I was arrested in Tarrant County, what happens now?
This is a situation that many people will face at some point in their life and its important at the outset to understand that your life is not over. It is important that you talk to an experienced criminal attorney like the ones at Nickols & White, PLLC, to talk about what options you have at your disposal to make sure that your arrest and possible criminal charge are dealt with ethically and with the least amount of impact on your livelihood.
Bail in Tarrant County
If you are arrested in Tarrant County, that means any city that is within Tarrant County lines, the first thing you will need to do is post bail. You must, under Texas law, be brought before a judge and given a bond amount after you are arrested. After the judge gives you your bond amount, you can then start the process of posting bail. The attorneys at Nickols & White, can post bail for you, and often times for less than what a traditional bail bondsman would charge.
Hopefully your bond amount was set at a reasonable number, however, it is not uncommon for judges (especially in smaller cities) to set very high bonds on some charges. If this is the case, our attorneys can request the court to reduce your bond after a case is filed with Tarrant County. Getting your bond reduced can often save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in bond fees.
Initial Appearance in Tarrant County
In Tarrant County, unless you bond out and hire an attorney very soon after you are arrested, you will be set for an Initial Appearance. This court setting is intended to inform you of what you have been charged with and to make sure that you either plan to hire an attorney or if you would like the court to appoint an attorney to you. If you request a court-appointed attorney, you must meet the indigent guidelines set out by the State of Texas and Tarrant County.
Indictment in Tarrant County
If you are charged with a felony, you must under Texas law, be indicted by a grand jury before your case can be prosecuted. This means that a jury of 12 people must find that there is enough probable cause for the District Attorney’s Office to proceed with the prosecution. If there is enough probable cause, the Grand Jury will issue a “True Bill”. If there is not sufficient probable cause, the Grand Jury will issue a “No Bill”. If a No Bill is issued, the case stops there and no further prosecution will be taken. If the case is True Billed then your case will proceed.
In Tarrant County, defense attorneys are allowed to present Grand Jury defenses. Meaning, the defense lawyers, like ours at Nickols & White, PLLC, can defend you in front of the Grand Jury in an effort to get your case No-Billed. Our attorneys have a high success rate in Grand Jury defense and this remains one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get your criminal charge dismissed.
Court Settings in Tarrant County
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, after you bond out or attend your Initial Appearance, your case will be assigned to a court and you case will be set on the Pre-Trial docket. The purposes of the Pre-Trial docket include allowing the defense attorney access to all of the evidence against you, to allow the defense attorney to negotiate with the District Attorney on your case and to inform the court whether the case is likely to be disposed of through plea bargain settlement or whether it is likely to go to trial. You normally will be given anywhere from two to more than ten Pre-Trial settings before your case goes to trial, depending on which court you are in.
If you are charged with a felony, there are four court settings that you will be given at the least.
- Consultation – the first setting where the defense attorney accesses all evidence and the District Attorney gives you your first offer for the case.
- Evidence Exchange – this setting is intended to make sure that defense counsel has all of the evidence that the District Attorney has in their possession (favorable and not favorable to the Defendant). This setting is repetitious of the Consultation setting but was put in place before defense attorneys in Tarrant County had access to client’s evidence online.
- Motions – this setting is the deadline for the defense counsel and the District Attorney to file most of their necessary motions for the case and for trial. Motion for Witness List, Motion for Notice of Extraneous Offenses, Motion for Discovery and Motion to Suppress are all commonly filed by this date.
- Status Conference – This setting is where the case reaches the point of either plea bargain settling or trial. The defense attorney and the District Attorney must inform the court what the current offer from the DA is and whether both sides are ready for trial. In most courts, if both sides are ready for trial, the case will be placed on the trial docket. It is not uncommon for cases to receive several Status Conference and/or Trial settings before the case is actually reached for trial.
The court process in Tarrant County can be intimidating for most, especially if this is your first experience with the criminal judicial system. It is vital that you understand the process and help your attorney understand your side of the story at the outset. Our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys have been on both sides of the courtroom – first as prosecutors and now as defense attorneys. We know the ins and outs of the courtroom and the system and we use this knowledge to get our clients the best possible result with their case. Our attorneys are also Board-Certified in Criminal Law, so if your case proceeds to trial, our attorneys are ready and able to argue your innocence to the jury. Don’t wait, call us today for a free consultation at 682-250-4242.