THE PROCESSNo case is exactly the same & different counties follow different procedures, but the life of a state court criminal case can be broken down into four general phases that involve different duties from your attorney. Those phases are as follows:
Phase 1: Arrest/Release
The vast majority of our cases are referred to as “on-view” arrests where law enforcement officers alleged they observed an offense committed in their presence, such as when a person is pulled-over in his/her vehicle or a search warrant is executed on his/her home. The first step in these cases is to get that person out of jail. Both Rod and Kris are authorized in Lubbock County to get their clients out of jail via a 10% Personal Recognizance Bond* in which the client pays 10% of the total bond amount and is then released on his his/her own recognizance.
The 10% “PR” bond carries several advantages over going through a traditional bonding company; most notably the fact that the money that went to the bond will be refunded back to the client at the end of the case as long as he/she shows up for court and complies with any conditions of bond imposed by the court. We urge all of our clients to use the phone as little as possible while they are in jail AND TO NEVER DISCUSS ANY FACTS ABOUT THE CASE OVER THE JAIL PHONE since every conversation is recorded and anything said over the phone WILL BE used against the client.
Phase 2: Pre-Indictment
In both misdemeanors and felonies, there is a period of time before formal charges are filed against a defendant in which the case is pending but information from the government is limited. This is a crucial time to gather information independently and to begin formulating defense theories. We interview our clients thoroughly to find out if there are other witnesses or physical evidence that can be gathered independently from the government.
The pre-indictment phase is also a crucial time for gathering “mitigating” evidence such as school transcripts, work history, community service records, and character letters from third parties that can be used to paint a fuller picture of the defendant, beyond whatever information is contained in an arrest report. In some cases, if the pre-indictment phase is handled properly by experienced attorneys, then the process can end before the filing of formal charges are ever filed.
Phase 3: Pretrial
If and when formal charges are presented, the information-gathering elements of the case are intensified as the process transitions into the pretrial phase. In this stage, the government must turnover any and all evidence in the possession of the district attorney’s office, as well as in the possession of any law enforcement agency. We review this information extensively and, in most cases, demand that even more information be disclosed.
Based on everything we are able to gather we then research and brief all relevant legal issues, and if necessary, call for pretrial hearings to litigate what evidence can and cannot be presented to a jury at trial. There is simply no substitute for thoroughly preparing a case to go to trial. A criminal defendant is up against the vast resources of the State of Texas, and the only way to offset that disadvantage is with a well-prepared and creative legal team experienced in finding and exploiting weaknesses in the government’s case.