Are you facing criminal charges in the state of Nebraska? Do you know the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, or how state-specific laws may affect your criminal case? What about what to consider when choosing a criminal defense law firm to guide you through the justice system?
The state of Nebraska has two main criminal law classifications. The different classifications are based on the severity of each crime.
Felonies are the most serious crimes, punishable by prison sentences of at least one year. Murder in the 1st degree is the only crime in the Class I category and is potentially punishable by death. Sexual assault falls into the Class IB felony subcategory and is punishable by 20 years to life in prison. Drug crimes, like possession of 140 grams of cocaine with intent to sell, is a Class ID offense, punishable by a prison sentence with a mandatory minimum of three years and a maximum of 50 years.
Misdemeanors are the least serious level of criminal charges. Penalties generally include fines, jail time of no more than one year, or both. Keep in mind is that records of misdemeanors are searchable by the public, which future employers may take advantage of and therefore may affect employment opportunities.
Nebraska has seven misdemeanor classes, the most serious of which are Class I and Class W misdemeanors. Identity theft and violent crimes such as assault in the third-degree are examples of Class I misdemeanor crimes. Misdemeanor Class V covers criminal offenses like smoking or vaping under the age of 18. This misdemeanor class carries a $100 fine penalty.
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08% or higher in the state of Nebraska is grounds for a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI). These DUI/DWI terms are interchangeable under Nebraska law.
Nebraska is an implied consent state. In other words, the act of driving in and of itself means a licensed driver consents to police-requested roadside testing.
A first-time offender convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) may face many penalties including:
A repeat DUI offender faces:
A third-time offender may face:
The same penalties apply if you refuse BAC testing and are found not guilty. Penalties increase in severity if the driver has a BAC level of .15% or higher.
Possession of small amounts of marijuana – up to one ounce – for personal use is not a crime. Possession of more than one ounce will result in a citation of $300. The sale of any amount of marijuana, no matter how small, is a felony carrying a mandatory minimum prison term of one year.
You may want to know that medical marijuana is not legal in Nebraska.
You have the right to remain silent. You should exercise that right by remaining silent and instead seeking the advice of aw criminal defense attorney. What should you consider before deciding on a specific criminal defense lawyer or team of criminal law firm? Every criminal case is unique, but the following suggestions may help you in your search for the right law firm for you:
Your lawyer’s job is to defend you, protect your rights, and guide you throughout your case. Taking the time to educate yourself about Nebraska’s criminal justice system may better prepare you for the road ahead.
An arrest and conviction can change everything. Fines or time in jail are the immediate concern, but a conviction will also mean a criminal record that can make it harder to find a job and housing for years to come. If you are arrested or learn you are under investigation, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights, lay out your options, and help you determine the best way to proceed with mounting a defense and limiting potential penalties.