Once a citizens has been arrested and the case filed with the District Attorney’s Office, there five ways the case can be disposed.
- No Bill. The quickest way to stop the prosecution of a criminal case is by persuading a grand jury to not indict the client. That is called a No Bill. All felony case must be indicted by a grand jury before they can proceed through the criminal justice system. Most DA’s Office will allow a criminal defense attorney to present a grand jury packet to the grand jury in order to try a convince them to return a No Bill.
- Dismissal. Once a case is Indicted, the case is assigned to a prosecutor. Depending on the facts a criminal attorney may be able to convince a prosecutor to dismiss the criminal case. There can be many reasons for a dismissal. If the prosecutor can be convinced to dismiss the case, the prosecution ends and the defendant will eventually be entitled to an expunction.
- Plea Bargain. The prosecutor and the defense attorney can negotiate a plea bargain in the case. This is the most common way a criminal case is disposed of. plea bargains can can have many different aspects. Each case is unique and each plea bargain will be address the specific crime and facts of the case.
- Open Plea. If the a plea bargain can not be agreed upon but the only issue is punishment the case can be disposed of by an open plea to the judge. When an open plea occurs, the defendant pleads guilty and the judge decides what the punishment will be.
- Trial. If the prosecution and defense can’t come to a plea agreement then the case may have to go to trial. In Texas, the defendant always has a right to have a jury trial. The defendant can also waive a jury trial and have a trial before the judge. The State must also waive its right to a jury trial.