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  • Writer's pictureBrad Thornton

Wilson County Criminal Defense Attorney: What Happens When You're Arrested in Wilson County, Texas.

Updated: May 31, 2023

Being arrested can be an overwhelming and confusing experience, especially if you find yourself facing criminal charges in Wilson County, Texas. Understanding the legal process and knowing what to expect can significantly impact the outcome of your case.


In this blog post, we will delve into the various stages and procedures that unfold when you are arrested in Wilson County. From the initial encounter with law enforcement to the courtroom proceedings, we aim to provide you with valuable insights to help you navigate this challenging journey.


It's essential to recognize that the decisions you make and the actions you take during this critical time can have a lasting impact on your future. Having a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can make all the difference in ensuring your rights are protected and securing the best possible outcome for your case.


So, whether you are facing misdemeanor charges heard in county court or felony charges subject to district court jurisdiction, this guide will shed light on the process you will go through and the various entities involved. By familiarizing yourself with the procedures and understanding the roles of the key players, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions about your defense strategy.


Booking Process at the Wilson County Jail


When you are arrested for a crime in Wilson County, Texas, you will be taken to the Wilson County Jail for the booking process. Understanding what occurs during the booking process can help alleviate some uncertainties. Here's what you can expect.


Wilson County Jail

Upon arrival at the Wilson County Jail, law enforcement officers will collect your personal information. This typically includes your full name, address, date of birth, and other identifying details. This information is used to create an official record of your arrest.


As part of the booking process, you will be fingerprinted and photographed. This is done to establish an official record of your identity, which will be used for identification purposes throughout the criminal justice system.


During booking, your personal belongings, such as wallets, jewelry, and other items on your person at the time of arrest, will be collected and documented. These items will be securely stored until your release or until they are returned to you through appropriate procedures.


To ensure the safety and well-being of both inmates and jail staff, a health screening and assessment will be conducted. This process may involve questions about your medical history, any current medications you are taking, and any urgent medical needs or conditions that require attention while in custody. This also includes a mental health screening and questionnaire on suicidal thoughts.


Following the initial steps of booking, inmates are often classified based on factors such as the seriousness of their charges, criminal history, and any potential risks they may pose to themselves or others. Based on this classification, inmates may be segregated or housed separately from others to maintain order and ensure safety within the jail facility.


In the next section, we will explore the magistration process at the Wilson County Jail and the role of the Justices of the Peace and Municipal Judges. This process sets the stage for further legal proceedings and may impact your bail and release conditions. Additionally, we will delve into the different types of bonds available and their implications for your case.


Magistration Process at the Wilson County Jail


Following the booking process at the Wilson County Jail, the next step is the magistration process. This process ensures that you are informed of the charges against you, your rights, and provides an opportunity to address bail if applicable. During magistration, you will appear before a magistrate who may be either a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a Municipal Judge, depending on the agency that made the arrest.


Magistrates, whether JPs or Municipal Judges, have important responsibilities during the magistration process. They are judicial officers who oversee the initial hearings and play a vital role in ensuring fairness and due process. Here's what you can expect during the magistration process:


The magistrate will inform you of the specific charges brought against you. They will explain the nature of the offenses, potential penalties, and any other relevant details related to your case. This is designed to provide you with an understanding of the allegations you are facing.


One of the key responsibilities of the magistrate is to determine whether bail should be set and, if so, the appropriate amount. Bail is a financial guarantee that ensures your appearance in court for future proceedings. The magistrate will consider factors such as the seriousness of the charges, your ties to the community, and any potential risks when deciding on bail. The can also set conditions for bail, which can include GPD ankle monitors, ignition interlock devices in the case of DWIs, or conditions to not contact any of the alleged victims or witnesses.


If you cannot afford an attorney, the magistrate may appoint counsel to represent you. This ensures that your rights are protected and that you have proper legal representation throughout the legal process.


