The criminal process, from start to finish, involves a number of steps that are not visible to the public and are often handled by prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers behind the scenes. This is just one of the reasons that, if you are facing criminal charges in San Marcos, it is recommended that you hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Before you make the decision concerning whom you should hire, you may want to know what happens in the daily life of a San Marcos criminal defense lawyer so you will have an idea of what to expect. Knowing what your lawyer can do for your case is vital when selecting someone to represent your interests. Understanding a criminal defense lawyer’s “day” can help to begin building this understanding.
Preparing For Court
Criminal defense lawyers often spend a large part of their day in court. But before they go to court, they must prepare on the day or days leading up to any given court date. Preparation will usually involve going over evidence, interviewing witnesses and clients, and corresponding with the prosecutor handling the case in question. Before that can happen, documents and evidence may need to be requested from the police or the prosecutor’s office.
A well-prepared lawyer will ensure that they have all of the relevant evidence and have thoroughly assessed the entire case so they are ready to go to trial if necessary.
Going To The Courthouse
A typical day for a San Marcos attorney will begin at one of the city’s courthouses. Whether it’s municipal court or Hays County District Court, a San Marcos attorney will likely start their day by checking in with court staff and locating clients and witnesses. In many instances, police officers will be called as witnesses in a criminal case, so making sure they are present or on call is another responsibility a San Marcos attorney may have when they arrive in court.
Depending on the charge in question, plea agreements may be discussed in the courthouse immediately before the case is set to be heard. A plea agreement, also known as a plea arrangement, is an agreement between a prosecutor and a defense attorney concerning how the criminal case will be resolved.
A defense attorney can only agree to a plea agreement if their client gives them the ok. A plea agreement usually requires that the defendant admit that they are guilty of a criminal offense in exchange for a specific sentence that will be recommended by the prosecutor. Still, it is important to understand that the judge handling the case has the final say on whether the agreement will be accepted and the recommended sentence imposed.
Going To Trial
If there is no plea agreement and the case is ready for trial, the case will be heard by a judge or jury and a decision will be made. If the case is a jury trial, the process of jury selection will need to unfold before the trial begins. Jury selection is a process wherein both the defense attorney and the prosecutor conduct interviews and decide which jurors are going to hear the case and render a verdict.
While it is impossible to tell how a juror will vote, both attorneys will try to select jurors whom they believe will decide the case in their favor.
In some cases, before the trial can begin, a criminal defense attorney may ask the judge to make a decision concerning what evidence will be allowed to be presented during the trial. These requests are known as motions. A motion is a request from either a prosecutor or a defendant for the court to take a specific action. The most common pre-trial motions are motions to exclude certain evidence from the trial. For example, a criminal defense attorney may file a motion to prevent DNA evidence from being used against their client during trial.
Both the prosecutor and defense attorney will have an opportunity to argue whether a motion should be granted or denied. If the motion to exclude evidence is granted, a prosecutor cannot use that evidence during trial. In many cases, if a motion to exclude important evidence is granted, a prosecutor may withdraw the charges entirely, which will result in the case against a defendant being dismissed.
On a typical day in court, a San Marcos attorney may begin or conclude a criminal trial. Depending on the severity of the charge and the complexity of the case in question, a trial could last a few hours or a few weeks. For less serious offenses, a trial may take roughly an hour and can involve calling a few witnesses and presenting some evidence. After all evidence is presented, the judge or jury will make a decision. In some cases, the judge will allow the prosecutor and the defense attorney to make arguments regarding sentencing if the defendant is found guilty.
A sentence can be handed down immediately after the verdict, or a separate court date may be given during which the sentence will be declared.
A San Marcos attorney’s day isn’t done once they leave the courthouse. After court, they will usually go to their office, check their messages, return phone calls, consult with new clients, and prepare for the next day in court.
San Marcos lawyers with a full caseload typically have administrative staff who will help them with various tasks connected to their law practice. What this means is that many attorneys focus their time on the most important aspects of handling a case and leave the running of the office to their support staff.
San Marcos Criminal Defense Lawyers
The lawyers at Cofer & Connelly have handled thousands of criminal cases in San Marcos and surrounding areas and have over 60 years of combined experience representing criminal defendants. While every case is different, Cofer & Connelly uses its experience to inform its approach and help to ensure that its clients receive the best outcome in their cases.
Cofer & Connelly handles a variety of criminal matters and will aggressively and consistently fight to protect your rights. The firm also handles personal injury cases, so if you are in need of a San Marcos civil defense attorney to represent your interests in a personal injury action filed by a victim connected to your criminal case, you can also reach out to Cofer & Connelly today by calling (512) 991-0576 or by contacting them online.