3 Ways Your Criminal Case Can End
The reason behind this blog post, like so many others, is to demystify the criminal defense process in Texas. I think that many of my clients come into my office with some false ideas about how their cases will end. As I’ve said before, I like to let my clients know what to expect right off the bat. I don’t like surprises and I’m sure that you don’t either. This is especially true when it affects the rest of your life. Knowing what your options are in a criminal case, and from your lawyer, can help you make the best possible decisions in your case. Basically, there are one of 3 ways your criminal case can end in Texas. There are your only three options for a criminal case to end in Texas. No more, and no less. These are:
- Plea Bargain With The State
- Dismissal/Dropped Charges
- Jury Trial / Trial By Judge
Plea Bargain With The State
The most common way that criminal cases end is by plea bargain with the State. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say that plea deals account for 95% or more of criminal cases in Texas. This is because the government may have a strong case against you, it is the best outcome for your situation, and/or you know what to expect when you accept the deal. I say that you know what to expect when you take the deal because a jury trial or trial by judge can be unpredictable. Ultimately, it is your decision to make and not mine.
Dismissals/No Bills By The Grand Jury
Another possible path for your case to go down is a Dismissal. A dismissal can come from a prosecutor directly or it may come in the form of a No Bill from a Grand Jury. A dismissal can come for a variety a reasons. Maybe the case against you is weak. Maybe the reason for your arrest is so bad that it won’t stand up in Court. Maybe the complaining witness wants to drop the charges against you. So much depends on the facts of your case, the prosecutor handling your case, and the Judge that you’ll be in front of. This conversation should be had with your lawyer in the beginning of your case and as it progresses. If no dismissal is offered, and you don’t like the plea bargain offered, your last option is trial.
Jury Trial or Trial by Judge
Any time that you have a trial, whether it’s by a jury or a Judge, there is a certain amount of unpredictability. We won’t know exactly what the witnesses will testify to. We don’t know if the jury or Judge will be lenient, depending on your type of case. Also, you may choose whether or not you want to testify in your own defense. These are big decisions for you to make. More often than not, if you testify, it won’t help your case.