What to Expect at Trial
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were over one million crimes committed in the state in 2021 alone. This is a shockingly high number, and although only a fraction of those who’ve been charged will actually sit before a jury, it’s nonetheless essential to understand the basics of the criminal trial process should you find yourself in this situation. With over 30 years in the legal profession, Attorney Phillip Linder has had extensive courtroom experience and has tried over 200 cases before a jury. If you’re facing criminal charges and are concerned that you may have to go to trial, contact The Linder Firm, serving those in Dallas, Texas, and throughout Dallas Metro and North Texas.
Understanding the Criminal Trial Process
Anytime you’re charged with a crime, the most important thing you can do is hire a criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can help you understand the entire criminal trial process and ensure you know your options and what to expect. Although each case will be a bit different, you can expect a similar general process.
After you’ve been arrested and detained, your arraignment will be scheduled, and this is where a judge may choose to set bail for you or decide you must wait in jail for your trial. Also, it's here that you’ll be officially informed of the charges against you. During this pre-trial process, you’ll work with your attorney to gather and organize the evidence and begin formulating your defense. There will likely be an opportunity to reach a plea deal with the prosecution, but if there is no agreement, your case will go to trial.
Steps to Take Before Your Trial
As stated above, the most important of your pre-trial steps is to hire an attorney. When at all possible, this should be a private practice lawyer instead of a public defender. Before your trial takes place, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your attorney and helping them understand the context of your arrest and charges.
It’s imperative that you are 100% honest with your lawyer at this time. Remember, it's their job to protect your rights and represent your interests in court, and they can’t do this unless they have the full story. They are not there to judge your actions but to defend you and uphold state and federal law. At this time, you should also limit contact with others, especially concerning the facts of your case.
Your attorney will also take part in the discovery process, where all available evidence is shared between the prosecution and defense. This could include a list of witnesses the prosecution intends to call forward, physical evidence, or official statements that have been made about your case. They will then evaluate this evidence along with police reports and your input to gather a defense.
What to Expect at Your Trial
Your attorney should keep you apprised of every step in the trial process, including any statements you’ll need to make before the judge. They will also help you prepare to give testimony if you both decide it's in your best interest to take the stand.
During the actual trial, both the prosecution and defense will be given an opportunity to present their opening statements, call up witnesses, ask questions, and cross-examine witnesses from the other side, then present closing statements. Criminal trials can last as short as one day or may take several days or weeks to complete depending on the complexity of the case.
Importantly, once the trial is over, your attorney may explain what they think a likely outcome will be, but they should never promise you anything.
Steps to Take Following Your Trial
There are also post-trial steps you should be aware of, although the specifics of this are impossible to predict. The judge will likely adjourn the courtroom and set a time for the sentencing hearing, which may be the same day or scheduled in the days and weeks ahead. Your attorney should help you prepare for this stage as well since at this point the verdict is out of their hands and now up to the judge or jury. They may decide you’re not guilty, they may acquit you, or they may determine you are guilty.
Depending on the verdict, you and your attorney may choose to begin an appeal process, but this can only be done under certain circumstances where you believe there’s been a mistrial or if you feel there were errors made in the trial process.
Experienced Legal Counsel: The Linder Firm
If you’re in the Dallas, Texas, region and are concerned about an upcoming criminal trial you’re facing, you need to reach out to an attorney immediately.
At The Linder Firm, you’ll gain a trusted partner during this challenging process and someone who will fight tirelessly on your behalf. Call today to schedule a consultation and get started on your defense.