Whether or not your case ultimately goes to trial or is resolved through negotiation, your attorney must investigate the facts and plan a defense. Your lawyer will then be in a position to advise you about your chances if you take the case to trial. Sometimes it is better to negotiate a settlement. Other times it make sense to present your defense to a jury.
Whether you want to take the case to trial is up to you. Your attorney will make a recommendation, but the right to a jury trial belongs to you. Only you can give up that right. Your lawyer can give you advice that helps you make a decision but cannot make the decision for you.
Before giving you any advice about how to resolve your case, your defense attorney will engage in a process known as discovery. Your lawyer will insist that the government provide all the evidence it intends to use against you, as well as any evidence the government has that tends to show your innocence. Discovery typically produces all police reports that were written about the case as well as laboratory analysis of any controlled substances that the police seized.
At some point your lawyer will also be able to review statements and grand jury transcripts of testimony given by witnesses who will testify at your trial. Prior to the trial, your lawyer will have a chance to inspect any physical evidence (such as photographs, fingerprints, and recordings) that the government intends to introduce against you.
In cases of drug conspiracies involving multiple defendants, there may be hundreds or thousands of pages of police reports. Your lawyer will need to review them carefully, taking note of inconsistent witness statements and other information that might assist in your defense.
In many cases, it is necessary to engage in a more thorough investigation than the police conducted. An investigator working for the defense may discover witnesses who the police overlooked or ignored. Those witnesses may have information that is vital to the defense. An investigator may also find that police informants were not where they claimed to have been or, if they were there, could not have seen what they claimed to have seen. Investigations often reveal information that undermines the credibility of prosecution witnesses.
In some cases, expert witnesses need to be located. For example, if a witness mistakenly identified your presence at a drug transaction, you may want to use an expert witness who can explain the potential problems with eyewitness identifications. Your attorney can identify expert witnesses who might help your case as part of the investigation and trial preparation process.
Planning the Most Robust Defense Possible
After reviewing discovery, completing an investigation, and obtaining rulings on motions, your attorney will be in a position to prepare a defense. Perhaps witnesses have accused you because they are mistaken about your identity. Perhaps witnesses are accusing you because they need to blame someone else in order to cover up their own guilt or to protect their drug dealer. Perhaps the government’s witnesses can be caught in a lie.
Perhaps statements you made were misunderstood. Perhaps you committed a lesser crime than the crime with which you are charged. Perhaps drugs in your possession were for your personal use, not for distribution. Perhaps you were hanging out with drug dealers but were never involved in drug distribution. In a conspiracy case, perhaps you were never part of the conspiracy.
In addition to the defenses mentioned above, many other defenses can be raised to drug charges. Your attorney will evaluate those defenses and advise you of the potential merit they may have. Your attorney will outline the best defense you can raise at trial and will tell you whether that defense is strong or weak. It will then be up to you to decide whether you want to take your case to trial.
How a Lubbock Drug Lawyer Can Help
Do not trust your trial to an inexperienced attorney. The Lubbock drug defense lawyers at Hamilton, Hull & Byrd have years of experience persuading juries to return verdicts of not guilty. To make an appointment with a respected trial lawyer, call Hamilton, Hull & Byrd today.