The criminal process can be intimidating and confusing, and the justice system does not automatically uphold a defendant’s rights. Many defendants have no idea what they can and cannot do to move their case forward and present legal defenses. One example is that a defendant generally cannot utilize case “resets” without the help of a defense lawyer.
Navigating the system with a criminal defense attorney is always critical – and more so when you face felony charges. Felony offenses are more serious than misdemeanors, and they come with the possibility of extended imprisonment.
An experienced Austin defense lawyer can navigate the process for you, protecting your rights and building the strongest possible defense strategy for your felony case.
Felony cases are complicated matters that often involve thorough investigations and significant evidence. Defending against such serious charges requires time and resources, and sometimes, your attorney might need more time than the court schedule allows.
Fortunately, Texas criminal procedures give a defense lawyer the ability to reschedule – or “reset” – a felony case a few times before they must go to court. This gives them time to prepare and build a strong case to present to the court or prosecutor in negotiations. A reset is also referred to as a continuance.
Resets occur before a criminal case is tried in court or settled by a guilty plea. Resets are particularly common if a trial is anticipated.
The number of times a case can be reset depends on the circumstances. For example, if a defendant has a court-appointed public defender, they can automatically reset the case three times. However, a criminal defense attorney who you hire on your own can automatically reset a case four times. This is one of many advantages of retaining your own private defense attorney. Prosecuting attorneys also have the right to reset a case, and they often do so to gather more evidence against the defendant.
These resets can happen directly with the court administrator. After the automatic resets run out, a defense lawyer must speak with a judge and obtain their permission. Criminal judges usually require a genuine reason for resetting a case beyond the automatic allowances. Some reasons might include:
Resets are usually for six weeks. If the defendant chooses to plead to the charges, the plea date will be within two weeks.
It is important to note that anyone facing criminal charges who is on a reset period can face consequences if they run into further trouble with the law. If you are on bond and are arrested, you can have your bond revoked or declared insufficient. Defendants must abide by all conditions of their bond while a case is in a reset period.
The criminal process can be highly stressful, so why would you ever want to prolong it further by resetting the matter in court? In reality, there are several potential benefits to a felony case rest.
A felony case continues to be investigated and examined after your arrest and official charges are issued. The prosecutor will keep gathering evidence to strengthen the case, increasing their chances of proving your charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Similarly, your defense attorney needs to conduct investigations and gather evidence to build your defense and challenge the prosecutor’s case. As the prosecutor gains additional proof, your lawyer needs time to review their evidence and look for different defense strategies.
During a reset, your lawyer can:
What you don’t want to do is rush your defense or the necessary investigations.
A criminal defense investigation is a crucial process undertaken by defense attorneys to gather evidence, scrutinize details, and build a solid case for clients who are facing criminal charges. This investigative phase plays a pivotal role in ensuring a fair trial and upholding the principles of justice. Here’s a comprehensive overview of what a criminal defense investigation entails:
The information gathered during the investigation not only informs the trial strategy but can also be used in pre-trial negotiations with the prosecution to potentially reduce charges or seek a plea agreement.
In essence, a criminal defense investigation is a time-consuming and comprehensive process that aims to uncover the truth, challenge the prosecution’s case, and ensure that the defendant’s rights are upheld. By rigorously examining evidence, interviewing witnesses, and collaborating with experts, defense attorneys can construct a compelling case that presents a fair and accurate representation of the events in question.
Often, one or more resets are required to complete this process in a felony case.
Texas classifies felonies into five different categories, ranging from the least severe (state jail felonies) to the most serious (capital felonies). Here are common felony charges you may encounter in Texas:
These are the least severe felonies, often involving non-violent crimes or property offenses. Common state jail felony charges include theft of property valued between $2,500 and $30,000, certain drug possession offenses, credit card abuse, and possession of a controlled substance in a small amount.
Third-degree felonies are more serious and can result in substantial prison sentences. Common charges include third-time DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), certain drug trafficking offenses, theft of property valued between $30,000 and $150,000, and some assault offenses.
These charges are even more severe and can lead to significant prison time. Common second-degree felony charges include aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, sexual assault, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and manslaughter.
First-degree felonies are among the most serious offenses, often carrying lengthy prison terms. Common charges include aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, arson resulting in death, and certain drug trafficking offenses involving large quantities.
These are the most severe felony charges, and the penalties can include life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty. Common capital felony charges include murder with certain aggravating factors, such as killing a police officer or multiple victims.
The specific penalties associated with each felony charge can vary widely based on factors such as prior criminal history, the severity of the offense, and whether any aggravating circumstances are present. Additionally, Texas law allows for enhancements in some cases, which can lead to more severe penalties.
If you or someone you know is facing felony charges in Texas, it’s critical to seek legal representation from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Our skilled attorney at the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC can assess the details of your case and build a strong defense strategy to achieve the best possible outcome, whether that involves negotiating a plea deal, pursuing alternative sentencing options, or taking the case to trial.
Contact us immediately after an arrest to protect your future.