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Drug offenses in Lubbock are taken seriously and prosecuted seriously as well. Every person accused of a drug crime in Lubbock has the right to a jury trial. Only the accused can decide whether to exercise or to give up that right.
Lubbock drug trials are heard at the Lubbock County Courthouse or in one of three district courts currently if it is a felony drug case. Discussing your case with an experienced drug lawyer can positively impact the defense you present in court.
Type of Lubbock Trials
In Texas, an individual who is accused of a crime at almost any stage, except certain traffic tickets or administrative issues, is entitled to elect to go to the judge or the jury for Lubbock drug trials. They can have a Lubbock drug trial either to the jury or to a judge. If the individual elects to go to a jury and it is a misdemeanor drug case in Lubbock County, then they are going to select six jurors.
The jury will be six people. If it is a felony case, then it will be 12 people and whether it is a misdemeanor or felony will determine how many strikes they will get to disqualify people from serving on the jury. The other thing that is important is that not only does the defendant or the accused have a right to a jury trial if they want, but in the state of Texas they are also entitled to a jury trial.
At the beginning of trial, a jury is selected. To assure that the jury is fair, both sides are allowed to submit questions designed to weed out potential jurors who might have a bias against the defendant and those who have already made up their minds about guilt. The defense can strike a certain number of potential jurors for any reason.
After the judge explains the charges to the jury, the prosecutor and the defense attorney each make an opening statement. They each summarize the evidence they expect to be presented during the trial. The prosecution then calls its witnesses and the defense attorney cross-examines those witnesses.
When the prosecution rests, the defense has the opportunity to present witnesses. In some cases, the defense will make a strategic decision to call no witnesses, emphasizing the weakness of the State’s case. In other cases, the defense will call witnesses, including the defendant if the defendant chooses to testify. The State is not allowed to call the defendant as a witness.
After all evidence has been presented, the judge explains the law to the jury. The prosecutor and the defense attorney each make an argument to the jury. The prosecutor urges the jury to convict the defendant while the defense attorney highlights evidence that creates a reasonable doubt about guilt or that points to the defendant’s innocence.
After hearing the arguments and instructions, the jurors meet in private so they can discuss their verdict. They can usually take as long as they need but any verdict they reach must be unanimous. If they find the defendant guilty, in some cases the trial proceeds to a sentencing phase and the jury considers the appropriate punishment. If the jury finds the defendant not guilty, the defendant is released from bail and the charges are dismissed.
Rights During a Trial
An individual’s right to a jury trial includes other valuable constitutional rights, including:
- The right to be presumed innocent from the beginning of the trial until the jury considers its verdict
- The right to be found “not guilty” unless the State proves each fact required for a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt
- The right to have guilt determined by a unanimous vote of the jury
- The right to be represented by a competent lawyer
- The right to testify, if they wish to do so
- The right to remain silent, if they choose not to testify
- The right to confront witnesses against them by forcing them to testify face-to-face
- The right to cross-examine the witnesses against them
- The right to call witnesses on their behalf and to use subpoenas to compel their attendance in court
- The right to have the public scrutinize everything done in court by the prosecutor and judge during the course of their trial
Role of a Lawyer
If a person has been arrested or talked with the police about the possession of the drugs, a lawyer might be able to put a good mitigation package together. An attorney may be able to visit the district attorney before they actually file the case to get something resolved. If that is the scenario in that type of a case, an attorney may get something resolved in a few months.
Some Lubbock drug trials take a long time and should proceed with documentation of drug records. It is important to understand that the police may have some evidence, they may even have a preliminary test, what is usually referred to as a Regent’s test. It is a field test that says that the drug that they confiscated is a drug and it is a certain drug. There is a possibility that the lab report comes back months later and it shows that it is not a drug. Waiting for the results is sometimes why drug cases take sometimes up to a year or longer to get resolved.