This guide will explain what to expect if you are arrested for a Federal crime in the Western District of Texas. It explains why you should hire a lawyer and what to expect during your preliminary and detention hearing.
How Can I Tell If I Have Federal Or State Criminal Charges?
There are two easy ways to tell. First, if the San Antonio Police Department or Bexar County Sherriff’s Department is arresting you it is more than likely that you have been arrested for a State offense. But, if the FBI or DEA or Border Patrol is arresting you then it is likely that it will be a Federal case. The second way to make this determination is where they take you. If they take you to the GEO Wackenhut facility (Central Texas Detention Facility) then it is likely a Federal case. However, if they take you to the Bexar County Jail or San Antonio Magistrate’s then it is likely a State case.
Should I Hire A Lawyer?
Yes. A lawyer is like a doctor you cannot hire a lawyer too early but sometimes it can be too late. As soon as you find out you are under investigation you need to hire a lawyer. A lawyer can work with the government to get you a bond and sometimes can work with the government to allow you to turn yourself in, instead of getting arrested by surprise.
If I Have A State Case Can It Become A Federal Case?
It is ALWAYS important when hiring a criminal defense attorney to make sure that the attorney is licensed in both State and Federal court. This is especially true if you have been arrested for Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, or Possession or Manufacturing of Child Pornography. These cases can start off in the State court only to dismissed and transferred to Federal court. If this happens you want to keep the same attorney so you don’t have to pay two separate sets of legal fees.
What Happens After An Arrest For A Federal Crime?
If your case is a Federal case you will be taken to a Federal Magistrate. The Magistrate will explain your charges to you. If the crimes are serious the Government will move for detention so they can determine whether or not they will recommend a bond for you. It is important that you hire a lawyer as soon as possible as the lawyer can begin working on your behalf to get a bond set for you and conditions of bond established. If the Government moves for detention the Magistrate will continue your hearing for three days while Pre-Trial Services conducts an investigation. Once the investigation has been concluded you will have two hearings at the same time, a Preliminary Hearing and a Detention Hearing.
What Is A Preliminary Hearing?
The Preliminary Hearing is a hearing during which the Government puts on evidence to establish probable cause that you committed the crime of which they are accusing you. This is a lower standard than what the Government will have to prove at trial, and the Government is usually able to meet their burden. Still, the Preliminary Hearing presents attorneys with an opportunity to find out the nature of the Government’s case. Many times the case agent will testify and present evidence, and your attorney can ask questions to the case agent regarding the strength or potential weaknesses of your case. If your attorney can expose problems with the Government’s case those problems can be used as bargaining chips or as reasons the case should be dismissed later on.
What Is A Detention Hearing?
A detention hearing is the hearing where the Federal Magistrate determines whether or not the person accused of a Federal crime gets a bond. The main question being asked is whether there are sufficient conditions that can be set to protect the community and assure the accused’s presence in court. Having handled hundreds of these types of hearings we understand how to convince Federal judges of our client’s ties to the community so that be assured that they will commit no further crime and go to their court dates.
Getting arrested for a Federal offense is scary. However, you need to be aggressive with competent legal counsel. A good lawyer can expose problems with the Government’s case and help convince the judge why you should receive a bond. This will allow the freedom to fight your case from the outside while lawyer positions you to achieve your best possible result. We have handled thousands of Federal cases and we offer free consultations to those that have been arrested for Federal charges.
For more information on Getting Arrested For A Federal Crime In Texas, A Free Strategy Session is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (210) 361-3113 today.