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The Acquittal Outlook

The Acquittal Outlook

Every criminal defendant heads into trial hoping for an acquittal. If acquitted, the defendant walks away with a clear name. Acquittal is the official finding that the defendant is not guilty of the charge as defined by the law. But acquittals are relatively rare, and most people have one primary concern when they are considering trial; what are my chances of being acquitted?

 

While answering this question with any level of accuracy would take an in-depth review of the facts of your case with a Texas criminal trial attorney, below are some of the factors that can influence your chances of acquittal.

 

Who Is the Decision-Maker?

 

In many cases, criminal defendants may decide who the decision-maker(s) will be. In a jury trial, the jury decides on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The judge decides in a bench trial. And, unique to Texas criminal trials is that the defendant may have the option to have a jury determine his or her sentence, too.

 

A guilty verdict is far more likely at a jury trial than an acquittal. Jurors must come to an agreement based solely on the consideration of the arguments presented, the evidence and the rules of the law, which is explained by the judge.

 

The jury must come to a unanimous verdict, which could be difficult depending on the strength and credibility of the evidence. Conversely, civil trials only require five-sixths agreement from the jurors for a legally valid verdict. Evidence plays a significant role in helping juries come to a verdict. The burden of proof in criminal trials, which lands on the attorney for the State, is beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard of proof and one that isn’t always easily met. If the prosecuting attorney cannot meet this standard in your trial, the jury may acquit you.

 

To temper the chances the jurors are biased, both the defense attorney and the attorney for the state have a hand in the juror selection process, called voir dire. Ultimately, who has the authority to decide on your guilt or innocence and your sentence could impact your chances of acquittal at trial. A good Texas criminal trial attorney will be skilled in questioning and vetting ideal jurors for your specific case. Don’t overlook the importance of this process. When the odds are against you, every strength you can leverage can make a difference.

 

Appealing the Verdict

 

Another important thing to keep in mind is if you are not acquitted at trial, you have a right to take your case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court of Criminal Appeals has the authority to “overturn” the trial court’s decision. However, the appellate court will only be looking for procedural oversights and mistakes. It will not issue a verdict like the trial court would.

 

You should discuss the possibility of appealing your trial verdict with a criminal trial attorney. The majority of appeals do not fall in the defendant’s favor. On the same hand, the majority of trials result in guilty verdicts. But what matters more than statistics and odds are the specifics of your case. Speak with a Dallas criminal trial attorney about your chances of acquittal. In certain cases, trial is the best way to achieve a fair and just outcome.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how strong your case is and whether trial is right for you. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Street Patrol: iWatch Dallas and Mobile Crime Tipping

Street Patrol: iWatch Dallas and Mobile Crime Tipping

Community Watch and Mobile Crime Tipping

 

The population of Texas is currently estimated at a little over 28 million. And with roughly 77,800 licensed law enforcement officers in the State, it’s easy to see how many who commit crimes get away because law enforcement didn’t become involved. Mobile crime tipping, however, is changing that.

 

Texans can now report crimes as quickly as they can send a text. No more waiting on the non-emergency lines for hours. No more trips to the sheriff’s office. Today, you can report a crime by sending a quick text to a mobile crime tipping line. iWatch Dallas is one such crime tipping channel that allows citizens to report criminal activity in the Dallas area easily, quickly and anonymously.

 

Eyes on Texas

 

As a community awareness program, it relies on community members to step forward if they have knowledge of crimes or criminal activities. Although a law enforcement detective will review every “tip”, he or she may or may not pursue the lead. Law enforcement triages tips and other reports and responds appropriately.

 

Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of this outlet and the risk it poses. Mobile crime tipping means eyes in the community can act as eyes of police officers, increasing the reach and scope of law enforcement. Is this bad? Not necessarily. But keep in mind; people falsely identify criminals every day, making this extended reach potentially risky to anyone who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

An Attorney Can Help Challenge the Credibility of Crime Tips and Testimony

 

If you are facing criminal charges in the Dallas area, contact a Dallas criminal defense attorney immediately. People do make false reports both intentionally and unintentionally. Not every crime tip will lead to the evidence needed to convict you. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your charges with an attorney to ensure your case—and your future—does not depend on spurious or incredible crime tips or witness testimony.

 

Each criminal case is unique. Moreover, not every case is valid, which is why it’s so crucial to work with a criminal defense attorney when facing any criminal charge in Texas. A Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can thoroughly evaluate the evidence and advise you on how you can approach your defense and mitigate the consequences of your charges.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on your rights and help you protect them. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

What Happens if You Can’t Pay Your Court Fines?

