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What are the general steps of a criminal case?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Criminal Law Blog

In the state of Texas, a criminal case typically follows these steps:


A person can be arrested by a law enforcement officer if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. The person will be taken into custody and transported to a jail.


Once the person is at the jail, they will be booked, which involves processing their personal information and taking their photograph and fingerprints.


The person may be eligible for bail, which is an amount of money that must be paid in order to secure their release from jail until their court date. The amount of bail is determined by a bail schedule, which takes into account the severity of the crime and the person’s criminal history.

Initial appearance:

The person will have an initial appearance before a judge, during which the judge will inform the person of the charges against them and their constitutional rights. The judge will also determine whether the person is eligible for bail and, if so, what the amount of bail will be.


The person will be arraigned, which is a formal reading of the charges against them in court. The person will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

Pretrial hearings:

There may be several pretrial hearings in which the judge and the attorneys discuss the details of the case and any potential plea bargains or other resolution options.


If the case goes to trial, the prosecution and the defense will present their cases to a jury, which will decide the person’s guilt or innocence.


If the person is found guilty, the judge will pronounce their sentence, which may include fines, probation, or imprisonment.


If the State has committed reversible error, violation of Brady/Morton, any violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights then an appeal to address these issues could be filed. This could result in a retrial or other forms of relief.

It’s important to note that this is a general overview of the steps in a criminal case and that the specific process may vary depending on the circumstances of the case.