Each year thousands of people throughout the country are charged with low-level drug possession charges. Most of these cases are dispensed with by plea agreements and probation terms. However, high-level drug charges are an entirely different matter altogether. Anyone who is facing high-level drug charges is facing some serious trouble.
Drug trafficking and manufacturing charges, in particular, can come with the prospect of significant prison terms for anyone who is convicted on these charges. As a result, in some of these types of cases, pushing the case all the way to a jury trial may be the best option in a bad situation. So, what can you expect in a criminal trial?
For starters, it is important to understand that the right to a jury trial is one of the most important constitutional rights in America. You will have a jury of your “peers,” which commonly means people drawn from the community in which the criminal charges are filed. The jury trial will typically proceed through the usual stages, such as opening statements, presentation of evidence, closing arguments and, finally, a verdict from the jury.
But, as the jury trial progresses, and even beforehand, defendants must remember that other constitutional rights must be protected. Defendants have the right to counsel, and they also have the right against self-incrimination – meaning they do not need to testify in the trial if they choose not to. However, beyond constitutional rights, defendants should expect that they will be treated fairly. After all, the maxim “innocent until proven guilty” should still apply in high-level drug cases, as it should in all cases.