What Happens if You Can't Pay Your Court Fines?

In 2016, 95% of warrants Texas courts issued arose from unpaid court fines. While being in debt is not a crime in and of itself, failure to pay court fines can effectively land you in jail. If you are facing court fines, fees and penalties, being able to pay is a top concern. But if you can’t pay, what happens?

 

Facing the Penalties

 

When the court fines you for a traffic citation or a low-level offense, paying that fine is a penalty for your conviction. Like community service or jail time, you must pay those fines to satisfy the requirements of your sentence. If you don’t fulfill that requirement, you could potentially face jail time. You might be able to make payment arrangements, but you could incur additional fines if you default on your payment and don’t contact the court. You could also face arrest and even lose your license, which could affect your ability to make a living. In light of these facts, it’s easy to see how court-issued fines can effectively perpetuate the cycle of crime for defendants who lack financial resources.

 

Driven by recently passed legislation, Texas courts are making changes to give low-income defendants the break they need. To lessen the disproportionate burden court fines place on low-income Texans, judges must now offer low-income defendants community service in lieu of fines. Judges are also granted the power to reduce or waive fines if they would place an undue burden on the defendant.

 

Texas courts extend this option only to defendants convicted of low-level crimes. Defendants who do not qualify as low-income or those fined for more serious offenses (which typically carry more serious fines) could face arrest for failure to pay.

 

If you have unpaid court fines, even just a traffic ticket you forgot about, we can’t stress the importance of speaking with a Dallas traffic ticket and criminal defense attorney enough. Before you pay those fines, talk to an attorney about your options. By paying a traffic ticket, you are essentially pleading guilty, which results in a conviction. Even if you pay your fine, the Texas Department of Public Safety will add points to your driving record, and you could face surcharges and increased insurance rates. You could even lose your job if you are a CDL holder. If you have an unpaid court fine for a low-level offense, you could have a warrant out of your arrest. An attorney can play a crucial role here in getting you out of hot water without having the bear the burden of excessive court fines.

 

If you are facing court fines in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to clear your name and remove any warrants. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

First Steps After Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

First Steps After Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

You’re facing charges. You’ve hired a criminal defense attorney. And now you’re wondering what to do next. While your attorney might set to work building your defense, your job isn’t over yet. Keep these first steps after hiring a criminal defense attorney in mind if you want to maximize your chances of clearing your name.

 

Learn About Your Case

It’s crucial you familiarize yourself with your case process for your peace of mind and so there are no surprises. Ask your attorney what happens next and what you can expect in the coming weeks. Some criminal cases move slowly while others resolve relatively quickly. It all depends on how your attorney handles your case and the pace of the court.

 

Be Proactive

Depending on your charges, your attorney may ask you to do a few things. For example, if you are facing charges for a drug-related offense, your attorney will ask you to abstain from drugs and perhaps enroll in a substance abuse treatment program. Or, if you are facing family violence (i.e. domestic violence) charges, your attorney may ask you to enroll in an Anger Management Class or Battering Intervention and Prevention program. Be proactive, and stay involved in your case.

 

Prepare for Court

If you need to appear in court, now is the time to make sure you have something respectable to wear. Many defendants overlook the importance of appearance when in court. Men should wear suits, and women should wear business attire. This is especially true for trial. The prospective jurors should look at the defense table and think everyone sitting at it is a lawyer. They will only have this impression if you are dressed professionally.

 

Make Arrangements

Discuss with your attorney what could happen if you are convicted. Whether it’s through a plea bargain or at trial, a conviction means you will be sentenced. Your attorney can advise you on the likely consequences of your charges. For example, if your attorney anticipates you will be given some jail time, now is the time to look into incarceration alternatives. Similarly, if you are looking at a DWI conviction, start learning about what you will need to do to get your license back as soon as possible.

 

Learning about what to expect and preparing for it should be your focus right now. Trust us when we say you won’t want to be surprised with anything the judge says. It’s far better to inform yourself of what could happen in court beforehand. If you are at a point where you haven’t hired a criminal defense attorney or think your current attorney may not be the fighter you need right now, consult with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney with trial experience. It’s important to speak with an attorney who has experience fighting cases all the way because such an attorney will be best able to advise you on all your options and which is the best for you.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

How Are Jurors Screened and Selected?

