Being accused of assault in Texas is a serious crime that can come with many severe consequences. When you’re arrested on assault charges, it’s essential to know what to expect and how the legal process will play out. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for what’s to come.
What to know prior to appearing before a judge
If you’ve been arrested, you’ll likely need to appear before a judge or magistrate within 48 hours of your arrest. They will inform you of your rights, including your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent. Ideally, you should obtain a lawyer before this meeting so that they can speak on your behalf and explain the proceedings to you.
During this time it’s essential not to make any statements or say anything that would later be used against you or incriminate you further. At this meeting, your court date will be set by the judge.
What to expect at arraignment
Your arraignment is the first time you’ll appear in court after the official charges have been filed. At this point, you should have determined with your attorney whether or not you will plead guilty, or if your attorney will negotiate a plea agreement on your behalf. If you and your attorney are unable to negotiate a plea, then the case will continue to trial.
Preparing for the trial
The way your trial is organized will vary based on the level of your assault charge. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, you will be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Instances of misdemeanor assault include offensive physical contact, assault on a sporting participant, or causing bodily injury to someone. Some examples of felony assault charges include assault on a family member, assault while intoxicated and aggravated assault with a weapon.
Misdemeanor cases usually include a jury of 6 people, while felony cases have twelve jurors. It’s the prosecution’s job to try and prove to the jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the jury finds you guilty and you are convicted of assault, your sentencing depends on the specific charges and the severity of the assault. If found guilty of a misdemeanor assault, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If you’re convicted of a felony assault, the punishment can range from five to ten years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Navigating your charges, trial, and possible defense requires help from an experienced lawyer who is familiar with Houston laws and has handled similar cases. It’s important not to rely on the internet or other unreliable advice to know what to do during this time. Using an attorney will give you a better chance of having the charges dropped or reduced.
If you’ve been arrested on assault charges, contact experienced Houston criminal defense attorney Christopher T. Gore to learn more about how he can help represent you in court.