Criminal Law

Texas' criminal statutes identify a wide range of conduct considered illegal, such as theft or murder, made punishable by fines, imprisonment, and other sanctions. Criminal laws and sanctions in Texas are similar to those of other states, but the Lone Star State is unique in a number of ways, such as its tough penalties for drug offenses and frequent use of the death penalty. It covers a wide variety of Texas criminal laws, including statutes prohibiting child abuse, kidnapping, extortion, and illicit drugs.


The accused must be taken before a judge. The judge must inform the accused of the charges against her/him and whether there is an affidavit (sworn statement) supporting the charges. The judge must also advise the accused of its right to: 


• Retain counsel, or have counsel appointed if she cannot afford a lawyer (and the procedures requesting an appointment); 

• Remain silent, but if she decides to make a statement to the police or court, then the statement may be used against her; 

• Have an attorney present during any interview with peace officers or attorneys representing the State; 

• Terminate the interview at any time; 

• Conduct an examining trial (a hearing to establish reasons for the arrest or probable cause)

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