How Does The Pretrial Process Work In Texas?
Once Someone Is Out Of Jail On Bond, What Happens Next? How Often Do They Have To Go To Court?
Well, the rules for how often you go to court are really the same whether or not you’re in jail. If you’re out of jail, you have court dates and your lawyer shows up and you either accept or waive the arraignment. Again, if you want to be formally arraigned, then the prosecutor will read you the charge and you would enter an official plea of not guilty. If you waive arraignment, then you just sign a piece of paper saying, “Judge, I know what I am charged with, and yes, my name is Mr. A and that is who I am. It’s spelled correctly in all manners and means.”
After that, you’ll have a pretrial, and that’s really just a calendaring date where the judge wants to know
- if you are ready,
- if you have access to all the evidence, and
- if you have had a chance to do an independent investigation with your lawyer to determine what has or has not happened. He also wants to know what you want to do with your case. Do you want to plead guilty? Do you want to have a non-jury trial? The judge then gives you a date that the trial will possibly occur.
Now, after that calendaring date, the number of times that you might have to go back to court really depends on you, your lawyer, and the complexity of the case. For instance, if it’s the case that you believe that evidence was collected without proper authority, you can file a motion to suppress, which you would have to be there for. In testimony, an argument would be heard. In a criminal case of a certain level, every time the defendant’s case is being presented, they must be there.
I’ve seen other cases where you go to a pretrial and then they come back with a plea to have it resolved. In other cases, we have a pretrial and then we’re back there 4 to 5 times before the actual jury trial date because we’re trying to narrow down the issues that we’re in conflict with, such as evidence not taken permissibly or a test for the detection of an impaired driver that wasn’t done correctly. Then we make our arguments to the judge and we try to have it kicked out because this wasn’t done or this evidence isn’t proper for a jury because it’s not reliable. Really, you never know how many times you’re going to go to court on a complex case.
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