No matter the crime, being arrested is a stressful experience. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been arrested for a traffic violation, theft, assault or any other crime; the arrest process is a scary situation in which to find yourself. Today, we will explore the Texas criminal justice process so you have an understanding of what to expect between the time the handcuffs are placed on you to the booking to arraignment and everything in between.
Being Placed Under Arrest
When you are placed under arrest by any law enforcement officer in Texas, you should be read your rights. This is governed by the 1966 Supreme Court decision Miranda vs. Arizona. The decision from the court was that people placed under arrest must be informed of their rights prior to any questioning taking place, particularly questioning that may result in an incriminating response from the subject. These are now known as Miranda rights.
The next step in the criminal process in Texas is known as “booking.” Booking takes place at the police station, which means you must be transported there first. Transportation to the station will either be handled by the arresting officer or another officer who responded to the scene. During booking, you will be asked to provide your name, address, date of birth and will be fingerprinted and photographed. Depending on the crime you are accused of committing, you might be asked to take part in a lineup.
Waiting for Charges
You have a right to a speedy trial, which means that you must be charged by the prosecutor assigned to your case within 72 hours of your arrest. The prosecutor is not held to the original charge filed against you by the officer. He or she can change the charge against you or add more charges depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.
Arraignment is the next step in the arrest process in Texas. You will appear in court physically or via a video monitor. It all depends on if you are being held for an unrelated crime. Arraignment is when you will have the charges filed against you read to you. The arraignment is your opportunity to enter a plea. You can enter a guilty, not guilty or no-contest plea at arraignment. A no-contest plea can only be entered if you are doing so voluntarily and with an understanding of the plea.
It is possible to secure your release from jail prior to a trial by posting bail. If you are eligible for bail, you make a payment to the court that is a guarantee that you will return to court for your next hearing. After the case is over, you are refunded the bail. If you fail to appear, the bail money is kept by the court and a warrant is issued for your arrest.
Arrested in Houston? Call a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested in Houston it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney when provided the opportunity to make a phone call. Call the office of Flood-Lewis & Associates at 713-224-5529 to schedule a consultation today.