What is the District Attorney's jurisdiction?
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office prosecutes felony and most misdemeanor crimes throughout Montgomery County. Montgomery County is directly north of Harris County where most of the City of Houston is incorporated. Conroe is the largest incorporated city in the county and is also the county seat. The Montgomery District Attorney’s Office is one of the largest in the State of Texas. We serve a population of approximately five hundred thousand people. The office is located at 207 West Phillips, Second Floor in Conroe, Texas.
If I get a subpoena do I have to go to court?
Yes, you must go to court. If you fail to do so, the judge may impose a fine or a jail sentence. Be sure to bring your subpoena with you to court, but please contact the prosecutor listed on the subpoena as many cases get reset for a multitude of reasons. Deliberately avoiding service of subpoena is a crime under Texas law.
Why am I a witness? I didn't see the crime happen.
There are many types of witnesses including eye witnesses. You may not have seen the crime occur but you may know something about it. You may also know something about a piece of evidence or you may know something that contradicts another witness's testimony. A prosecutor has a legal duty to disclose this information to the defense. If you wonder why you are testifying in a particular case, ask the prosecutor handling the case.
As a witness, do I have to talk in front of the defendant in court?
The US and Texas Constitutions guarantee a defendant’s right to face the witness in court. The defendant must be present in court to hear what all the witnesses say. The lawyer for the defendant is called the defense attorney and this lawyer probably will ask you questions after the prosecutor does. There is generally no mechanism in Texas law for written statements or depositions to be admitted in lieu of your appearance. Montgomery County prosecutors are the first to use Skype for testimony, but this is too new to use frequently and can only be done in very rare exceptions to the “presence” requirement.
Is the prosecutor my attorney or do I need to get my own attorney?
The district attorney represents the People of the State of Texas in criminal court. The district attorney generally does not have authority to prosecute civil cases on behalf of individual citizens.
If I miss work to testify, will the district attorney pay for my loss in wages?
Witnesses must go to court to testify about matters that they have knowledge of. It is a civic duty imposed upon all citizens in order to insure a just and fair judicial system. It is one of only a few ways that you can participate in your government.
Where is the court?
Criminal Courts are located in downtown Conroe at the court complexes. Please check with your court to see which court to appear at. There are three courthouses in downtown Conroe that all connect to each other. Please see website for directions or call our main number at 936-539-7800.
Who decides what charges to file, and how do they make that decision?
Police officers with more than 30 local police agencies make the arrest decision and account for almost all of the 20,000 annual arrests in Montgomery County. The overwhelming majority of those arrests are for minor violations of the law. An assistant district attorney reviews cases brought to the District Attorney's Office by local law enforcement agencies. The attorney reviews the reports in light of current law to decide the appropriate filing decisions.
What is plea bargaining? And do I as a victim have anything to say about it?
Plea bargaining is a reflection of what juries decide in jury trials and a reflection of the community’s thoughts. There are not enough prosecutors, judges, or courtrooms to try before a jury, all the thousands of cases filed each year in Montgomery County. In fact, about 12,000 serious crimes are filed each year in this county. For those defendants taken to trial, or for those who plead guilty before a trial, there are not enough jail cells in the state to hold them. These practical demands plus the defendant's right to a speedy trial, the seriousness of the cases, the strengths or weaknesses of cases, the victim's wishes, public safety, punishment, rehabilitation, and deterrence are all interests that are considered by the prosecutor when deciding how to proceed. A plea agreement is always designed to balance these competing interests. Most cases are resolved in a relatively short time by the defendant's plea - most times a plea to the charged offense. Victims have a say in the sentencing and the office works closely with all victims; however, the prosecutor has the ultimate say in plea offers.
I was the victim of a crime. Can you tell me the name of the defendant and the defendant's next court date?
The DA's Office can provide you with the name of the defendant and the next court date if we have filed charges against the defendant. To obtain this information, please contact the prosecutor working the case, the legal assistant, or the victim coordinator for the court. You may call the main number at 936.539.7800.
What is an arraignment?
The arraignment is a hearing in court in which the defendant is given a copy of the charge and informed of his/her constitutional rights and bonding conditions. The defendant does not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at this hearing. A plea is generally entered on the day of plea or trial. In most cases, nothing significant happens at these hearings.
What is a preliminary hearing?
