Defendants appearing on the First Appearance Docket should be prepared to pay at least some portion of their fine and court costs on that day. Court costs vary from $200 to $300 in most cases while the typical fine in a fine-only case is $500 or less. If you cannot pay the total amount of fine and court costs on the day of First Appearance Docket, you may be reset and have to sit through another court setting before your case can be resolved.
Announcement Docket – At the Announcement Docket setting, a criminal defense attorney representing defendants may communicate with the prosecutor handling the case and receive discovery information they are entitled to under the law. Cases are often resolved through plea bargain agreements at this point in the process.
Pretrial Docket – At Pretrial Docket the Court hears various pretrial motions filed on behalf of defendants which challenge the legality of the arrest or request additional information about the case.
Trial Before the Court – A defendant may waive his or her right to a trial by jury. The case can then be heard by the judge in a trial before the court. The prosecutor must also agree to waive trial by jury in order to have a trial before the court. The judge decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant as well as any punishment.
Jury Trial – A jury trial is the embodiment of the American criminal justice system. Six people are selected from a pool of citizens called a “venire.” Those six people sit as a jury in the criminal trial of the defendant. The jury hears the testimony and evidence. After the evidence has been presented, the jury “deliberates” or discusses the facts of the case amongst themselves and decides a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The jury may only return a verdict of guilty if they are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt.
Plea Setting – Most criminal cases in the United States are resolved without a trial through a process known as plea bargaining. Plea bargaining allows for fair and just resolution of criminal cases while effectively conserving the resources of the criminal justice system. The Williamson County Attorney’s Office never loses sight of the citizens that we have sworn to protect and we put their interests at the forefront when determining what plea bargain offers are made to criminal defendants.