Ok, I’ve Been Arrested, Now What Happens Next?! By Bo Kalabus

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As a criminal defense lawyer, I meet people generally after one of the worst experiences of their lives–getting arrested for a crime. They are not happy to be in my office and I completely understand it. In most cases, the clients I meet with are accused of crimes we commonly see in Collin County on the misdemeanor level–DWI, Theft, Family Violence, and Possession of Drug cases. However, I also meet with people accused of more serious felony and complicated crimes as well.

By the time a person accused of a crime meets with me, in most cases they have already been arrested. After an arrest and spending a night (or longer) in jail, a person is usually experiencing a wide range of emotions-fear, anxiety, anger, worry, etc.–the list goes on. Usually the first area I cover with a person is the process their case will take as it works its way though the criminal justice system. Although I cannot completely eliminate fear of the “unknown” for a person, I can prepare that person for the road that lies ahead.

For example, after an arrest people are usually stressed out about when their first court date will be (among other things). In most cases it will take the State of Texas 30 to 60 days to file the case–the time period could be longer in drug cases. The period could also take longer for a felony case since the case will have to be presented to a grand jury first. The first court appearance is usually set about 30 days after the case is filed. At the first court appearance, no decisions regarding the case have to be made. This is usually when the defense lawyer meets with the prosecutor and for the first time gets a look at the offense report to review the specifics of the offense.

After two or three appearances in court, a decision will have to made as to whether the person wants to take a plea deal, or to set the case for trial. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly and should come after much thought, analysis, and discussion with the lawyer to ensure that all questions have been answered. It is imperative that a person knows all the risks and/or benefits from the decision they are about to make.

Having a pending criminal case hanging over a one’s head is an embarrassing, uncomfortable, and frustrating experience. One of the keys that can help a person navigate the criminal justice system is selecting a lawyer that the person is comfortable with. Like any other relationship, a lawyer/client relationship is built on trust and a person has to be able to trust that their lawyer is giving them competent advice and helping them down the right path.


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