Contrary to popular belief, being charged with a felony drug offense does not necessarily mean there is no hope. Rather, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to help reduce your charge to a misdemeanor or negotiate a favorable sentencing resolution. Read on to learn more.
<h2>Ways to Get a Felony Drug Charge Dropped to a Misdemeanor In Nebraska </h2>
Nebraska’s law has avenues for a defendant to potentially avoid the consequences of a felony drug conviction. While there are many ways to achieve this, here are three of the most common.
<h3>Negotiating a Plea Bargain </h3>
Negotiating a plea bargain means you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. This could be your best bet at avoiding a felony drug conviction and its consequences.
<h3>Finding a Violation of Your Constitutional Rights </h3>
If the arresting officer did not have probable cause for the search or seizure that led to the drug charges, a criminal defense lawyer could argue that the officer’s conduct was illegal and in violation of your constitutional rights. In Nebraska, courts may suppress evidence obtained illegally, i.e., through an unlawful search and seizure. Suppressed evidence is inadmissable in court and cannot be used against you.
<h2>What Is the Difference Between a Felony Drug Charge and a Conviction? </h2>
A felony drug charge is not the same as a felony drug conviction. Here’s an overview of what these two terms mean.
When charged with a felony, it means you’ve been formally accused of a crime—in this case, a drug-related crime. However, being charged with a crime does not necessarily mean you are guilty. In Nebraska, you are innocent until proven guilty.
On the other hand, a conviction means you’ve been found guilty by a judge or jury in a criminal trial or you pled guilty to the charge.
<h2>What are the Consequences of a Felony Drug Conviction in Nebraska? </h2>
For starters, any crime labeled ‘felony’ usually has severe consequences. That’s why it’s always advisable to fight it if you can.
That said, Nebraska’s penalties for drug-related offenses depend on the type and quantity of drugs and the reason for possession. When determining the most appropriate penalty, the court will consider whether the individual possessed, manufactured, distributed, or delivered the drug in question.
Here are some examples of different offenses to put things into perspective:
If found in ‘simple‘ possession’ of meth or heroin up to 10 grams in Nebraska, you may face a Class IV felony charge. In this case, the penalty could include up to two years of imprisonment and 9-12 months of post-release supervision. Alternatively, you may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000 or face both imprisonment and a fine.
On the other hand, the penalty is usually more severe if charged with manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or delivering the same amount of meth or heroin (up to 10 grams). This offense is a Class IC felonypunishable by five to 50 years imprisonment.
<h2>What Does ‘Simple Possession’ Mean in Drug-Related Cases in Nebraska? </h2>
In Nebraska, ‘simple possession’ refers to possessing a controlled substance for personal use, with no intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or deliver it to others.
The state has various laws and regulations that classify controlled substances into different schedules based on their potential for abuse, medical use, and safety concerns. For instance, Schedule I substances such as heroin and methamphetamine have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. On the contrary, Schedule V drugs have a low potential for abuse and limited medical use.
The quantity of the controlled substance found in a person’s possession can also influence the charge and penalty for simple possession. For example, possession of a small amount of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, such as heroin or methamphetamine, can result in a Class IV felony charge, as discussed in the previous section.
<h2>What Is the Difference Between a Felony and Misdemeanor in Drug Charges in Nebraska? </h2>
‘Misdemeanor’ and ‘felony’ are the two most common offense classifications for drug charges in Nebraska. These classifications and the consequences associated with a conviction for each are quite different from each other. The potential penalty identifies the primary difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in drug charges. Here’s how to tell the difference.
A misdemeanor is usually a less severe offense, punishable by a fine or up to one year in jail. Examples of drug-related misdemeanor offenses in Nebraska include simple possession of a small amount of marijuana. For instance, possession of more than one ounce but less than one pound of marijuana is a Class III misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine and or up to three months in jail.
