Pretrial and Trial Litigation
San Antonio Pretrial and Trial
Preparing a criminal case for trial and actually litigating the case before a jury or judge. This includes exploring all aspects of the case, acquiring relevant discovery, filing and litigating pretrial motions pertinent to the case, and ultimately presenting the facts and cross-examining government witnesses before the trier of fact.
Pretrial and Trial Litigation for Felony or Misdemeanor Criminal Cases
When a person is arrested, the authorities will typically file a formal written accusation called a Complaint. If the charge is a misdemeanor, the prosecuting attorney will then formally charge the person with an offense by filing a document called an Information that should provide the accused with notice of the charges against them.
In felony cases, the prosecutor must first present the facts of the case to a grand jury which, if it finds that probable cause exists to believe that the crime occurred, will sign a True Bill of Indictment. The Defense cannot participate directly in the grand jury process – the proceedings are held in secret. In some cases, the Defense can write a the grand jury a letter or prepare a packet of information they believe the Grand Jury should, in fairness, consider before deciding whether or not to file an Indictment.
Once the prosecution has formally charged the case, your attorney must work to obtain all of the discovery – police reports, medical records, police or surveillance footage, witness statements – that the prosecution has regarding the case. In many cases, it is also necessary for your Defense attorney to use private investigators and consultants to track down leads the police may have missed, to locate witnesses to the events in question, or to learn highly technical or scientific information that could be helpful to your case. During this stage of the case, your attorney will also assess and argue certain Pretrial Motions.
In many cases, there are arguments that a particular piece of evidence or statement offered by the prosecution was obtained illegally, in violation of the defendant’s right to privacy or his right to remain silent. In other cases, the Indictment or Information may fail to give you adequate notice of what it is that you are accused of doing, may fail to allege the necessary elements of the crime, or may accuse you of a crime that violates your constitutional right to free speech, free expression, or equal protection under the law. In most cases, all of these issues must be called to the Court’s attention prior to trial, or the courts will refuse to consider them.
Despite its many flaws, the American jury trial system remains the most critical protection of our fundamental rights as human beings. At Hunter, Lane and Jampala, we understand that a jury trial is often the only way to protect your constitutional rights, hold the government and its witnesses accountable, and to ensure that the truth of your case will be fairly considered by a jury of your peers.
Effective trial representation requires meticulous preparation, a firm grasp of courtroom procedure and the rules of evidence, and the ability to advocate passionately and succinctly so that the court and the jury will be able to fully understand and consider the best arguments for your case. It also requires a strong understanding of the appellate process.
Our Firm examines every criminal accusation with the assumption that the matter will proceed to a jury trial. While every case is different, and many cases are resolved by dismissal, plea bargain agreement, or other forms of settlement, considering the case from the jury trial perspective gives the client a comprehensive view of the chances of success and typically affords the client with the most options for settlement.
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To learn more about your legal rights and receive professional advice regarding your case, call
(210) 966-8278 to schedule a consultation.