Only a small percentage of cases actually go all the way to trial. Most drug cases are resolved through pretrial diversion programs that only require someone to go to drug classes or treatment, which would make a trial unwise. If you can attend a program and ultimately get your case dismissed, then risking a conviction at trial may not be the smartest move unless the facts and evidence are on your side. Other cases are negotiated for settlements that may consist of no actual jail time and reduced penalties after negotiations as opposed to the higher exposure that you may have if you were to go to trial and lose.
At trial, there are usually some doubts about what actually happened and who actually did it. For example, if drugs were found in a car full of people, there may be some doubt as to who actually possessed the drugs. Other factors could also create doubt, such as how the drug was packaged and whether or not there was any other indicia of sales around that would support a sales offense. Going to trial depends on an analysis of the facts and surrounding circumstances, the evidence, and most importantly – the client’s goals because going to trial is a right that the client is entitled to exercise.