afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one upon your request and the court’s order to appoint.
6. When do I get to see a judge?
You will usually be seen by a magistrate judge within 48 hours.
7. How am I officially charged with a crime?
If you charged with a felony, you are officially charged by an indictment after a grand jury has found cause to go forward. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you are charged with an information once the District attorney has accepted and filed the case to proceed.
8. What’s the difference between a felony and misdemeanor?
A felony is the highest level of offense we have in Texas and ranges from the state jail level offense to the capital punishment level offense. The range of punishment varies per offense, but felony range starts at 2 years to life or death dependent on the offense. A misdemeanor is the mid level offense, with the traffic ticket category being the lowest level under it. The misdemeanor has a range of punishment of 6 months at the least and 1 year at the most. There are a few hybrids which do carry a slightly less range of 30 days and a fine max.
9. Will my past criminal history affect me?
Your precious criminal history is considered by the DA in their evaluation of your case. It will be given whatever amount of weight they decide to give to it and they will begin their negotiations from there. You will have an opportunity to discuss with your lawyer on how to proceed.
10. How much does it costs to defend my case?
Every case is different because every client is different with different stories, different backgrounds, and different needs. Additionally every attorney has a different level of experience with certain types of cases and thus, it is impossible to give exact figures without a thorough discussion of your case.
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