Criminal Law Process


The criminal law process in San Antonio, Texas, involves several stages from arrest to trial. Understanding these stages and the role of criminal lawyers is crucial for navigating the legal system effectively.

Arrest and Booking

Upon arrest, individuals are taken to the Bexar County Jail for booking. During this process, their personal information is recorded, and they are fingerprinted and photographed. A magistrate judge then determines whether there is probable cause to hold the individual in jail.

Initial Appearance

Within 24 hours of arrest, the accused has an initial appearance before a magistrate judge. The judge informs the individual of their charges, advises them of their rights, and appoints a criminal lawyer if they cannot afford one.

Bond Hearing

At the bond hearing, the judge determines whether the accused will be released on bond while awaiting trial. Factors considered include the nature of the charges, the individual’s criminal history, and the risk of flight.

Pre-Trial Motions

Prior to trial, criminal lawyers may file pre-trial motions to suppress evidence, dismiss charges, or request a change of venue. These motions aim to protect the accused’s rights and ensure a fair trial.


If the case goes to trial, a jury is selected to hear the evidence and determine the accused’s guilt or innocence. Criminal lawyers present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and argue their case to the jury.


If the accused is found guilty, the judge imposes a sentence based on the severity of the crime and the individual’s criminal history. Criminal lawyers may advocate for leniency or alternative sentencing options.


After sentencing, the accused may appeal the verdict or sentence to a higher court. Criminal lawyers assist in preparing and arguing appeals to challenge the trial court’s decision.

Finding the Right Criminal Lawyer

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Finding the right criminal lawyer in San Antonio, Texas is crucial to protect your rights and ensure a favorable outcome in your case. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:

Consider the following factors:


  • Years of practice in criminal law, particularly in the specific area relevant to your case.
  • Experience handling cases similar to yours, demonstrating their expertise in your legal matter.


  • Read online reviews and testimonials from past clients to assess the lawyer’s effectiveness and client satisfaction.
  • Inquire about the lawyer’s standing within the legal community and their reputation among judges and prosecutors.

Communication Style

  • Find a lawyer who is responsive, easy to reach, and effectively communicates complex legal concepts in a way you can understand.
  • Assess their ability to build a strong rapport and establish a trusting relationship with you.

Local Resources and Legal Aid

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San Antonio, Texas, offers a range of local resources and legal aid organizations dedicated to assisting individuals facing criminal charges. These organizations provide essential support, guidance, and representation to ensure that individuals have access to fair and equitable legal proceedings.

Legal Aid of Northwest Texas

Legal Aid of Northwest Texas is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals and families in 114 counties across Texas, including San Antonio. They offer a wide range of services, including criminal defense, family law, housing, and consumer protection.

San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

The San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (SACDLA) is a professional organization of criminal defense attorneys in San Antonio. SACDLA members are experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of criminal law, and they are committed to providing high-quality legal representation to their clients.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals and families in 68 counties in South Texas, including San Antonio. TRLA offers a variety of services, including criminal defense, family law, housing, and immigration law.