Drug charges go to trial very often. Given what you describe as his lengthy criminal record, I would imagine he will go to prison If convicted. I have heard many judges say they don't go backwards so if he got prison once before he will likely get it again.
My firm handles these matters and offers free case consultations. Have a good rest of the weekend.
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It will be important to understand his score sheet. Often times, we review the discovery and weigh our options of going to trial versus the possible outcome. The score sheet uses a formula that the judges are supposed to follow for sentencing and can tell us if he's looking at minimum mandatory time if convicted. You'll want to talk to a defense attorney on avvo. I offer a free consultation and can see him in jail if you decide to use my services. Thanks
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A trial is not an uncommon occurrence on drug charges, especially when his "very lengthy" prior record likely has him scoring in the mandatory prison range. It is also common to have an attorney negotiate an appropriate sentence under the circumstances with the prosecutor. Fortunately, because drug charges do not usually involve a victim on the other side and if there is a documented history of drug addiction issues, prosecutors are more open to negotiation/departure on sentences. Every case has different factual/legal issues and a trial may be his best option, however it is the ultimate risk/reward situation, if things go well, he walks out, if they don't he'll likely be sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence. I would consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss his options.
The final outcome will likely depend on the prosecutor, his record, the evidence, and your attorney. These cases often go to trial however they are also often resolved before trial. An experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure he obtains the best possible outcome. Good luck!