How Are Jurors Screened and Selected?

Assembling a Jury

 

Jurors must be selected carefully to be free from bias and prejudice and able to make reasonable and just decisions regarding the fate of defendants. But how does the court select jurors? And what is the process through which they are given a chance to vote on someone’s future? Answering these questions is essential, as the fate of many lies in their hands.

 

Speaking the Truth

 

In Texas, jurors are selected in a process called voir dire, which is French for “to speak the truth.” In voir dire, the prosecuting attorney, defense attorney and judge question potential jurors. This questioning process is essential to maintain a just system. The questions seek to assess the jurors’ ability to make fair decisions based on the facts at hand. Specifically, impartiality is key here. The goal of the attorneys is to get the potential jurors to be open and honest about their feelings, attitudes and beliefs. While this process does take place in a courtroom, jurors are encouraged to speak their minds honestly. By doing so, the attorneys will have a chance to select the right jurors for the particular case.

 

Advantageous Selection

 

In addition to asking a series of questions, each attorney can go over the subject matter of the case, which can help them “weed out” those who might take a biased stance. This is the only chance the potential jurors will have to speak their mind, so your defense attorney must be prepared to take full advantage of it. Likewise, your attorney will need to know how to elicit honest feedback, which takes skillfully timed prompts.

 

Each attorney will have a limited number of chances to make peremptory challenges and challenges for cause. This means your defense attorney can “strike” selections made by the prosecuting attorney and vice versa.

 

If you are facing criminal charges, hiring the right Texas criminal defense attorney from the start is essential. Whether you plan on going to trial or not, find a defense attorney who has vast experience selecting jurors and trying criminal cases. Voir dire is a vital process and one that a criminal defense attorney worth his or her money will know how to navigate and leverage to your advantage and your advantage only.

 

If you want to fight your criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to clear your name and protect your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Essential Tips for Hiring a Criminal Trial Attorney

Essential Tips for Hiring a Criminal Trial Attorney

Looking for Aggressive Legal Representation

 

Finding the right criminal trial attorney can be time-consuming. It’s bad enough you are facing criminal charges and are heading to trial. Now you are wading through listings of Texas criminal trial attorneys, each of which is vying for your business. But the real work lies ahead, so to make the process of finding the right criminal trial attorney for you easier, keep these essential tips in mind.

 

Look for Experience

 

Experience is one of the most important traits to look for in a criminal trial attorney. Ideally, find an attorney who has experience defending clients facing the same charges as you. This is essential because many criminal attorneys in Texas specialize in a few areas of criminal law. Don’t hire an attorney who handles mostly DWI trials if you are facing fraud charges. More experience means they know the ins and outs of defending your type of case and can produce the best results.

 

Go Local

 

Attorneys are state licensed. You’ll need an attorney licensed in the State of Texas if you are facing Texas criminal charges. But jurisdiction matters, too. Find an attorney who has tried cases in the same court that will try your case. You want an attorney who has worked in the same courtroom you’ll be appearing in and, ideally, one that has a good rapport with the judge and prosecuting attorney who are now your adversaries. So, if you are facing charges in the DFW Area, look for an attorney who practices in the DFW Area.

 

That Personal Touch

 

You’ll also want to find an attorney you are comfortable with on a personal level. If you can’t be open and honest with an attorney, you won’t fair well at trial. Consult with prospective attorneys over the phone or in person to get a feel for whether you want to work with them. You’ll want to find an attorney who can provide clear explanations and talks to you with respect. Also, it helps immensely for your attorney to genuinely care about the outcome of your case and the effect it will have on your life.

 

The Right Criminal Trial Attorney Makes all the Difference

 

Finding the right criminal trial attorney takes a little patience and sound guidance. We hope the above tips can help you select an attorney you feel comfortable with and who can competently represent you at trial, if necessary. Remember, this is your future at stake. Make sure you find a Texas criminal trial attorney who has the experience and resolve needed to fight your charges.

  

If you’re facing criminal charges or want to go to trial in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action so you can move on with your life. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

The Consequences of Probation Revocation in Texas

The Consequences of Probation Revocation in Texas

Facing Probation Revocation

 

Adhering to the terms of your probation (i.e., community supervision) can be challenging. If you can’t meet that challenge, the judge can revoke your probation, the potential consequences of which can be staggering. Thus, if you are on probation, you should take a minute to learn about the ramifications of probation revocation in Texas.

