TYLA Office

Tracy Brown, Director of Administration
Bree Trevino, Project Coordinator

Michelle Palacios, Office Manager
General Questions: tyla@texasbar.com

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 12487, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711-2487
(800) 204-2222 ext. 1529
FAX: (512) 427-4117

Street Address

1414 Colorado, 4th Floor
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 427-1529


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Top Story

CRIMINAL LAW 101: Simplifying the Criminal Process (State and Federal)
By:  Baylor Wortham

          No matter your area of practice, you know they are coming.  They are inevitable.  They are unavoidable.  They are criminal law questions.  Whether you are at the office or at a family reunion, you know it is merely a matter of time before someone comes to you with questions regarding a “friend” who was recently arrested for driving while intoxicated or perhaps a cousin who was busted with illegal drugs.  Questions such as: “How long will he have to stay in jail?”  “When does the court set bail?” “This is his first offense, will he get probation or will there be jail time involved?”  “If he pleads, will he get deported?” “How long will it take for the case to go to trial?”

          If you rarely dabble in criminal law, you probably wracked your brain trying to remember those bar-review sections on criminal law that you thought you would never need to use.  Perhaps you explained that Texas criminal procedure wasn’t your area of expertise or offered a referral to a colleague who was more familiar with the details of the criminal justice system. 

          If you routinely handle a criminal caseload, you have probably repeatedly labored to explain in “plain English” the criminal justice system to the family members of a client.  Likewise for prosecutors, you have probably shared in a similar frustration trying to offer a basic overview of the criminal process for a victim or a victim’s family.

          Regardless of whether a lawyer practices in the criminal realm, there is a clear need among Texas young lawyers for a resource that explains, simply and concisely, the criminal justice system from arrest to appeal.

          In response to this need, TYLA Member Services Committee is pleased to announce its most recent resource for young lawyers: “Criminal Law 101:  From Arrest to Appeal, An Overview of the Texas Criminal Justice Process” and “Criminal Law 101:  From Arrest to Appeal, An Overview of the Federal Criminal Justice Process.”  Criminal Law 101 consists of two companion pamphlets, each providing a basic layman’s overview to the state and federal criminal justice process in Texas.  Additionally, these pamphlets will provide helpful visual aids to help illustrate the overall criminal process from arrest to trial to appeal

          These publications are not intended to be a direct resource for young lawyers on criminal procedure.  Rather, these materials are intended to be disseminated by young lawyers to their clients, to the family members of a client, or to any inquisitive non-lawyer in general with questions regarding the criminal justice process.  The goal is to save lawyers time while also providing a quick and easy-to-understand resource to non-attorneys that describes the steps of the criminal process and explains what occurs during each step.  By covering both the state and federal justice processes in these pamphlets, young lawyers will be further prepared to minimize confusion on the behalf of their clients by distinguishing many of the subtle differences between the state and federal justice systems. 

          The TYLA Member Services Committee anticipates that these pamphlets will also be a helpful and convenient resource for court staffs, city and county jails, crime victim coordinators, and probation officers.  These free pamphlets are expected to be available in the near future in print as well as online at TYLA.org under the “Resources” tab for “Lawyers.”  For more details on this project as well as many others, please contact your local TYLA representative or go to TYLA.org.