Where Are Virginia Beach Drug Offense Cases Typically Heard?

Virginia Beach drug offense cases are typically heard in the Virginia Beach General District Court. Misdemeanor cases are tried in the General District Court, and felony cases begin there with the preliminary hearing. If the felony gets past the preliminary hearing phase, then the trial will be heard in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court. A drug attorney in Virginia Beach answers a series of questions regarding a drug trail.

Are Virginia Beach Drug Offense Cases Typically Bench Or Jury Trials?

If the case is heard in the general district court it is always a bench trial. If it is heard in the circuit court then you have the opportunity to either have a jury trial or a bench trial.

How Long Does A Virginia Beach Drug Offense Case Typically Take?

How long a Virginia Beach drug offense case takes typically depends on whether a defendant is pleading guilty and is only negotiating sentencing, or whether there is a full on trial. When only the sentencing is being argued, generally the case takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. When a trial is put on, the length depends on how much evidence is being presented by each side, particularly how many witnesses are testifying and on the number of questions for each. A trial can take anywhere from 10 minutes to well over an hour.

What Does A Prosecutor Need To Prove In A Virginia Beach Drug Offense Case?

First, the other side has to prove that the marijuana was in fact found to be marijuana. This is done by doing a chemical analysis on the substance in question and then properly presenting a report of the results in court. Second, it needs to be proven that the defendant was the one in control of the marijuana and that the defendant was aware of the nature and presence of the drug in question.

The testimony of the officer is usually the primary evidence in Virginia Beach drug offense cases. The officer’s testimony includes the detailed procedure followed in the search and seizure as well as any statements or admissions made by the defendant throughout the incident. The burden of proving that the defendant is guilty is on the officer.

The defense should provide a strong cross examination of the officer to ensure that the correct procedure was followed, which means that the reason for the stop and for the search and seizure was all valid. It is up to the defense to cast reasonable doubt on the facts to demonstrate that there is doubt that the defendant is actually guilty of what they are being charged with.

What Elements Of The Case Are Typically Hotly Contested At Trial?

In terms of hotly contested issues at trials, the main things that are attacked on both sides are the reason for the stop, the reason for the search and whether there was enough probable cause for the search, whether the seizure was valid and did the drug  actually belong to the defendant. These issues are basically the entire trial regardless of what kind of drug case it is or the specific type of drugs.