Under Texas law, you may be brought to trial only after a sworn complaint has been filed against you. You may be tried only for what is alleged in the complaint. You have the following rights in court:
- The right to inspect the complaint before trial, and have it read to you at the trial.
- The right to have your case heard before a jury, if you so desire.
- The right to hear all testimony introduced against you.
- The right to call witnesses to testify in your behalf.
- The right to cross-examine witnesses who testify against you.
- The right to testify in your own behalf.
- The right to not testify.
The State presents its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. After the State is finished you have the right to cross-examine the witnesses. Your cross-examination must be in the form of questions only. You may not tell your version of the incident until closing arguments are heard or if you testify. You have a right to call witnesses who have knowledge of the incident. The State has the right to cross-examine any witness you call.
You may or may not testify in your own behalf, it is your choice. Your decision to not testify cannot be used against you. If you testify the State has the right to cross-examine you.
In conclusion, both sides make closing arguments. This is your opportunity to tell the court/jury why you think you are not guilty. The closing argument can only be based on evidence presented during the trial. You may not add new information during a closing argument.
In determining the defendant’s guilt or innocence, the judge or jury can only consider evidence admitted and testimony presented during the trial.