After learning the basics of the post-indictment phase of a criminal case, you may have additional questions about what certain things mean, or how choices are made. Below are some common questions that our office receives about this stage of the proceeding.
Question 1: What are the differences between agreements for deferred adjudication community supervision, community supervision, and confinement?
Answer 1: The main difference between agreements for deferred adjudication community supervision and agreements for community supervision or confinement is that there is no final conviction upon the successful completion of deferred adjudication community supervision. Placement on “regular” community supervision or an agreed amount of confinement involves a judgment of conviction that will be on your record.
Question 2: I am not contesting my guilt, but I do not like the offer that has been made, is there anything I can do?
Answer 2: Yes. In this type of situation, you can plead guilty to the offense and then testimony can be heard by the court or a jury, and they will assess punishment. There is no guarantee that the judge or jury’s assessment will be better than what was originally offered, but in certain situations, this may be the most beneficial option to pursue.
Question 3: I am innocent of the charges, what do I do?
Answer 3: When you are innocent and the prosecutor refuses to dismiss the charges against you, the only other option is trial.
Question 4: What happens when I go to trial?
Answer 4: If you decide that you want a jury trial, a jury will be selected and then evidence will be presented first by the prosecutor. At the conclusion of the prosecutor’s evidence, your attorney may present evidence on your own behalf. Sometimes there is a need for the defense attorney to call witnesses to testify and sometimes the prosecutor’s evidence is so weak, no defense testimony is necessary. Whether defensive evidence will be presented is a determination you will make with your defense attorney. Each case is different and these determinations are made on an individual basis.
After both sides have presented their evidence (sometimes the prosecutor will call witnesses to rebut defense evidence), closing arguments will be made and then the jury is released for deliberations. In most cases, a jury will reach a verdict. Sometimes, however, the jurors cannot agree, which is known as a “hung jury.” If your case results in a hung jury, that means you will get to try the case before a new jury in the future. However, if the jury reaches a “guilty” verdict, the judge will enter a judgement of conviction for the offense charged.