If you are a defendant and you are charged with a felony you should almost never plead guilty before your case is indicted. In Texas every felony case is passed in front of a grand jury who decides whether or not to indict the case. If you have a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney they will probably talk to you about the indictment and explain the process to you. Most of the time cases seem “hopeless” and it is a foregone conclusion that the case will be indicted, but every once in a while a case who everyone (including defense attorneys and prosecutors) think will be indicted gets no billed (or dismissed).
Many times defendants take plea bargains quickly and just sign a “waiver of indictment”. The judge usually goes over this document and asks again whether or not the defendant wants to plead guilty before the grand jury looks at the case. Again, if you are pleading guilty, then it is very likely that the grand jury will indict, but you never know!
Today is a perfect example. I had a client who was charged with a felony and the case was not very good for the defense. The prosecutors were offering prison time or many years of probation. Even though it looked like trial was going to be the only option to “win” the case, and that was my recommendation, my client decided he did not want to go to trial and wanted to take probation. I advised him not to do that because the case had not been indicted, and I wanted to talk to the DA one last time. I received a surprise today when I found out that my client’s case had been no billed by the grand jury.
While I am shocked that the case was no billed, I am sure any Houston Criminal Defense Attorneywould be as thrilled as I am. It makes you wonder how many people have pled guilty quickly when a grand jury would possibly no bill a case. So if you are a defendant you should definitely talk to your Criminal Lawyer in Houston about the grand jury process.