With a county’s district attorney acting as the highest-ranking prosecutor in their given jurisdiction, it is no surprise that the district attorney’s office has a large impact on local life. However, despite knowing the importance of a district attorney, many residents are unaware of how the Hays county criminal district attorney’s office functions and its role in the criminal justice system. For those interested in learning more about their district attorney’s office, here’s some background on what the Hays county criminal district attorney’s office does, and some useful resources that they provide to the community and justice-involved individuals.
The district attorney and district attorney’s office are responsible for representing the state government in prosecuting local criminal cases. This is achieved by the district attorney’s office’s different divisions which are responsible for specific services. These divisions include the Civil Division, the Hot Check Division, and the Victim Services Division.
The civil division of the Hays county criminal district attorney’s office represents the state in all felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile offenses that occur in Hays county. The division handles local appeals, expunctions, and non-disclosures and represents the county in a matter of issues including asset and bond forfeitures and civil suits involving the Department of Family and Protective Services. The civil division is also in charge of any requests for the county’s criminal public records and has resources to aid individuals reporting child or elder abuse or looking for legal aid. Given the variety of resources that the civil division provides to individuals impacted by the justice system, and the involvement that the division has in many of the county’s criminal cases, this general understanding of its duties could be beneficial for residents of Hays county.
Hot Check Division:
The hot check division of the Hays county criminal district attorney’s office is responsible for taking claims of bad and fraudulent checks from merchants and citizens. The hot check division’s priority is to identify and punish writers of bad checks and provide restitution for those who are a victim of check fraud. Any check that is returned by the bank and listed as “insufficient funds” or “account closed” is considered a bad check and can be used as evidence for criminal charges to be pursued. Hays county merchants should be aware of the hot check division in case they ever need important information on attaining restitution and criminal justice for a fraudulent check.
Victim Services Division:
The Hays county criminal district attorney’s office also has an incredibly caring victim services division which is dedicated to providing personal services to ensure that victims and their families are fully informed of the workings of the criminal justice system and feel safe throughout the justice-seeking process. The victim services division provides a myriad of resources to those impacted by a crime, including explanations of the criminal justice system, accompaniment inside the courtroom, social services referrals, aid with restitution orders, assistance with victim impact statements, and more. If you or a loved one have been impacted by a crime in San Marcos, it is important to know that you can seek help from the Hays county criminal district attorney’s office victims support division.
Despite Hays county’s massive growing residency and status as the current fastest-growing county in Texas, it is still considered one of the Lone Star state’s safest counties. This is largely due to the historic work that district attorneys and their offices have done in the county. The Hays county criminal district attorney’s office and district attorney, Kelly Higgins, have been placing a large emphasis on approaches that reduce the local prison population while ensuring the safety and well-being of the community. This is being achieved through a fiscal policy that diverts funds away from prosecuting low-level, non-violent crimes like simple marijuana possession and uses these funds to establish restorative justice programs and mental health courts which are proven to be effective means for rehabilitation and preventing recidivism. With all of the wonderful resources and programs that the Hays county district attorney and his office provide, locals should rest assured knowing that the county will continue to keep them safe.