Being arrested or charged with a crime is one of the most devastating events that can happen to you. It can feel overwhelming to think that you will have to appear in court to answer criminal charges. Even relatively minor allegations can result in life-changing consequences if you are convicted. After all, any criminal offense in Nebraska can result in a jail sentence and would create a permanent criminal record.
If you are have been accused of committing a crime, you need legal protection and guidance. Fortunately, an experienced Omaha criminal defense lawyer at Berry Law could help you protect your rights in court. Whether it’s in your best interests to negotiate a plea agreement or fight the charges at trial, our team of dedicated defense attorneys could help you achieve the best outcome possible.
What Types of Cases Can Omaha Criminal Defense Attorneys Handle?
Criminal offenses in the Omaha area are separated into two categories. Less severe crimes are charged as misdemeanor offenses. Common examples of misdemeanor crimes include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, simple assault, and minor theft. These cases are typically heard in Nebraska’s county courts and carry a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and/or a fine.
More serious criminal offenses may be charged as felonies. Common examples include homicide and rape, as well as aggravated versions of misdemeanor offenses such as assault and theft. For example, if you are charged with assault that results in serious bodily injury or the theft of property in excess of $500, you would be facing a felony charge.
The state’s district courts have jurisdiction to hear all felony cases. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, the criminal justice system can be complicated and confusing. You need to be sure you completely understand the allegations and evidence claimed by the prosecution and the possible penalties that might be assessed. No matter the severity of your pending criminal charge, an experienced criminal lawyer at Berry Law can help.
Our Omaha Criminal Law Attorneys Can Explain the Standard Sentences for Misdemeanor and Felony Offenses
Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-106 defines 6 different categories for misdemeanor offenses, each with varying maximum penalties. A seventh class (also known as Class W) is reserved exclusively for DUI offenses and establishes a unique penalty structure for defendants facing their first, second, and third offenses.
Class V and Class IV misdemeanors are punishable by maximum fines of $100 and $500 respectively and cannot result in jail time. A conviction for a Class IIIA, III, II, or Class I misdemeanor can lead to imprisonment in a local or county jail.
However, under no circumstances is a court required to impose a jail sentence on anyone convicted of a misdemeanor. Not everyone understands misdemeanor requirements but a local criminal defense attorney at Berry Law knows how to specifically request that jail time be waived in your case in order to protect your rights in and out of court.
There are 10 categories of felonies in the state of Nebraska. A Class IV felony, the least severe level of felony, carries a potential incarceration penalty of up to 24 months in jail and/or a financial penalty of up to $10,000. Class IA and Class I felonies are the most severe felony crimes someone can be charged with in Omaha. A Class IA felony conviction means incarceration for life, while a Class I felony conviction is punishable by the death penalty.
Non-Criminal Consequences of a Conviction
Avoiding fines and jail time is not the only reason to hire a local criminal defense lawyer from Berry Law. In addition to any sanctions imposed by the court, a felony conviction in Omaha will also result in the permanent loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to vote and the ability to legally possess a firearm.
Even misdemeanor convictions can have dramatic repercussions, potentially leading to job loss, limited educational opportunities, and even fewer residential options. In some cases, reducing the risk of these consequences could be equally as important as avoiding court-ordered criminal sanctions.
How Can an Omaha Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?
A criminal defense attorney can start working to protect your rights from the day you hire them. This includes not just making regular court appearances on your behalf, and conducting negotiations with the prosecution, but also working to preserve your constitutional rights while you are held in police custody.
Most people see criminal defense attorneys in action during jury or bench trials, but the work on a criminal case begins months earlier. As soon as you retain an attorney to work on your case, they will begin building an effective defense strategy. In fact, many attorneys visit clients who are still in police custody to both inform that client of their rights and prevent any potentially harmful questioning conducted by the police.
The preliminary court hearings in a criminal case can have an immense impact on a defendant’s pre-trial lifestyle and the progress of the case. The first hearing, known as an arraignment, typically determines important issues related to the defendant’s future. Legal matters that should be discussed will include setting the amount of bail in the case and any pre-trial release conditions the defendant must follow to remain out of physical custody. At Berry Law, our dedicated local criminal defense attorneys help protect your rights during every stage of the process, in and out of court.
How Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend Against Criminal Charges?
A skilled attorney will be familiar with numerous potential defenses that can be raised on your behalf to refute and defend against the pending criminal charges. Your best defense will often depend on the type of offense being presented. Understanding the prosecution’s strategy as well as the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident will give your defense attorney a solid basis for crafting a strong counter argument and gathering opposing evidence.
For example, if there were errors during the prosecution’s investigation or there are concerns that law enforcement violated your rights or lacked probable cause to make the arrest, these legal issues could be brought to light and incorporated into your defense.
Furthermore, any evidence that law enforcement found while violating your rights would be inadmissible in court. For example, if the arresting officer did not have probable cause to search your vehicle and you did not give consent, any evidence they found during that search could be suppressed.
The attorneys at Berry Law understand what law enforcement can legally do during an investigation, traffic stop, and questioning. If we find that a violation of your rights led to your arrest, we can work to get the related evidence suppressed and the arrest thrown out of court.
Berry Law’s Team Provides You With Multiple Attorney Perspectives
Contact an Omaha Criminal Defense Attorney Now to Ensure Your Rights are Protected From the Start
If you are facing criminal charges, you need to take the situation seriously. Whether this is your first time in trouble with the law or you need to minimize increased penalties as a repeat offender, the potential consequences for any criminal conviction can be harsh and life-changing.
Our Omaha criminal defense lawyers know how to evaluate the strength of the prosecutor’s claim, identify a realistic goal, and develop a strategy designed to meet that goal. Once retained, our legal team could help negotiate a fair plea agreement or raise important legal arguments to exclude evidence or reduce the implications in your case.
Contact Berry Law today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.