Have law enforcement officers come knocking at your door? You may be surprised-even shocked, to learn that you are under investigation for criminal activity.
Whether or not you know why law enforcement suspects you are participating in illegal activity, you might not understand the extent of the charges against you.
What can you expect if you're accused of a federal crime?
Law enforcement will begin with an investigation into the alleged criminal activity. You will subject to arrest and detainment if they suspect that you are involved in a crime.
It's normal to be nervous upon arrest or questioning; after all, your future is at stake. Likely, you are not well-versed in the legal process following investigation. Thus, it will be crucial you attain an outstanding defense attorney.
After the investigation and arrest, the federal criminal justice process will begin.
Step 1: The charges are formally filed against the defendant. There may be preliminary hearings, including a bail hearing, a grand jury convening, and the defendant will be subject to indictment. At this time, a plea deal happen.
Step 2: During the adjudication stage, the arraignment and trial will commence. The defendant will plead guilty or not guilty and be convicted or released.
Step 3: Sentencing is the final step in the process. The defendant faces probation or a prison sentence upon conviction.
There are many variables to consider, as each defendant faces varying circumstances. Most of the time, the prosecutor and defense agree on a plea deal, eliminating the second step.
Crime trends and what they mean for you
Luckily, Texas violent crime rates are declining. Crimes such as murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, larceny and arson decreased by almost 10% in 2019.
On the contrary, hate crimes have doubled in Texas from 2017 to 2018. Texas law enforcement reported 500 hate crime offenses in 2018.
Regardless of the charges against you, each defendant faces unique factors that impact the outcome of their case. It will be helpful for you to understand the evidence, charges and penalties you're facing.