In some cases, the magistration process may also involve the consideration of emergency protective orders. These orders are designed to provide immediate protection for victims of certain crimes, such as family violence, stalking, or crimes against children. If the magistrate determines that an emergency protective order is necessary for the safety of the victim, they may issue the order as part of the magistration process. The order typically imposes restrictions on the alleged offender, such as maintaining a certain distance from the victim or prohibiting contact.


In the next section, we will explore the bail bond process in more detail, including the differences between surety, cash, and personal recognizance (PR) bonds. Understanding the bail bond options available to you is crucial when seeking release from custody while awaiting trial.


The Bail Bond Process


Bail allows individuals to secure their release from custody while awaiting trial. In this section, we will explore the bail bond process in Wilson County, including the different types of bonds available and their requirements, costs, and potential implications.


A bail bond is a financial arrangement that allows a defendant to be released from jail pending their court appearances. It serves as a guarantee that the defendant will appear for all required court proceedings. In Wilson County, three common types of bail bonds are available: surety bonds, cash bonds, and personal recognizance (PR) bonds.


Surety Bonds:

Surety bonds are the most commonly used type of bail bonds in Wilson County. They involve the assistance of a bail bondsman or bail bond agency. To obtain a surety bond, you or a family member would typically pay a percentage of the total bail amount (usually around 10%) to the bail bondsman. The bondsman then posts the full bail amount, assuming financial responsibility for your appearance in court. If you fail to appear, the bondsman may be required to pay the full bail amount.


Cash Bonds:

Cash bonds require the full amount of bail to be paid in cash directly to the court. Once the case is resolved, and all court appearances have been made, the cash bond is refunded in full, regardless of the outcome of the trial. Cash bonds eliminate the need for a bail bondsman but may require a significant upfront payment.


Personal Recognizance (PR) Bonds:

Personal recognizance bonds, also known as "PR" bonds, allow defendants to be released without paying bail or involving a bail bondsman. Instead, the court releases the defendant based on their promise to appear in court for all required proceedings. PR bonds are rarely granted, but when they are, they are typically granted to individuals with strong community ties, minimal flight risk, and a low likelihood of reoffending.


The requirements and costs associated with each type of bond can vary. Surety bonds typically involve a non-refundable fee paid to the bail bondsman, whereas cash bonds require the full bail amount to be paid upfront. PR bonds do not involve any payment but may require additional conditions, such as regular check-ins with a probation officer.


If you fail to appear in court as required, regardless of the type of bond, you may face severe consequences, including the forfeiture of bail, additional charges, and a warrant for your arrest.


In the next section, we will delve into the court process, beginning with arraignment through trial, and highlight the distinction between county court jurisdiction for misdemeanors and district court for felonies. Understanding the court process is crucial to navigate the legal proceedings effectively.


Court Process from Arraignment Through Trial


After you have been arrested, booked, and are set for release, you will be told which court your case will be assigned to, any court dates if they have already been set, and how to follow up to find your court date if none has been set.


In Wilson County, misdemeanors generally fall under the jurisdiction of the County Court, while felonies come under the jurisdiction of the District Court. County courts handle less serious offenses, such as minor theft, simple assault, and certain drug possession charges. District courts, on the other hand, handle more serious crimes, including violent offenses, drug trafficking, and major theft offenses.


Once you go to court, the process goes like this:


Arraignment: The court process begins with the arraignment, where you enter a plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest) to the charges. The judge will inform you of your rights, explain the charges, and set future court dates.

Pre-trial Phase: Following arraignment, there may be a series of pre-trial hearings. These hearings allow the defense and prosecution to exchange evidence, discuss potential plea negotiations, file motions, and address any legal issues before proceeding to trial.


Plea Negotiations: During the pre-trial phase, the defense and prosecution may engage in plea negotiations to reach a resolution without going to trial. This involves discussions about potential plea bargains, which can result in reduced charges or sentencing in exchange for a guilty plea.


