What Does It Mean To Be Indicted?

In Texas, indictment means that you’ve been charged with a felony case or just certain types of misdemeanors like official oppression, but most often you’ve been charged with a felony.

What has happened is your case has been presented to a grand jury which is a group of citizens from that particular county and they convene and listen to the evidence surrounding cases to decide if the government can proceed with the charges. The grand jury is not deciding if the person is guilty or not guilty; they’re only deciding if there is probable cause for the statement or the government to proceed with the case.

What is Bail and How Does it Work?

In Harris County, bail is set on a schedule, meaning that the judges in the misdemeanor courts and the judges in the felony courts have gotten together and have met and decided that for certain particular felonies, certain particular misdemeanors, the bail is going to be a certain amount.

For example, if someone is charged with the state jail felony, which is the lowest felony, and they have never been in trouble before, then their bail is going to be set at $2,000 and it just goes on up from there. Let’s say that a particular bail is set and generally what the person charged with the offense needs to do is contact a bonding company, and you need to make sure that you contact a very reputable bonding company. You contact the bonding company and then the bonding company’s fee along with the processing fee is usually 10 percent of the bond amount.

If the bond amount is $5,000, then the bonding company is going to charge you $500 and probably a little processing fee to write the bond. The fee that the bonding company charges you, that’s their fee for writing the bond and then they are guaranteeing the rest of the amount of the bond. If the bond is $5,000, you pay the bonding company $500 and then they are back in the other $4,500 on the bond.

You will not get that 10 percent back, that is the bonding company’s fee. You can put up the whole $5,000 but you would not get that money back until the end of the case because a lot of people do not have access to those types of funds, it’s best to save that amount of money to hire you a good attorney and go through a bonding company to help you make bail and get out of jail.

What Happens After Someone Posts Bail and Gets Out of Jail?

Once you get out of jail, go meet with your attorney. They’ll sit down and tell you what’s going to happen next. Generally, that is your first court appearance. You’re going to appear in there, your attorney is going to meet with the prosecutor and start getting the discovery in your case, meaning they’re going to start getting the copies of the police reports and copies of the evidence that the state and the government and the prosecuting authority says that they have evidence against you.

Then the case is going to be reset. Depending on the court and depending on the caseload in that court, it’s generally reset from anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks. During that time, your attorney is going to look at the evidence and start investigating the case. Depending on whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony or how serious the charges are, you can expect to go to court many times– 3 to 5 and sometimes even more before the case is set for trial, dismissed or some type of plea agreement is reached.

How Long Do Criminal Cases Take to Resolve?

It depends on the type of case. Generally, a misdemeanor would take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to resolve before the case is set for trial. Sometimes felonies, depending on how serious the felony is, can take a lot longer. I’ve had some cases go a year or so before they’re even resolved. That’s why it’s important to get attorney that you feel very comfortable with because you may have a long relationship with them as they fight to defend your case.

When Do Miranda Rights Come Into Play During a Confrontation with the Police?

This is often a misconception by clients. They will often say, “Well, my Miranda Rights were not read to me,” and my next question will be, “Well, did you make a statement?” and they’ll say “No.”  So, Miranda rights are only required when the police take you into custody, meaning you are arrested and detained and not free to leave and they start interrogating you and asking you questions.

For example, if a police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, comes up to your car and smells alcohol and says, “Have you been drinking?” and you say, “Yes, two or three beers,” they do not have to read you your Miranda warnings at that point in time because the Supreme Court of the United States has said that you’ve not been arrested even though you may feel that you are detained and not free to leave, that they’re not required at that point in time to read you your Miranda warnings. Miranda warnings are only required if you are in custody and the police officers are interrogating you.

For more information on Process of Indictment And Bail, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (713) 228-1400 today.

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Houston Criminal Lawyer James Alston represents clients in the Houston area, including Pasadena, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Channelview, Conroe, Galveston, Angleton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Beaumont, Galveston County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Harris County and Jefferson County in Texas.