This is the next post in my series on the handling of drug trafficking cases in Austin, Texas. My last article discussed how search and seizure issues impact drug trafficking charges. It is important to understand that, depending on the specifics of the case, a Fourth Amendment violation by law enforcement may result in the charges being dismissed. Such issues involve complicated questions of law and it is important that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you. In this article I will discuss the process of taking a case to trial. I am Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and have been practicing law since 1995. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.
Trial will begin with the selection of a jury. The potential jurors are chosen from a pool of people in our local community. The attorneys for each side will be able to ask questions of the potential jurors. The Judge will ask questions of them as well. If it is clear that a potential juror cannot be impartial then the Judge may remove them from the pool. The attorneys will also have a set number of challenges which they may use to remove jurors. These challenges may not be used to remove a juror for a protected purpose such as ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, etc. Once the selection process is complete then the jury will be empaneled. Each side will make an opening statement in regard to the evidence which the jurors can expect to hear.
The prosecution will present its case after opening statements. The government presents its evidence first due to the fact that it bears the burden of proof. The defense will then present its evidence and witnesses. The prosecution will then be permitted to follow with “rebuttal” evidence. This is not a time for new arguments by the prosecution; rebuttal may only be used to directly address claims which were made by the defense. At the close of evidence, both the prosecution and defense will request any special instructions which they would like the judge to make to the jury. Each side will then make a closing argument and the jury will deliberate the matter. The jurors will return their verdict. If the defendant is acquitted then the case is over and they will be released from custody. If the defendant is convicted then they will await sentencing. After sentencing, the defendant will have the right to file an appeal.
The foregoing process is highly complicated. The Court will follow the rules of evidence as well as other rules of procedure. Failing to follow these procedures can result in the defendant not being able to admit evidence which is vital to their case. It can also result in evidence, which otherwise should not have been admitted, being considered by the Jury. Also, it is crucial that the case be presented in a manner that is clear, concise, and understandable for the jurors. Retaining an experienced attorney is an important step in ensuring that your rights remain protected.
If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with an Austin criminal defense lawyer. My office handles drug trafficking charges and I believe that everyone is entitled to both a vigorous defense and the highest level of respect. I will make sure you know what to expect as the matter moves forward and will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone today.
My firm also handles cases in Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.