The preliminary hearing is not a trial. It is a hearing in court at which witnesses testify and the judge decides a legal issue. A jury is not present and has no say in these matters.
Can you provide me with legal advice?
The District Attorney's Office is prevented by law from answering legal questions or offering legal advice.
How do I report a crime?
All crime reports should be directed to the law enforcement agency in the area where the crime occurred. The District Attorney's Office does not take crime reports. If you're trying to report an emergency situation, call 911 on your telephone to be connected to the emergency services you require.
However, there are some exceptions. Some crimes involving consumer fraud, environmental crimes, crimes against children or those involving misconduct of public officials may be reported to the District Attorney's specialized divisions. Review the roles of the Specialized Prosecutions Unit on the website then call us directly at 936-539-7800.
How do I get a copy of a police report?
Contact the police agency that created the report to obtain a copy. Most reports are not available for viewing until after the case is closed; however, some rudimentary information may available while the caser is pending. As a general rule, you may not review the prosecution file because the file will then lose some of its legal privacy protections.
Can I gain access to criminal records online?
There is no mechanism in place for public access to criminal records online with this office. Contact the Montgomery County Sheriff, the County Clerk, or the District Clerk for this information.
Where do I find a list of all District Attorney employees and their email addresses?
For security reasons, none is provided. If you would like to contact an employee, call 936.539.7800. If you know the employee’s first and last name, the email address is usually firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I have my criminal record expunged?
Because there are different procedures depending on what the crime was and how the sentencing was handled, you need to go to the court complex or the court that convicted you and request from the clerk's office - criminal window, the correct forms and procedures for expungement. It is also recommended that you seek the assistance of a lawyer.
Whom can I talk to about a consumer-related problem?
You should contact the police agency having jurisdiction where the crime occurred or where the property was transported.
How do I verify if a business is operating legitimately or if it has been the subject of complaints?
The office does not track this information. The Better Business Bureau provides information about businesses and consumer complaints.
I think I've been cheated by a contractor/ tradesman/ shopkeeper [or other person who provides labor or services. Can the DA's office help me?
The DA's Specialized Prosecutions Unit may be able to help or the staff may refer you to another agency that can assist you. As a general rule, it is a good idea to have a police report filed and to have mailed a certified return receipt requested letter to the contractor before contacting the office.
I am a merchant. Can the DA's Office help me collect on a bad check?
The County Attorney handles the intake of these cases. Please contact them. If they are unable to assist in collection and they believe a crime occurred, they will file a criminal case and this office will then handle the charge. The case will be assigned to a felony or misdemeanor court depending on the amount of the check and the criminal history of the accused.
Where do I go to make a complaint about a problem with a privately retained attorney?
The Texas Bar takes complaints against attorneys, investigates those complaints, and prosecutes/disciplines attorneys.
I am the victim in a domestic violence case and I want to drop charges. Can I do that?
Many people incorrectly believe that a victim has the power to "press charges" against the abuser, or to later "drop the charges." All criminal complaints are prosecuted on behalf of the State of Texas. ONLY the prosecutor can issue or dismiss charges. Although the decision whether to prosecute or not prosecute is ultimately up to the prosecutor, the victim's opinion is important and the prosecutor will take those wishes into account when making his or her decisions regarding the case. A variety of factors are taken into consideration when deciding whether to honor a complainant's request not to proceed with a prosecution. These include the nature and extent of the defendant's prior criminal history, the severity of the alleged crime, whether the defendant has other pending charges in the criminal justice system, and future danger to the community (including the current victim).
I was the victim of a violent crime. What services are available to me?
Our Victim Service Office offers a variety services to victims of crime. You can contact them at 936.539.7800.
I want to file a complaint about a police officer (or sheriff). Can the District Attorney help me?
You'll need to report the matter to the officer's employing agency. That agency is required by law to receive a complaint, investigate the matter, and respond back to the complaining party. In most cases, the agency will require a sworn statement to begin an investigation. If you feel that the agency is not doing a proper investigation, you may contact this office’s Public Integrity Unit or the Texas Rangers.
Can you help me clear up a warrant I have against me?
The District Attorney's Office is prohibited by law from providing legal assistance or advice to a defendant. You should contact a bonding company or a criminal defense lawyer to assist you. The office will not discuss the case with your lawyer until a bond has been posted.
What if I have a question that is not answered in you FAQ's?
Call 936.539.7800 to obtain answers or review the website.