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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Code of Criminal Procedure Blog

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Foley is Board Certified in Criminal Law. 310 Main St. Suite 201, Houston, Texas 77002.


Today we begin our blog which will comprehensively cover the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.


Chapter 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure starts by giving it a name. "Code of Criminal Procedure." The effective date of the code as currently adopted is January 1, 1966. The Code has many aspects to it that are irregular and portions have not been updated for many many years. Other provisions, such as Article 39.14 on Discovery, are the most modern.

Chapter 1 also includes a severability clause which allows it to continue if portions are overruled by the Supreme Court or the Court of Criminal Appeals as violating the United States or Texas Constitution.


My favorite portion of Chapter 1 is 1.03 the objects of the code. There is actually a provision which says that one of the objective's of the code is to "exclude the offender of all hope of escape." WOW! Isn't that extreme? To exclude the offender of all hope of escape probably means that the criminal justice system should be organized and bail or bonds shall be administered in such a way that people believe they will not be able to commit a crime without facing a trial and potential consequences. I don't think it was originally drafted to mean that everyone is screwed. Sometimes that is how it can feel when you've been charged with a crime.


At the beginning of the code and in the 1960s it would have been quite rare to require the amount of money and bond supervision conditions that are regularly placed on felony defendants. Now more than ever it can feel like there is no presumption of innocence and "no hope of escape."


Objects of the code include, "to exclude the offender of all hope of escape."

Lets take a look at the other objects of the code.


1. To adopt measures for preventing the commission of crime;


2. To exclude the offender from all hope of escape;


3. To insure a trial with as little delay as is consistent with the ends of justice;


4. To bring to the investigation of each offense on the trial all the evidence tending to produce conviction or acquittal;


5. To insure a fair and impartial trial; and


6. The certain execution of the sentence of the law when declared.


Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 1.03


Another part of the purposes of the code that has been all but forgotten in Harris County and Houston is that the trial continue with as little delay as is consistent with the ends of justice. When the code was adopted in 1966, Houston's population was approximately 1.4 million. Now it is 2.2 million. Harris County's population is now 4.72 million. In 1984 there were 22 felony district courts. Today there are 23. That statistic is unfathomable. If you've ever wondered what was wrong with the Criminal Justice System in Harris County, that's probably number one.





Art. 1.01. SHORT TITLE. This Act shall be known, and may be cited, as the "Code of Criminal Procedure". Acts 1965, 59th Leg., vol. 2, p. 317, ch. 722.


Art. 1.02. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Code shall take effect and be in force on and after January 1, 1966. The procedure herein prescribed shall govern all criminal proceedings instituted after the effective date of this Act and all proceedings pending upon the effective date hereof insofar as are applicable. Acts 1965, 59th Leg., vol. 2, p. 317, ch. 722. Art.


1.025. SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this code or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the code that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this code are severable. Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.01, eff. January 1, 2021.


Art. 1.03. OBJECTS OF THIS CODE. This Code is intended to embrace rules applicable to the prevention and prosecution of Statute text rendered on: 11/2/2022 - 1 - offenses against the laws of this State, and to make the rules of procedure in respect to the prevention and punishment of offenses intelligible to the officers who are to act under them, and to all persons whose rights are to be affected by them. It seeks: 1. To adopt measures for preventing the commission of crime; 2. To exclude the offender from all hope of escape; 3. To insure a trial with as little delay as is consistent with the ends of justice; 4. To bring to the investigation of each offense on the trial all the evidence tending to produce conviction or acquittal; 5. To insure a fair and impartial trial; and 6. The certain execution of the sentence of the law when declared. Acts 1965, 59th Leg., vol. 2, p. 317, ch. 722.


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