Overview of Criminal Justice System

Overview of the Austin, Travis County Criminal Court

Arrest

Officers either arrest you at the scene or thereafter with an arrest warrant. Depending on the crime charged and other factors, officers may cite a notice to appear in court or bring you to jail to await the magistrate. Per Texas Crim. Pro. Art. 14.06, no later than 48 hours after the person is arrested, they must be brought before the magistrate. The magistrate, during the Examining Trial (Art. 16.01), will set bail. More...

Arraignment

It's at this appearance where you say not guilty (or, under certain circumstances, guilty). This is where you are formally advised of your charges. If you do not have the money to hire an attorney, the court may appoint one to represent you. If you ar charged with a Misdemeanor, most likely you will be arraigned in a County Court; conversely, District courts have original jurisdiction in all felony criminal cases. More...

Pre-trials and settings

Court dates at which you and your attorney are present. You may receive offers or, in the event of motions or trial, a date may be set. Likewise, pre-trials often involved discovery (exchanges or disclosures of relevant information and evidence). More...

Motions

Sometimes argued in the trial court before trial commences, motions challenge the legality of evidence that may be introduced at trial. More...

Trial

A jury of your peers in the community (unless waived), the trial is where witnesses and evidence are produced to the trier of fact (jury), who will determine guilt or the lack thereof. More...

Sentencing or Acquittal

After trial, and also after a plea of guilty, this is where the punishment is given. Alternatively, if the trial resulted in a not guilty verdict on every count, the defendant is acquitted or freed of the charges. More...

Appeal

If one or more counts (charges) have been found guilty, a defendant may be entitled to an appeal based on a legal or procedural error. More...

Expungement:

Certain crimes may be wiped clean from an individual's record once a satisfactory length of time has passed with no new legal violations or problems. If an expungement is granted, the individual's record is wiped clean for most purposes, although the expunged crime may still be accessed in certain situations. More...


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