Defending people accused of crimes was the primary reason for the formation of Minton, Burton, Bassett & Collins, P.C. That emphasis continues today as shown by the fact that four of our lawyers are designated as Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists. As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we recognize that most clients accused of a crime are afraid of going to court, of going to jail, and of going through the entire criminal process. For nearly 50 years, we have helped ease those fears and gotten the best resolutions for our clients.
Call us today at (512) 476-4873 or contact us through this online form for help with your case.
Located in Austin, Texas, the lawyers of Minton, Burton, Bassett, & Collins, P.C. represent clients throughout Travis County as well as Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, Comal, Burnet and Caldwell Counties. We understand that the Texas legal system can be quite complex. For example, the criminal courts of Travis County alone consist of 7 District Courts, 1 Magistrate Court, 6 County Courts at Law, and 1 Drug Court. The nature of the offense determines which court hears the case.
A criminal case may begin with an arrest and a trip to the Travis County Jail or one of the other jails in the surrounding communities. Law enforcement officers must follow certain procedures to ensure that the arrest is legal. Being arrested is a serious matter that necessitates legal assistance. Every person has Constitutional rights that must be safeguarded, including the right to counsel during questioning. Remember that if you are questioned, politely tell the authorities that you would like your lawyer present.
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After being arrested and booked, law enforcement officials decide whether there is enough properly gathered evidence to send the case to the prosecutor’s office so that formal charges can be brought. If charges are pursued, then you appear before a judge for a hearing. During this court appearance, you are informed of the charges against you and read your Miranda rights. These familiar rights include the right to remain silent, that anything you say may be used against you in a court of law, the right to an attorney, and the fact that an attorney will be provided to you if you cannot afford one.
Bail may also be set at this time. The amount of bail is determined by a schedule and is based on the nature of the violation, with more bail money required for more serious offenses. Bail is meant to assure the court that you will appear to answer the charges at trial. If you do not appear, then your bail is forfeited.
If you are accused of a felony, a grand jury is appointed to examine the evidence and determine if there is reasonable cause for you to be charged with a crime. If so, an indictment is issued and you must be arraigned. An arraignment is the formal presentation of charges and the proceeding where you must enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Most often, a guilty plea is reached after the prosecutor and defense attorney have negotiated a plea agreement in which a lesser punishment is imposed. If a plea agreement is not reached, the proceedings move toward the trial stage and may involve several preliminary hearings.
Trials begin with the selection of jurors. After opening statements, the prosecution presents its case. After calling all of its witnesses, the prosecution rests and the defense presents its case. Once the defense rests, rebuttal witnesses may be called. There are numerous, complicated rules that the attorneys must follow as to what evidence can be admitted and how that evidence can be used. When the cases have been presented, closing arguments are made and the jury is read instructions on how to reach its verdict. The jury then goes to the jury room to deliberate and reach a verdict.
If the verdict is not guilty, the case is finished. If the verdict is guilty, the conclusion must be unanimous or a mistrial is declared. The prosecution must then decide if the case is worthy of a second trial. If the guilty verdict is unanimous, then you have the right to appeal. There is a sentencing hearing to determine the punishment, which varies depending on the offense. The punishment can include a fine, prison time, or probation.
The law firm of Minton, Burton, Bassett, & Collins, P.C. has extensive experience defending the rights of people arrested and accused of criminal offenses at every stage of the case. We are skilled negotiators who know how to plea bargain on our clients’ behalf. Of course, we are prepared to go to trial when necessary and put to work our four decades of courtroom experience in criminal defense matters. Additionally, our lawyers are highly experienced dealing with habitual violators and probation violations.
If you are under investigation for a crime or have had charges filed against you, a legal battle could forever change the course of your life. Contact us immediately by calling (512) 476-4873, emailing email@example.com, or filling out this form. Protect your rights by letting our experience and expertise work for you.