When a person is accused of a felony offense, there may be the possibility of his defense attorney winning his felony case at the Grand Jury level. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, this may or may not be a viable option, so it is important to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney. By utilizing this strategy, the accused in effect has two opportunities to win his case before a jury:
- Grand Jury and, if indicted,
- Jury Trial
If the Grand Jury votes that probable cause (i.e. a probability) does not exist to believe that the accused committed the offense, the case is no billed (dismissed). If the Grand Jury votes that probable cause does exist, then the case is true billed (indicted). If a case is no billed, the accused has the immediate legal right to seek an expunction of his criminal record. If a case is indicted, then the accused may have to have a Jury Trial in order to get the best result. A Jury Trial is more expensive and involves much more time and legal work.
Because prosecutors generally seek to present felony cases to the Grand Jury between the first and second court setting, it is extremely important to hire a defense attorney right away. Unless a defense attorney requests that the prosecutor hold the case from the Grand Jury in order to prepare a defense packet, the prosecutor will seek an indictment from the Grand Jury soon after the felony charge is filed.
Once an accused is indicted, this option is no longer available. Therefore, time is of the essence in retaining a knowledgeable defense attorney.
This strategy is underutilized by other attorneys. Some lawyers do not understand the process or how to draft a persuasive defense packet. James Sullivan knows lawyers who have practiced criminal law for over 25 years but have never fought a felony at the grand jury level. Other attorneys do not do so because they know that they can charge much more money to go to trial. Court-appointed lawyers are paid by each court appearance they make, so the longer the case lasts the more money they make. Therefore, very few are willing to do this even though it means their client may have to stay in jail for a year or more for a trial. James Sullivan cares about his clients and wants to get them the best result in as short amount of time as possible while charging a reasonable fee, so he seriously considers this option on most of his felony cases.
Range of punishment for felonies include: 1° Felony (5 yrs to Life in prison), 2° Felony (2-20 yrs in prison), 3° Felony (2-10 yrs in prison) and SJF (6 months to 2 yrs in state jail).
Our Houston criminal lawyers defend clients charged with crimes in district courts and county criminal courts, including domestic violence (assault of a family member), drug possession or drug delivery, violent crimes, and juvenile delinquency.