Motions: Both the defense and prosecution may file motions during the pre-trial phase. Motions can address various matters, such as suppressing evidence, challenging the legality of the arrest, or seeking clarification on legal issues related to the case.


Trial: If a plea agreement is not reached, the case proceeds to trial. At trial, the prosecution presents its case, including evidence and witness testimonies. The defense has the opportunity to present its own evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and present arguments to challenge the prosecution's case.


Verdict and Sentencing: Following the trial, the jury or judge will deliver a verdict of guilty or not guilty. If convicted, the court will proceed to sentencing, considering factors such as the severity of the offense, prior criminal history, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.


Having a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial at every stage of the court process. They will guide you through each step, protect your rights, assess the strength of the prosecution's case, and develop a strong defense strategy. A knowledgeable attorney can negotiate on your behalf during plea negotiations, file motions to suppress evidence if necessary, present a compelling defense during trial, and advocate for the most favorable outcome.


Wilson County Criminal Defense Attorney


When it comes to securing the best possible legal representation for your criminal case in Wilson County, Brad Thornton of Thornton Criminal Defense stands out as the top choice. With his extensive experience as a former chief prosecutor at the 81st District Attorney's office, which holds jurisdiction over felonies in Wilson County, and his board certification in criminal law, Brad Thornton brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. By choosing Brad Thornton as your criminal defense attorney, you can be confident in receiving exceptional legal advocacy and a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances.


Brad Thornton's background as a former chief prosecutor at the 81st District Attorney's office gives him a unique advantage in understanding the inner workings of the prosecution. He is intimately familiar with how cases are built, evidence is examined, and strategies are formulated. This insider perspective allows him to anticipate the prosecution's tactics and effectively challenge their case, ensuring the best possible outcome for his clients.


Brad Thornton's board certification in criminal law further exemplifies his exceptional skills and commitment to the field. This prestigious certification is a testament to his high level of proficiency and expertise in criminal law. It demonstrates his comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of the legal system, up-to-date knowledge of the latest legal developments, and ability to navigate complex legal challenges. By choosing a board-certified criminal defense attorney like Brad Thornton, you can have confidence in receiving top-tier legal representation.


Furthermore, Brad Thornton offers free consultations to prospective clients. This invaluable opportunity allows individuals to discuss their case, gain insights into their legal options, and assess Brad Thornton's expertise and personalized approach to client representation. This initial consultation not only helps in building a strong attorney-client relationship but also allows clients to make an informed decision about their legal representation without any financial obligations.


To secure the best legal representation for your criminal case, contact Brad Thornton of Thornton Criminal Defense at 210-439-5627. With his extensive experience, board certification, and commitment to his clients, Brad Thornton is dedicated to protecting your rights, navigating the complexities of the legal system, and achieving the best possible outcome for your case in Wilson County.

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CRIMINAL LAW BLOG

FORMER CHIEF PROSECUTOR

PERSONALIZED ATTENTION TO YOUR CASE

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OVER A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN CRIMINAL LAW

WHY HIRE THORNTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE?

Attorney Brad Thornton is a highly experienced and Board-Certified criminal defense lawyer. With his background as a former Chief Prosecutor, he has a unique understanding of the criminal justice system and is able to provide comprehensive and effective representation to his clients. He is also deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals receive fair treatment in court, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Brad Thornton is dedicated to helping his clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case, whether it is in San Antonio or elsewhere in South Texas. He recognizes the stress and anxiety that can come with being accused of a crime, and approaches his clients with compassion while keeping them informed at every step of the process. His knowledge and experience make him a strong advocate for his clients.

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© 2023 by Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC. 

Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

San Antonio Office:

111 Soledad, Suite 401

San Antonio, Texas 78205

Tel: 210-439-5627

Atascosa Office:

216 N Bryant St

Pleasanton, Texas 78064

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