Why is it so important to hire a good grand jury defense attorney after being charged with a felony? The grand jury holds a lot of the power in the beginning of your felony case. This twelve-person panel will review the case details for probable cause and decide if the case should carry over to a trial.
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An experienced grand jury defense attorney in Houston can intervene on your behalf and help shape the information given to the grand jury. If you have been charged with a felony, one goal of Lisa S. Strauss Law Firm is to attempt to have your charge dismissed before going to trial.
How A Felony Case Reaches the Grand Jury
After being charged with a felony in Texas, there is a three-step process for the case:
Step 1: The police will start by filing the charges based on a felony arrest. Officers may recommend additional charges based on the details of the arrest.
Step 2: The district attorney’s office reviews and accepts the charges. The DA’s office arraigns the defendant in the felony case and can decide to file additional charges based on the information provided by law enforcement.
Step 3: The grand jury meets and reviews the felony case. This group of 12 randomly selected individuals reviews the details of the case and decides if the defendant should be indicted and if the case should go to trial.
Role of the Grand Jury
The grand jury is a randomly selected 12-person panel that meets in private proceedings to review every felony case. Depending on the nature of the case, this can happen very quickly after the arrest. In some cases, there may be lab reports and other details of the case that may delay the grand jury hearings until they are filed with the DA’s Office.
A prosecutor will present the jurors with a “bill” — the felony charges — and introduce evidence in the case. This is the critical time period for securing representation from an experienced grand jury defense attorney in Houston. If you hire an attorney soon enough, they have the ability to watch the timetable of the case. The grand jury only receives information from the DA’s Office, and is using this information to decide whether or not there is enough “probable cause” to carry the case over to trial.
If it’s appropriate in your case, Grand jury attorney Lisa S. Strauss will attempt to reach the district attorney before the case has been indicted. Lisa S. Strauss will work with you to develop a packet of information for the grand jury. The Grand Jury Packet may help educate the jury on your side of the case and defenses that may apply to your case. Lisa S. Strauss will work diligently with you to show the grand jury that you should not be indicted with a felony charge.
True-Bill vs No-Bill
With the information from the district attorney and your grand jury defense attorney, the members of the jury must decide how to proceed. After meeting as often and as many times as they need, two options are possible:
- The first is a “True-Bill,” or deciding to indict the defendant on the felony charges.
- A “No-Bill” decision means that not enough evidence was present to continue with the case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense
What’s the Difference Between Arraignment and Trial?
During a criminal trial, a prosecutor will lay out charges and evidence against a defendant. The defense attorney will demonstrate why their client is innocent of the charges, or deserves a lesser sentence. After all of the arguments are made, either a judge or a jury will decide whether a conviction or acquittal is warranted, based on the evidence in the trial.
But there are many steps along the way to a criminal trial. An arraignment is a defendant’s first meeting in court, usually within 48 hours of your arrest. At this meeting, a judge will read the charges against you, make sure that you understand your rights, and give you a chance to enter an initial plea. You will not be convicted or acquitted at this time.
What Evidence Does a Prosecutor Have to Disclose to the Defense?
The process by which the prosecutors share evidence with the defense is called discovery. Texas law is very specific about what evidence needs to be shared. Offense reports, crime scene photographs, and statements from officers and witnesses all must be shared with the defense. But there are certain items and information that a defendant doesn’t necessarily have a right to, including prosecutor notes, and reports pertaining to the evidence.
What Should I Expect From My First Meeting With a Criminal Defense Attorney?
In order for your attorney to be an effective advocate for you, they need to know all about you and your case. That means that they will ask you a lot of questions, and may also have you fill out a questionnaire. They need to know all about your background, your education, your family, and your employment history, before they start to dig deep into the details around your case.
You’ll also need to bring ALL paperwork that pertains to your arrest and your case. Bail paperwork, arrest records, court dates and documents, and witness contact info are all very important.
In addition to all of this, you should come armed with questions of your own for your attorney. Questions about their experience with your type of case, how often they take trials to court, and their success rate will help you to make sure you are finding someone who will be a great fit for you and your case.
Get Help from a Houston Grand Jury Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a felony, the law office of Lisa S. Strauss will represent your case and fight for a “No-Bill” decision from the grand jury. Don’t place your future in the hands of 12 unknown members of a grand jury. Hiring Houston criminal attorney Lisa S. Strauss means having a chance to fight your felony charge and fight to save your reputation. Contact our office today for a free meeting with our team of grand jury attorneys.