 

One Misstep Can Hurt You

 

Many people consider probation as a “get out of jail free” card. Instead of serving time behind bars, you get to remain in your community, albeit under the close watch of the state. But step out of line, even just once, and you could face the full force of your original sentence.

 

Type of Probation

 

Typically, the consequences of probation revocation in Texas depend—in part—on the type of probation the judge put you on: deferred adjudication or “straight” probation. Deferred adjudication means the judge suspends your adjudication until you complete your probation. Straight probation means the judge adjudicated you and placed you on probation.

 

If you were already adjudicated and put on straight probation, meaning your charges are not pending, this usually means the judge “probated” your jail sentence. If you fail to adhere to the terms of your probation, however, the judge can revoke your probation and impose your original sentence.

 

If you received deferred adjudication, however, this means the judge did not adjudicate you. If your probation is revoked, you could face the full range of sentencing available. For example, if you were facing ten years in jail and the judge put you on deferred adjudication probation, you could be sentenced to that full ten years if the judge revokes your probation.

 

Violated Probation? Don’t Go to Your Hearing Alone

 

The specific consequences you’ll face for a probation revocation will depend on what kind of probation the judge placed you on and other facts and circumstances of your case. The good news is you are entitled to a hearing before the judge can revoke your probation. You have a right to defend yourself. While probation revocation hearings differ from criminal proceedings in many ways, a Texas criminal defense attorney can still help you defend yourself and fight to keep your probation.

 

If you are on probation and need a legal advocate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to minimize the consequences of your violation. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Why Hiring a Defense Attorney Is a Better Investment Than You Think

Why Hiring a Defense Attorney Is a Better Investment Than You Think

Investing in Your Defense

 

When faced with criminal charges, money is often a top concern. Fines for a criminal conviction can be exorbitant, but the costs of a criminal defense attorney can seem out of reach, too. Even so, hiring a criminal defense attorney is an investment in your future. If you’re not convinced or are on the fence about hiring an attorney to fight your Texas criminal charges, consider these points.

 

Paying for Protection

 

A criminal defense attorney can do many things for you, one of the most important of which is protecting your rights. This isn’t to say you can’t protect your own rights, but consider whether you really know and understand how to do that. Our experience in watching pro se defendants attempt this over the years leads me to conclude they do not. A defense attorney will understand how to protect your rights and—more importantly—leverage them to strengthen your defense.

 

Weighing the Costs of a Conviction

 

The costs of a criminal conviction might not be apparent to you at this time. Aside from any court-imposed statutory fines for your conviction, you may be ordered to pay other costs. For example, the court could order you to pay restitution, make a payment to Crime Stoppers and pay ongoing supervision fees. If you factor in potential discrimination on the job market or the chance you could even lose your job, you can begin to see how expensive a conviction really is.

 

Knowledge Is Power

 

When you hire a defense attorney, you are paying for that attorney’s knowledge. And that knowledge isn’t limited to what he or she learned in law school. In fact, you are paying for that attorney’s knowledge of Texas statutes and how to interpret them, how to navigate courtroom rules and trial procedures and how to employ negotiation tactics. Although normally not very effective, you can try to bone up on legal information at the library or online, but you can’t learn how to successfully defend cases without years of hands-on experience (it’s the equivalent of simply reading a manual in order to perform surgery on yourself). And that knowledge is powerful because without it you have a slim chance of getting the best possible outcome in your case. The legal system is not user-friendly, so when facing criminal charges, it’s unwise to go DIY. It’s simple: pay now or pay more later. And later you most likely will not be able to change the outcome.

 

Consult With a Defense Attorney to Learn More

 

If you are facing charges, you need to consult with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney. Many attorneys in the Dallas area offer free consultations wherein they can provide you basic information that can help you better understand your case. There is no excuse not to tap into this valuable source of knowledge! Discuss the details of the charges you face and learn about your options. Make sure you also discuss the potential consequences of a conviction. From there, you can make an informed decision about how to invest in your future.

 

If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Can an Arrest Trigger Immigration Consequences in Texas?

Can an Arrest Trigger Immigration Consequences in Texas?

If you are not a US citizen, one false move can place your ability to remain in this country in danger. Noncitizens can face deportation or inadmissibility if convicted of certain crimes. Unfortunately, even just an arrest can raise a red flag to authorities and could potentially affect your legal status in the US. You can help prevent that from happening by learning a little about your rights and the procedures for detaining and prosecuting noncitizens.

