Fort Bend County Trial Lawyer
A individual’s freedom is on the line at a criminal trial. Their reputation in the community may have already suffered simply because of the accusations made and charges filed by the state. What accused need at this threshold time in their lives is a Fort Bend Country trial lawyer who is experienced, tough, compassionate and who understands what it takes to win in a court of law.
The Law Office of Annie Scott has been fighting for accused for over 12 years. From our Sugar Land office, we serve clients across Fort Bend County and Harris County. Call today at (281) 466-4118 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
How the Trial Process Works in Texas
The following steps are what an individual can expect in a typical Texas trial. The attorney can play a vital role in each stage in the legal process.
A person arrested must be brought before a judge within 48 hours. The individual is informed of the charges and any affidavit (a statement given under oath) by the accuser or any witnesses. The judge will advise the individual of their right to counsel, but it’s strongly recommended that the individual reach out to a lawyer immediately upon arrest.
The 48-hour window between arrest and the initial appearance can be crucial. Police will interrogate the individual. It is not true that innocent people have nothing to fear from interrogation. Statements can be used against them in a court of law in ways the individual might not anticipate. Defendants are wise to exercise their constitutional rights to both a lawyer and to stay silent until they have spoken with their attorney.
Another phase of the initial appearance will be the setting of bail. The bail amount set will be determined by several factors and a Fort Bend County trial lawyer may be able to influence the judge to set terms that an individual can manage. A reasonable bail figure will go a long way in deciding an individual ’s quality of life while the legal process unfolds.
The prosecutor will make the decision to formally file charges, at which point an arraignment hearing be held. The individual will hear the charges filed against them and their defense lawyer will formally enter their plea–either guilty or not guilty. At this point, pre-trial legal maneuverings can begin in earnest.
Assault Dismissed 2021
Controlled Substance Possession Dismissed 2021
Drug Possession Dismissed 2021
Evading Arrest Dismissed 2021
Other Misdemeanor Dismissed 2021
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Every case will have its own unique dynamic, but what typically takes place between the arraignment and the beginning of a criminal trial in Texas is the following…
- Discovery–Information is exchanged between the prosecution and the defense. A Fort Bend County trial attorney has the right to see the evidence the prosecution will introduce at trial. Discovery is not something that happens automatically in Texas. Attorneys must formally file a request to see what the prosecution has.
- Plea Negotiations–Plea bargaining is the process where an individual may agree to plead guilty in exchange for the prosecutor agreeing to lower charges. It’s important to rely on defense counsel in this process. Through discovery, the defense attorney can have a good sense of how strong the prosecution’s case is and advise their client appropriately. Good advice on plea deals can literally mean years in an individual ’s life.
- Motions–As part of the discovery process, the defense lawyer might find that some of the prosecution’s evidence was illegally obtained. A prime example is evidence obtained without a search warrant. Search warrants obtained without probable cause are illegal. Forced confessions might be challenged. The lawyer can file a motion to suppress illegal evidence, meaning a jury will never see it. This can drastically impact the entire dynamic of the trial and any plea negotiations.
- Jury Selection–Perhaps no activity before the trial will be as important as jury selection. Both sides are looking for jurors who will be sympathetic to the line of argument they plan to advance at trial. Experienced lawyers understand what they are looking for in a potential juror. A Fort Bend County trial lawyer has one distinct advantage over the prosecutor–we only need one sympathetic juror to prevent conviction. Although we are naturally going for twelve sympathetic jurors to secure complete acquittal.
From before the trial to during the trial to after the trial, the Law Office of Annie Scott is with you and fighting every step of the way. Call our Sugar Land office today at (281) 466-4118 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
Everything to this point has been about creating the most favorable landscape possible for the individual. Now it’s time to make the case for the jury. An experienced trial lawyer needs to start with a strong opening statement–to remind the jury that the outrage they rightly feel at the crime is not to be directed at the individual–who is to be presumed innocent.
The District Attorney’s office will then make their case, bringing up their witnesses. The defense lawyer that’s well-prepared and nimble on their feet has a better chance of effectively cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses and creating reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. With that accomplished, the defense lawyer can then summon their own witnesses and seek to “close the deal”, so to speak, in the minds of the jury. In that regard, each lawyer will get the chance to make a closing statement before jury deliberations.
Then it’s in the hands of the jury. When they come back with the verdict, we naturally hope for acquittal, which ends the process. But even when a guilty verdict is rendered, there is still more work to–the quality of which can impact how quickly an individual can get on with rebuilding their life.
One option is to appeal the verdict. It’s important to note that an appeal is not a new trial. The witnesses don’t appear again, and an appellate judge is not even allowed to have their own opinion on how the case should have turned out. But appeals courts are designed to address any errors in the application of the law. Was evidence admitted that was in fact illegally obtained? Was there inappropriate bias in jury selection? Was the verdict simply impossible to reach based on the evidence? These are factors an appellate judge can consider and, if necessary, call for a new trial.
Judges have discretion in the sentence that is imposed for a conviction. For example, if the charge was for a Class B felony, the jail sentence can range from 5 years to 15 years. Where the final sentence falls can be the difference between an individual that can successfully rebuild their life and one that will face a much more difficult road .
Good defense lawyers keep working the case through sentencing. Witnesses that will testify to the individual’s character can be brought forward. It’s quite probable that the prosecution will bring forth the victim and their friends and family to testify. That makes it even more important that the judge see the humanity in the individual when it's time for sentencing.
The trial process can be painstaking, and it requires diligence and attention to detail on the part of the lawyer. Your Fort Bend County trial attorney must combine a deep knowledge of the law and the criminal justice system with an unbreakable will and fighting spirit.
That’s what we offer at the Law Office of Annie Scott. Our founding partner, Attorney Annie Scott, spent her early years as a lawyer working in the District Attorney’s office. Attorney Scott and her associates understand the strategies prosecutors use and the burdens they face. Since becoming a defense lawyer in 2010, Attorney Scott has leveraged all of that experience to make sure accused are treated fairly and that they have someone who will fight for their freedom and the reputation.
Call the Sugar Land office today at (281) 466-4118 or contact us online to set up a consultation.