Mecklenburg County Drug Cases
Mecklenburg County drug cases are usually heard first in the General District Court for a preliminary hearing, which is a probable cause hearing. The trial for felony drug charges will be in the Circuit Court of Mecklenburg County. Drug offense cases in Mecklenburg County can be over in as little as 30 days, or they can stretch out as long as six months or, in some cases, even as long as a year from the arrest.
If you have been charged with a drug offense, you should reach out to an experienced drug lawyer today. A dedicated attorney could fight for you and help you reach a favorable outcome to your drug case.
What Does the Prosecution Need to Prove in a Drug Case?
To secure a conviction for a drug offense, the prosecution needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged substance is, in fact, a drug that is listed as a controlled substance on one of the schedules in the Code of Virginia. In Mecklenburg County drug cases, the prosecution needs to prove that the accused was either in possession or had constructive possession of that substance, was possessing with intent to distribute, or had actually distributed those substances.
Evidence Presented in Mecklenburg County Drug Cases
Evidence typically presented in Mecklenburg County drug offense cases includes a lab certificate from the Department of Forensics that identifies the chemical makeup of the alleged drug. Other common evidence is testimony from law enforcement officers regarding the circumstances of the arrest, the probable cause that led to the search of the person or vehicle, and how the drugs were first found and identified.
Contested Issues at Drug Trials
The most highly contested issues in trials of Mecklenburg County drug cases usually involve constitutional rights and whether or not the rights of an accused were violated either during search and seizure of the individual or by investigatory questions by law enforcement officers.
What Constitutional Issues Come up in Drug Cases?
Most drug cases involve a seizure or search of a person or vehicle, and that invokes the constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures granted by the Fourth Amendment. This is the most common issue that comes up in any drug case, including in Mecklenburg Court drug crimes cases. Other common constitutional issues in drug cases involve the Fifth and Sixth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment gives people the right to refrain from self-incrimination. The Sixth Amendment gives individuals the right to legal counsel.
Some constitutional issues require dismissal of the case if the constitutional rights have been violated. However, there are many circumstances in which the constitutional rights might have been technically violated but there are “good faith” exceptions for law enforcement. In that case, even though the rights were violated, the prosecution might be allowed to go forward. For more information, consult with a knowledgeable attorney.
Sentencing for Drug Crimes in Mecklenburg County
The sentencing in Mecklenburg County can be quite variable for drug-related crimes, depending on the various factors that led to the arrest and the accused’s criminal history, and depending on how much of a priority it is for the prosecution or the judge.
An attorney who is experienced with Mecklenburg County drug cases could advocate for you if you are facing drug crimes. Call today.