What Happens if You are Not Indicted Within 180 Days in Texas?

If you have been accused of a serious crime, the court usually has 180 days to indict you.

Indictments are complex matters in Texas. When a person has been accused of a serious crime, the court may indict them. The indictment process is complex and because everyone has the right to a speedy trial, indictments must generally occur within 180 days. If this time has passed, the case cannot proceed to trial in most cases, but there are exceptions to this. Below, our Austin criminal defense lawyer explains more.

What is an Indictment in Texas?

An indictment in Texas means that you have been formally charged with a felony offense. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you will receive a Complaint or Information. Once you have been indicted, you will soon learn of the charges that have been laid against you.

To secure an indictment, the prosecution must present a grand jury with evidence. Grand juries can speak to witnesses and ask for more evidence. After the grand jury has heard from the prosecution and has reviewed the evidence, the grand jury will vote. Nine out of the twelve grand jurors must vote to indict, which means they believe there is enough probable cause of your guilt to proceed to trial.

How Long Does an Indictment Take?

There is no way to determine exactly how long an indictment will take in Texas. Grand juries often have several years after an arrest, depending on the statute of limitations for the criminal offense. The majority of federal offenses have a statute of limitations of five years, which means you cannot be charged after this time period has expired. However, offenses at the state level have a statute of limitations that range between three and ten years. If you were arrested for a crime and were released on bond, the prosecution has up to 180 days to indict you.

What Happens After 180 Days has Passed?

Generally speaking, if 180 days have passed since the arrest and you have not been indicted, the prosecution cannot proceed with their case. This is due to the fact that everyone has the right to a speedy trial. It is important to work with an attorney who can make a motion to dismiss to the court. An attorney can also tell you how to proceed and the steps you should and should not take.

For example, if you were ordered to wear a monitor, you should not take it off until the court has dismissed your case. There are some exceptions to the 180-day law and taking action without approval from the court can have serious consequences.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Austin Can Provide Legal Advice

At Granger and Mueller, PC, our Austin criminal defense lawyers can advise you of the legal procedures to follow if you have been charged with a crime and prepare a strong defense to give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us now at (512) 474-9999 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.