Columbia Drug Trials

Drug charges can carry severe criminal consequences. If you have been charged with a drug-related crime, you may want to seek out a qualified drug lawyer to assist you during Columbia drug trials. No matter what the drug offense may be, a dedicated and knowledgeable attorney can work to protect your rights.

Columbia Drug Trial Basics

Where Columbia drug trials are heard would depend on which police agency arrests the person and the type of offense. As far as the city of Columbia is concerned, the trial will be held in the City of Columbia Municipal Court if it was a 30-day misdemeanor offense. If it is a general sessions court case, the trial will be held at the Richland County Courthouse on Main Street in Columbia. All arrests in Richland County go to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on Bluff Road.

If a person is arrested in Richland County or if it is a general sessions court case, the person will find themselves in the Richland County magistrate court or the general sessions court. In both cases, the court will be dictated on whether it is a magistrate or municipal case.

The length of Columbia drug trials depends and are taken on a case by case basis. Some cases can be resolved very quickly, within a few weeks, while others can take over a year. Some factors that are taken into consideration are: Is it a magistrate or municipal court case? Is it a general session’s court case? Who is the prosecutor? Which court will it take place?

Bench Trials vs. Jury Trials

One of the tactics used by a magistrate and municipal courts is setting cases for bench trials. If someone does not appear in court, they can perform a trial in their absence or a bench warrant for failure to appear (FTA). They are initially set as bench trials.

Once a person hires an attorney, if they are experienced, they will normally file a request for a jury trial, which would put the case on a different track. The attorney will reach out and begin negotiating what the police officer or the prosecutor assigned. That makes the difference between whether it is requested as a jury trial or a bench trial, but these are generally set as a bench trial.

Prosecution and Evidence

The Columbia prosecution’s standard of proof, regarding Columbia drug trials, is no different. The standard of proof is the same in all criminal cases. They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person is guilty of every element of that criminal offense. If someone has been arrested for possession of a drug, it has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury that the person was in possession of a drug.

Generally, the evidence typically presented in Columbia drug offense cases would be the testimony of the police officers who conducted the arrest, the lab report, the forensic analyst who tested the drugs from the law enforcement divisions or the local lab of the police agency, and any witnesses or a confidential informant from the distribution. They would be the individuals testifying. The two main sets of evidence in drug cases are the police officer or a confidential informant and any of the drug tests along with the analyst who did the lab results. Those are the two pieces of evidence most common in drug cases.

Constitutional Issues

The biggest constitutional issues that come up during Columbia drug trials are search and seizure, unreasonable invasions of privacy, self-incrimination or right to counsel, and whether somebody has a provided a reasonable bail if they have had multiple drug convictions. Again, it truly depends on the type of crime. For example, intent and identity may come up during a distribution case. Regarding a possession case, whether or not the person was in constructive possession would come up.