|Gonzales Regional Children's Advocacy Center
Gonzales and Lavaca
|1604 St. Paul St., Gonzales, Tx 78629 Phone 830-672-1278
|A 501 (C) (3) Tax exempt organization
To restore the dignity, hope
and security to children of
Gonzales, Lavaca and
surrounding counties by uniting
public officials and our
1. Using evidence discovered through the investigation and the input received from the team, the County Attorney’s
office determines if there is enough evidence to take the case before a grand jury.
2. The grand jury consists of 12 anonymous citizens. They decide if there is enough evidence (probable cause) to
take the case to trial (a true bill) or not (a no bill). They make this decision by listening to the evidence gathered
during the investigation and then voting on how the case should proceed. This voting is done in secret and it is
against the law for anyone to reveal what the grand jury has done or why they did or did not “true bill” a case.
3. If enough evidence is found, it can take up to a year for a case to be placed on a court docket for trial. The case
can be settled by agreement without a trial. This is commonly known as plea bargaining. Most cases are settled
this way. A plea bargain is reached with the County Attorney, the victim, the defendant, the defense attorney and
the judge agree on a charge and a sentence. The offender may have to pay fines, do jail time and/or be placed on
probation with required counseling. In a plea bargain, a conviction will appear on his record and he could have to
register as a sex offender (this depends on the charge).
You can make the process easier for your child by working with, and not against, the authorities. Working through
the legal system is also a way to keep other children safe, because many offenders abuse more kids than those
they have actually been caught molesting. In addition, most offenders do better in treatment with the force of the
legal system behind them. It is a powerful way to hold the offender accountable for what he has done.
The legal process is complex and can be confusing at times. The Family Advocate will be available to answer your
questions, explain the types of victim assistance and services for which you may be eligible, and generally help you
through this difficult period. Also, the County Attorney’s office has a Witness Coordinator that can help guide you
through the court process.
Even if the case does not go to trial, it is important to remember that your child and family may need some help in
dealing with the after effects of your experience
|The Criminal Court Process