What to Expect at Trial
A major contributor to a defendant’s anxiety before a criminal trial is simply not knowing what to expect. Of course, no one can tell you what the outcome of the trial will be—but knowing what to expect can significantly lower your stress.
At The Torres Law Firm, part of our job is to do just that. We’re ready to answer your questions, give you confidence when you enter the courtroom, and stand by your side every step of the way.
If you’re facing criminal charges, set up a consultation with us. We prepare our clients facing a criminal trial in Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, or anywhere else in Texas.
What Should I Know About the Texas Criminal Trial Process?
When you are charged with a crime in Texas, the burden of proving that you are guilty of those charges rests with the prosecuting attorney. The judge and jury should presume that you are innocent unless and until the prosecution proves otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.
You also enjoy certain constitutional rights, such as your right to trial by jury rather than a bench trial in which the judge is the only person who determines your guilt or innocence. Additionally, you have a right to protection from self-incrimination and rights to a speedy trial, due process, and the right to confront your accuser.
Of course, you also enjoy a 6th Amendment right to legal counsel. Hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you as early as possible is vital. Your attorney can communicate and negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf, investigate the crime, review and challenge evidence, build a viable legal defense, and protect the rights you are entitled to under the law.
What Steps Are There Before Trial?
Pre-trial steps include your arraignment on the charges to which you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. There will then be a discovery period during which your attorney will request the evidence the prosecution has against you and vice versa. Your attorney will review the evidence with you, question or depose witnesses, and build your defense.
During this time, there may also be plea negotiations. Whether you agree to take a plea to reduce the charges or penalties or not is your decision. However, your attorney is bound to present you with and counsel you regarding any plea offers made by the prosecution. It’s important that you are fully informed at every stage of this process.
At the pre-trial hearing, a case statement is read by the judge and signed off on by your attorney and the prosecutor. The statement will be used during ‘voir dire’, which is the questioning of potential jurors to seat a jury if a jury trial is taking place. There will be a period allowed for both parties to file motions and countermotions with the court, and the court date will be set.
What Happens During Trial?
Trial will begin with opening statements from both sides, followed by the prosecution’s presentation of its case against you. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine prosecution witnesses before calling witnesses on your behalf. Once both sides rest, both will deliver closing arguments to the jury. The judge will instruct the jury before they leave the courtroom to deliberate a verdict.
What Happens After Trial?
Post-trial steps depend on the verdict, but either side may appeal the verdict if there is legal cause to do so. Otherwise, if you are found not guilty, you will be free to go. If you are found guilty, the judge will sentence you during the sentencing period. Depending on the case, there may be an opportunity for victims to deliver impact statements that the judge will take under advisement when considering your sentence.
Don’t Face This Alone
When you are facing a trial on criminal charges, it is easy to feel like the world has turned against you. You may lose your job, your personal relationships, and even your entire future. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
Our lawyers are committed to dealing with every detail of our clients’ ordeal with them. There is no need for you to face it alone, so contact The Torres Attorneys in Corpus Christi, Texas today.