 

Know Your Rights

 

If you are arrested, you have a right to remain silent. Local law enforcement is permitted to ask about a lawfully arrested individual’s immigration status, but you have a right to refuse to answer. No matter the circumstances, it’s best to invoke your right to remain silent, decline answering questions about your legal status in the US and say you’d like to speak with an attorney.

 

Triggering Interest and Immigration Consequences

 

After an arrest, you may be booked into a county jail. During the booking process, your fingerprints will be taken, which then follow a chain of command to the US Department of Homeland Security. At that point, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can issue a detainer request to hold you in custody for up to 48 hours or ask to be notified when you are released. This most commonly occurs after the booking process and identify verification, but ICE can issue detainers at any point when you’re in custody.

 

Also please note that federal authorities are cracking down hard on specific criminal activities, such as drug and human trafficking. If you are arrested for one of these offenses, you could face swift action from the federal government. While many offenses can trigger deportation, high-watch ones like drug trafficking usher in more aggressive action.

 

Trouble in Custody

 

Facing criminal proceedings as a noncitizen can be fraught with complications, due in part to the involvement of both state and federal authorities. And it could become even more complicated when you’re released from jail. Paying your bond to the county court will secure your release from county jail. If ICE issued a detainer or was notified of your release, however, you could be picked up and taken to an immigration detention facility. In light of this fact, try to speak with an attorney before you are released.

 

When Removal Proceedings Can Start

 

Removal proceedings can be initiated at any point while you are facing criminal charges, even while you are still in local custody. And whether you are convicted or found not guilty, incarcerated or put on deferred adjudication, ICE can detain you. The interplay between state and federal authorities is problematic, as local law enforcement retain certain rights regarding their decision to cooperate with ICE. But those rights are under fire and are actively being fought against.

 

Get a Legal Advocate on Your Side

 

The bottom line is an arrest can trigger immigration consequences, potentially even if you have a green card or a visa. Don’t face criminal charges alone if you don’t have full citizenship. Contact a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney immediately if you’ve been arrested. Do not wait until charges are filed or you are released. Promptly involving a criminal defense attorney is the only way to ensure you have every possible chance of avoiding immigration consequences and preserving your legal status in the US.

 

If you are facing charges for a crime in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how to defend your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

What Is a Grand Jury Indictment?

What Is a Grand Jury Indictment?

Filing Felony Charges

 

The process through which criminal charges are filed against a defendant is governed by rules and procedures that ensure efficiency and protect the defendant’s constitutional rights. For felony charges in Texas, this process involves a grand jury indictment.

 

The Grand Jury Indictment Process

 

Unlike misdemeanor charges, which are brought on by an “information” and complaint, felony charges must be brought on by a grand jury indictment, meaning the charge(s) must be brought before a grand jury of 12 jurors, who then submit a vote on the charges.

 

The prosecutor—the attorney for the State—is tasked with persuading the jury that probable cause is established. He or she will typically do this by explaining the law that pertains to the offense to the jurors. The jury can then obtain and review evidence and even question witnesses if it feels it is necessary to come to a vote. The prosecutor must persuade nine out of the 12 jurors. If at least nine vote for the indictment, the prosecutor can continue with filing the charges, which is called a “true bill.” Unless nine jurors are persuaded, the prosecutor cannot go through with the charges, which is called a “no bill.” The indictment itself is a statement written by the jury that accuses the alleged offender of the crime.

 

Indictment Proceedings

 

The grand jury is just one step in the criminal prosecution process. These proceedings are a little less formal than criminal trial proceedings in that they are closed to the public, confidential and exclude the defendant. But, similar to a jury trial, the proceedings and testimony are recorded for the court’s record, and the prosecutor may use information gained in the proceedings for any future criminal trial for the offense in question. The prosecutor must abide by numerous rules and procedures during the grand jury proceedings. But he or she can also disagree with the jury’s decision or its interpretation of the facts and potentially attempt the grand jury indictment process again.

 

Facing Felony Charges? Involve an Attorney Before It’s Too Late

 

A grand jury indictment sounds serious, and it is. Texas felony charges of any nature or degree are severe and can have significant repercussions for the defendant. To ensure a fair and just system, jurors are called upon to review the same evidence the prosecutor has and weigh in on the matter. But a grand jury indictment is not the same as a jury trial. The defendant does not have a right to participate or be involved in the jury proceedings. The good news is an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can step in and potentially influence the case before charges are even filed.

 

If you need help fighting your felony charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to fight your charges. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.