Misdemeanor offenses are less serious crimes than felonies, however, they still carry the possibility of jail time and large fines.
There are seven classes of misdemeanors in Nebraska. Class I misdemeanors are the most serious and Class V misdemeanors are the least serious.
- Class I Misdemeanor: up to 1 year jail and/or up to $1,000 fine
- Class II Misdemeanor: up to 6 months jail and/or up to $1,000 fine
- Class III Misdemeanor: up to 3 months jail and/or up to $500 fine
- Class IIIA Misdemeanor: up to 7 days and/or up to $500 fine
- Class IV Misdemeanor: up to $500 fine
- Class V Misdemeanor: up to $100 fine
- Class W Misdemeanors: depends on the tier (first, second, third) of offense and are for DUI offenses
Nebraska Revised Statute § 28-106(2) provides that misdemeanor jail sentences are to be served in the county jail, unless the sentence is to be served under the jurisdiction of Department of Correctional Services because the sentence is to be concurrently or consecutively with a felony conviction and the combined sentence is for more than one year.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses are Class W misdemeanors. The penalties for DUIs depend on the individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and the whether the offense is a first, second, or third conviction for the offender.
For first offenses, the penalties for a DUI are:
- BAC below 0.15: 7-60 days of incarceration, $500 fine, and up to 6 month driver’s license revocation
- BAC above 0.15: 7-60 days of incarceration, $500 fine, and 1 year driver’s license revocation
For second offenses:
- BAC below 0.15: 10 days-6 months of incarceration, $500 fine, and 18 month driver’s license revocation
- BAC above 0.15: 30 days-1 year of incarceration, $1,000 fine, and 18 months-15 years driver’s license revocation (this is considered a Class I misdemeanor)
For third offenses:
- BAC below 0.15: 180 days-3 years of incarceration, $1,000 fine, and 2-15 year driver’s license revocation
- BAC above 0.15: 60 days-1 year of incarceration, $1,000 fine, and 5-15 years driver’s license revocation (this is considered a Class IIIA felony)
Consequently, with each offense, the potential incarceration time and fine amount grows. It is key to have an experienced attorney on your side to assist you in obtaining the best outcome.
Presentence Investigation Reports
After a conviction but prior to sentencing, a judge may order the individual to undergo a Presentence Investigation (PSI). Under Nebraska Revised Statute § 29-2261, a court may order a PSI report in any case, except Class IIIA, IV, or V misdemeanors and traffic infractions. Presentence Investigation Reports are conducted by the county’s probation office and the purpose of the PSI is to provide the judge information about the individual to determine an appropriate sentence.
By statute, the PSI “shall include, when available, an analysis of the circumstances attending the commission of the crime, the person’s history of delinquency or criminality, physical and mental condition, family situation and background, economic status, education, occupation, and personal habits, and any other matters that the probation officer deems relevant or the court directs to be included.” Criminal histories and victim impact statements may also be required. If restitution is an issue, documentation is usually included because restitution may be ordered as part of the sentencing hearing. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-2281.
Because the contents of the PSI are considered by the judge in pronouncing a sentence, it’s important to have a skilled attorney to help prepare for the PSI.
Consecutive v. Concurrent Sentences
If someone is convicted of multiple charges, the judge will sentence the person for each charge. The judge can order the sentences for each charge to be consecutive or concurrent. Consecutive sentences are served back-to-back, meaning the sentences will be combined when totaling the person’s mandatory release date. By contrast, concurrent sentences are served at the same time, or, said another way, each overlaps the other. At sentencing, the judge should pronounce whether the sentences are to be serve consecutively or concurrently.
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Calculating Good Time & Time for Fines and Costs
Nebraska Revised Statute § 47-502 defines the good time rate for sentences served in county jails. After the first 15 days, an individual receives day for day credit. In other words, divide the sentence in half and add 7 days. For example, if the judge sentences someone to 120 days of jail, with credit for good time, the individual would serve 67 days jail.
Instead of paying fines and costs, the judge may also allow someone to serve jail time. The daily rate for doing sitting in jail in lieu of paying fines is $150 per day. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-2412. In other words, if someone cannot pay the fines and costs imposed by the judge at sentencing, the individual can earn $150 per day toward fines and costs by serving time in jail.
Long Term Effects of a Misdemeanor Conviction
In addition to the possibility of jail time and fines, misdemeanor convictions may have additional consequences long after the conviction. A misdemeanor conviction will be permanently on that individual’s criminal history and will likely show up on a background check. It may negatively affect employment opportunities, such as a promotion, or cause the loss or denial of a professional license, like a nursing license. Depending on the facts of each case, a misdemeanor conviction can deny someone the right to own or possess a firearm, or cause deportation or denial of immigration privileges. It is crucial to talk to an experienced attorney about the collateral consequences of a misdemeanor conviction to be well informed and to best prepare for the future.
We Serve Individuals Accused of Misdemeanor Crimes in Nebraska
At Berry Law, we may be able to assist you in fighting your criminal charge. We provide skillful, effective representation for accused persons throughout Nebraska, and we are prepared to analyze your case in order to determine the best course of action. Contact Berry Law today to discuss your case.