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Drug cases are typically shrouded in misinformation and contradicting facts. A person seeking to understand the Lubbock drug case process could consult a criminal defense lawyer for advice. A knowledgeable attorney could fight for your rights.
Where are Drug Crime Cases Typically Heard?
If a person is arrested for a drug crime case in Lubbock County, the case will typically be heard at the Lubbock County courthouse, #904 Broadway in the city of Lubbock, Texas. If it is a felony drug case between state jail felony up to a first-degree felony, it will typically be heard in one of three district courts currently. The three district courts include:
- The 140th District Court of Lubbock County, Texas
- The 364th District Court of Lubbock County, Texas
- The 137th District Court of Lubbock County, Texas
If the drug case is a misdemeanor drug case, it will typically be heard in either County Court Law #1 or County Court Law #2. While those are two of the three misdemeanor courts that Lubbock has, the third county court handles only civil cases. A Lubbock drug attorney could help individuals understand where their case process may take place.
Choosing Between Bench Trials or Jury Trials
In Texas, an individual who is accused of a crime at almost any stage except certain traffic tickets or administrative issues is typically entitled to elect to go to the judge or the jury for a trial. And so we can have a Lubbock drug trial either to the jury or to a judge. If a person elects to go to a jury and it’s a misdemeanor drug case in Lubbock County, they could select six jurors.
In a felony case, there are typically 12 people on the jury. The number of strikes a person could get to disqualify people from serving on the jury typically depends upon whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony. While courts in Texas give accused individuals the right to have a jury trial, the state of Texas is also entitled to a jury trial.
The defense may wish to try the case through the bench to just to the judge. If the district attorney does not agree, then that case could have to be tried to a jury trial.
Texas has what is typically called a bifurcated punishment. A trial is about the guilt or innocence and whether the state could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant did possess the drugs or possession with the intent to deliver or possess with the intent to manufacture the drugs. If the government succeeds in that burden and the accused is found guilty, a punishment typically follows. In Texas, before a person picks the jury, they must decide between going to the judge or the jury for punishment. And those are various factors as well that would be determined.
Factors to Consider
There may be a number of factors a person may need to consider before picking a judge or jury. This may include the judge’s feelings regarding certain cases, the potential juror’s feelings on the case, and the criminal history of the person accused of the crime. It may not be recommended for a person to elect the judge and the jury for punishment since they may be very fact-specific and person specific. During the drug case process, a person typically needs to spend time with their Lubbock attorney to make the best decision and walk through all the benefits and disadvantages whether they go to a jury trial or a judge trial. Attorneys could also help defendants decide whether to go to a judge or the jury for punishment after a conviction.
How long do drug cases typically take in Lubbock County?
The length of a drug case may vary. Certain cases may be short if a person hires an attorney. If a person has been arrested or talked with the police about the possession of the drugs, whether these drugs are marijuana or any other controlled substance, an attorney could put a good mitigation package together. An accused person, with their attorney, could visit with the district attorney before they file the case to get something resolved. A resolution in such a case may take a few months.
Some drug cases may take a longer period of time. With the exception of marijuana, an experienced lawyer may not recommend pleading guilty without an initial lab report. While the police may have some evidence, a preliminary test is known as a Regent’s test, or a field test that may show that the substance the authorities confiscated is a drug, many field tests have a high false positive rating.
An accused person in Lubbock County is recommended to check if the substance is truly an actual drug. If a defendant pled guilty early on in the process, the lab report could come back months later to show that the substance was not a drug and the person didn’t commit the offense. For such reasons, drug cases may take up to a year or longer to get resolved. Learn more about the Lubbock drug case process by contacting a seasoned attorney.