Law Office of Jose P. Noriega Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer – Specializing in all areas of criminal defense including DWI, assault, theft, robbery and drug crimes
Are you or someone you know facing a criminal charge? If so, you need an experienced Austin criminal defense attorney to assist with your case. A conviction for a criminal charge, no matter how minor it may seem, often comes with serious consequences which can include expensive fines, restriction of certain privileges, or even significant time behind bars. It is important that you always know and understand the rights given to you under the law. Understanding these rights is one of the first steps to ensuring that you receive a fair and just resolution of your case.
Understanding the Criminal Justice System
While each case is different, there are certain basic steps that most people charged with a crime will face. Each of these steps plays a critical role in the criminal process and will be a major contributing factor in the ultimate outcome of your case.
- Arrest: A person’s journey through the criminal justice system usually begins at the time he or she is taken into police custody. At the time of arrest, law enforcement must have probable cause to believe that you committed the crime. Once you are arrested you will be photographed, fingerprinted, and held in police custody.
- First Appearance: During the first appearance, the suspect will appear before a judge. The judge will inform the suspect of the charges and set a bond amount if it is appropriate in the case. If no bond is set, the suspect will continue to be held in custody.
- Intake/Official Charges Filed: After a suspect has been taken into custody and informed of his or her charges, the State’s Attorney will determine what charges, if any, should be filed. If the State’s Attorney files official charges, the suspect will be notified and given a date to appear in court. Once official charges are filed, the suspect is now referred to as a defendant.
- Arraignment: Once official charges have been filed, the defendant will again appear before the judge and will be asked to enter a plea of either Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest. A plea is an important decision and should be made only after consultation with an experienced attorney.
- Investigation: Once official charges have been filed, both the defendant’s counsel and the State’s Attorney will begin building their case. Evidence will be gathered to either prove or disprove the charges brought against the defendant. The State has the burden of proving their case against the defendant. It is important to have an experienced attorney who knows and understands the law and can ensure that the state not only meets their burden of proof, but that your case is handled fairly throughout the entire trial.
- Plea Bargaining: In some instances, it is not necessary for a criminal case to go to trial. Depending on the individual circumstances of your case, it may be possible to bypass trial and enter into an agreement with the State Attorney. You should never settle for any plea presented by the State Attorney without first consulting with your attorney.
- Trial: If no settlement can be reached, the case will be forced to go to trial. At trial both sides will have the opportunity to present their case in court. Evidence will be heard from each side. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury will make a decision as to your guilt or innocence. In criminal cases, the State is required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If that burden is not met, then no conviction can be made.
- Sentencing: If the jury finds you guilty of the crime for which you have been charged, the judge will then set a sentencing date. At your sentencing, you will be informed of the type of punishment that you will face under the law for the crime you have committed.
Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Every day in this country people are wrongfully convicted of crimes or find themselves facing sentences that are disproportionate to the crime for which they have been convicted. For many people, facing the criminal justice system alone is an intimidating process. Through no fault of their own, most people do not know or understand the basic rights they have been given under the law. The laws involved can often be complicated and difficult to understand especially for first time offenders. The criminal justice system does not have compassion on a defendant simply because they do not know or understand their rights. He or she must still fight against highly experienced police officers and attorneys to ensure that their voices are fairly heard. If you are facing a criminal charge, you do not have to fight the system alone. An experienced Austin criminal defense attorney knows and understands the laws that are in place and will make sure that they are followed. You have the right to be treated fairly under the law during all stages of the criminal process. Let an experienced criminal defense attorney go to work for you today.
I Can Help
If you have been charged with a crime, you do not have to face the legal system alone. The Law Office of Jose P. Noriega has experience working on a wide range of criminal cases ranging from theft, assault, robbery, DWI, and drug crimes. If you are facing a criminal charge, allow our experienced Austin criminal defense attorney to help you navigate your way through the system, ensuring that your case is fairly considered and working hard to get you the best outcome possible.
If you are facing a criminal charge call the Law Office of Jose P. Noriega today at (512) 765-5291 to schedule an initial consultation.
Law Office of Jose P. Noriega
106 E. Sixth Street, Suite 900
Austin, TX 78701