The District Attorney (D.A.) is the chief law enforcement official and lead attorney for the County. Currently, in the Bexar County DA’s office, there are eight divisions within the District Attorney’s Office: the Appellate Division, the Civil Division, the Juvenile Division, the Criminal Trial Division, the Misdemeanor Trial Division, the Grand Jury and Intake Division, the Criminal Investigation Division, and the Special Crimes Division. It is the duty of the District Attorney to prosecute crimes that occur within the County as well as to represent the County in matters of civil litigation. In addition, the DA’s office serves as legal counsel to the Commissioners Court, which is the governing body for the County.
In addition to acting as general counsel to the county government, a major part of what the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office does is to act as the office that brings criminal charges to court against those accused of crimes. The office receives cases from over forty law enforcement agencies within the County. It is then the responsibility of the D.A. to work with law enforcement agencies in the prosecution of criminal cases. The D.A.’s Office determines whether to bring criminal charges and what those criminal charges should be. By statute, the DA’s office is charged with protecting the general public and seeking justice.
At a high level, the responsibilities of the divisions include:
- The Appellate Division is responsible for post-conviction appellate litigation or review of pre-trial evidentiary rulings, or any other matter brought before the Court of Appeals, or higher court.
- The Civil Division is responsible for the representation of Bexar County, its officials and employees in all county civil litigation and legal transactions.
- The Juvenile Section deals with the youngest members of society who can be charged with a criminal offense, ranging from Class B misdemeanors up to Capital Murder committed by juveniles between the age of ten (10) and under seventeen (17) years of age.
- The Criminal Trial Division is responsible for the prosecution of felony cases filed by law enforcement agencies in Bexar County. These cases can range in seriousness from State Jail Felonies involving illegal substances to Capital Murder in which the State seeks the death penalty.
- The Misdemeanor Division prosecutes misdemeanor criminal offenses that occur in Bexar County. Misdemeanor offenses cover a wide range of crimes ranging from shoplifting to vehicle burglaries, DWI’s cases and assaults.
- The Grand Jury and Intake Division of the District Attorney’s Office is responsible for investigating and reviewing felony and misdemeanor cases filed with the office.
- The Criminal Investigation Division assists with all criminal cases that are accepted by the office. The division is staffed by certified Texas Peace Officers with extensive law enforcement training. The division assists with investigations for misdemeanor and felony crimes, whose investigators work to support the assistant district attorneys in their mission of prosecuting crimes brought to court by the office. Their duties can include gathering additional records or assistance in locating witnesses among other things.
- The Special Crimes Division handles those sensitive cases often involving society’s most vulnerable: children, elderly, the disabled and victims of official oppression.
- The Child Abuse Unit seeks justice for children who have been abused and neglected.
- The Human Trafficking Task Force prosecutes those accused of exploiting adults who are made to engage in sex or labor by force, fraud or coercion, and children who are made to engage in sex by any means.
- The Domestic Violence Task Force is a group of prosecutors who specifically handle assaults involving violations of protective orders and family violence assaults.
- The DWI Task Force consists of prosecutors, investigators and an advocate dedicated to investigating and prosecuting alcohol and drug-related
- The Public Integrity Unit investigates and prosecutes crimes committed by public servants including elected officials, law enforcement officers and government employees.
- The Major Crimes Unit investigates and prosecutes major offenses or major offenders and assists law enforcement in significant and complex criminal investigations, including: serial murders, cold case murders, offenses resulting from ‘line the of duty’ deaths involving police officers, firefighters or other first responders, gang-related homicides and other significant cases to the community.
- The Elder Fraud Unit is specially-trained and dedicated to prosecuting financial crimes against the elderly.
Number: 1 District Attorney for Bexar County
Selection: Partisan, county-wide election. Vacancies between elections filled by the Governor.
Qualifications: Must be a licensed practicing attorney, be a Bexar County resident for a minimum of 6 months and a Texas resident for a minimum of 12 months.
Term: 4 years.
Categories: The Courts