On the other hand, a felony is a more serious offense, usually punishable by a fine or imprisonment for more than one year. In Nebraska, drug offenses such as manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing controlled substances are usually classified as felonies and can result in a penalty of incarceration up to 50 years.
<h2>What Are the Consequences of a Felony Drug Conviction in Nebraska? </h2>
Felony drug charges in Nebraska can lead to severe and long-lasting consequences if convicted. Let’s look at a few scenarios that could happen if charged with a drug felony in The Cornhusker State.
You will lose your right to vote until two years after the completion of your sentence. This can affect your ability to participate in the democratic process and have a say in important issues that affect your life and community.
Such a conviction can make it significantly harder to find employment. This is because many employers are hesitant to hire convicted felons because they fear for the safety of their clients and workers. Others want to maintain a positive reputation for their businesses.
It is also worth noting that some industries,such as healthcare or any type of job that involves dealing directly with children (e.g., daycare), have strict policies against employing individuals with felony convictions. As a result, a felony conviction can significantly limit your career opportunities.
Furthermore, if you plan to seek higher education, a felony conviction can be a significant barrier to receiving financial aid. In many cases, individuals with felony convictions are ineligible for federal student loans and grants, making it harder to pay for college or vocational training.
<h2>What Can I Do To Increase the Chances of a Felony Drug Charge Being Reduced to a Misdemeanor? </h2>
A skilled attorney familiar with Nebraska drug laws and court procedures can help build a strong defense that can be helpful in negotiations with prosecutors. However, defending against a criminal charge requires the collective effort of both the defendant and their attorney. While an attorney may be able to help convince the court to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor, their success will depend on the specific facts of your case as well as your cooperation and communication with them.
While being arrested for a drug offense is a stressful situation, one of the best things you can do is remain calm. Whatever you do or say during or even after the arrest could be used against you in court. This explains why police officers usually inform suspects about their rights to remain silent and request an attorney. This declaration is known as the Miranda Rights and exists for a reason — to protect you.
Remember, no matter how bad the situation seems, you are innocent until proven guilty.
If required to complete a drug treatment program, you should do so. This is especially important if you have a drug addiction or substance abuse problem.
Completing a drug treatment program may help to persuade the court to reduce your charge. It demonstrates a willingness to take responsibility for your actions and make positive changes in your life. Besides, it could be what you need to turn over a new page and free yourself from drug or alcohol addiction.
Lastly, expressing remorse and taking responsibility for your actions can help persuade the court to reduce your charge.
<h2>How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help? </h2>
As mentioned, a drug charge does not mean all hope is lost; an experienced criminal defense attorney can fight for you.
An attorney will be able to ensure your rights are protected by safeguarding you from an illegal search and seizure, a coerced confessions, or other forms of investigative tactics.
The attorney will analyze the evidence against you and create a strong defense strategy to challenge the prosecution’s case. To do this, they will identify weaknesses in the evidence and raise issues that could lead to the charges being reduced from felony to misdemeanor or dismissed altogether.
Because they have your best interests at heart, a criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. They can work to have the charges reduced to a misdemeanor or negotiate a plea deal that may involve probation, drug treatment, or other alternatives to serving time in prison.
Being charged with a felony drug offense can drain you emotionally. For this reason, a criminal defense lawyer can offer both the legal and emotional guidance and support you need throughout the legal process.
Finally, the attorney can represent you in court and present a compelling defense on your behalf.
<h2>Why Contact Berry Law? </h2>
Berry Law has been fighting for the rights of individuals facing unfair criminal charges in Nebraska for over five decades. We understand the stigma associated with a drug charge or conviction and we work tirelessly for our clients to prevent the significant consequences that are associated with each.
Everyone has a right to a fair trial and defense, and that is what our award-winning attorneys have dedicated their lives to. So if you or your loved one is facing felony drug charges in Nebraska, help is a phone call away.
Call Berry Law today at 402-307-8108 or contact us online for a case evaluation.