A criminal accusation can be life-changing. If you are facing criminal charges, you are likely feeling anxious about your future. A criminal conviction could not only lead to jail time and hefty fines, but it could also have drastic effects on your personal, professional, and financial life.
Following a conviction, you may have to disclose your conviction on future job, loan, or rental applications, making it difficult to obtain a job or find housing. If you are in a custody battle, a criminal record could even hurt your chances of having a relationship with your child. The first step in protecting your future is hiring effective legal representation.
Hiring the right law firm is essential when you’re facing criminal charges in Lincoln. Our team of experienced attorneys has successfully defended thousands of people facing criminal charges in Lancaster County for over 55 years. In fact, Berry Law has been recognized as the Criminal Defense Law Firm of the Year in Nebraska by multiple legal agencies, including Lawyer International, Global Law Experts, and M&A Today. Working with a Lincoln criminal lawyer from Berry Law can help alleviate some of your stress and ensure your rights are protected throughout the criminal proceeding.
Our experienced defense attorneys understand how scary this can be for you. Everything you worked for could be in jeopardy. We will stand up for you and your constitutional rights throughout every step of the legal process, from the initial questioning to trial and appeal. Our attorneys will work alongside you to develop the best possible defense strategies to fight your charges.
The Importance of Seeking Immediate Legal Assistance
If you learn that you are under investigation for a crime in Lincoln, it is critical that you retain a skilled attorney as soon as possible. You don’t have to wait until you have been formally accused or charged with a crime to hire a lawyer. Having a seasoned criminal defense attorney by your side from the beginning can help you avoid potential problems during trial and could even help you avoid being charged with a crime in the first place.
Preparing for Interrogations
Before sitting down with a police officer or prosecutor to answer any questions, it is important to consult with a lawyer. During the initial interrogation phase of an investigation, the police may try to coax you into giving an incriminating statement. An experienced attorney can advise you of your rights and help you prepare answers to potential questions.
Working with a lawyer during the questioning phase of an investigation can also help you understand exactly what your charges may be and how the criminal justice system works. Even if you do not believe there is a strong case against you, you should prepare for the worst-case scenario by seeking legal help and building a solid defense.
Negotiating with Prosecutors before Charges are Filed
The team of attorneys at Berry Law has a long history of working with local and federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Our working relationships allow us to better negotiate and fight for our clients.
For example, an attorney might set up a proffer session that allows you to give information to the prosecution in return for reduced charges or lesser criminal penalties. Depending on the situation, a lawyer could even help you resolve your case before any charges are filed. Obtaining legal counsel sooner rather than later is generally the best course of action.
Defending Parties Against Various Types of Criminal Charges
Our firm has a proven track record of success in many types of criminal cases. We have helped defendants and their families protect their rights in state and federal trials. A determined Lincoln attorney can develop creative defenses to criminal charges such as:
- Drug offenses – Nebraska sets forth harsh laws regarding the manufacturing, distributing, delivering, dispensing, or possession of various controlled substances. Our attorneys understand how to fully evaluate drug cases and devise creative defense strategies to win cases at trial or negotiate favorable pre-trial plea agreements.
- Sex crimes – A diligent attorney will take critical steps to help you improve your chances of obtaining an acquittal, reduced charges, or minimized penalties. Our legal team will work tirelessly to fight your charges and protect your livelihood, and we have won jury trials for a number of clients facing criminal charges for sex-related offenses.
- White-collar crimes – These financially motivated, non-violent crimes are often very complex. A lawyer with extensive knowledge of accounting and investment principles can be invaluable in this type of case.
- Violent crimes – Because convictions on violent crime charges, including murder and assault, generally carry harsh penalties and lengthy prison sentences, it is essential to work with an attorney who will listen to your side of the story, uncover the truth, and devise the most effective defense strategy.
- Domestic violence charges – It is critical to reach out to a local criminal lawyer who understands the legal consequences and social stigma of a domestic abuse conviction. Our team of attorneys knows how emotionally challenging these cases can be and will thoroughly investigate the case and work to resolve the matter as quickly and effectively as possible.
While these are some of the most common types of cases handled at our firm, this list is by no means exhaustive. The dedicated attorneys at Berry Law are prepared to assist you in any criminal case. If you are facing criminal charges in Lincoln, contact our team today to start building your defense.
Building a Successful Defense Strategy in Lincoln
Every criminal case is different, and different defense strategies work better in certain situations. The most effective defense strategy in your case will depend on the nature of the alleged crime and the amount of incriminating evidence against you.
It is critical to work with a Lincoln attorney who has had experience and success with a wide variety of criminal cases. At Berry Law, we feature a team of attorneys who have experience in a wide variety of cases. We can ensure you work with an attorney who has experience handling cases similar to yours.
The right defense strategy could mean the difference between freedom and a lengthy prison sentence. Berry Law is aware of the main legal defense strategies recognized in Nebraska courtrooms.
Arguing that the Defendant Did Not Commit the Crime
One of the most straightforward defense strategies is arguing that you did not commit the crime.
- Insufficient Proof – The prosecution has the burden of proving that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled attorney can help you find holes in the prosecution’s evidence to cast reasonable doubt.
- Alibi – A lawyer can help you prove you were at another location during the time of the alleged crime. An alibi could be testimony from a credible witness or time-stamped footage showing you in another place when the alleged crime occurred.
If the prosecution does not meet their burden of proof, you are more likely to prevail at trial. Occasionally, with the right kind of exculpatory evidence, a skilled local attorney can even convince the prosecutor to drop the charges before the case goes to trial.
Emphasizing Extenuating Circumstances
Even when there is irrefutable proof that you committed a crime, there are still viable defense strategies. With mitigating circumstances, defendants can occasionally obtain acquittals, avoid punishment, or have their sentences reduced. Our team of skilled criminal attorneys has had success with the following defense strategies:
- Self-defense – In situations involving physical altercations, you could argue that you felt an immediate danger to your physical safety.
- Consent – Arguing that the other party gave you his or her consent could be a valid defense in cases involving alleged sex crimes or kidnapping.
- Intent – Many criminal offenses, such as theft, fraud, and white-collar crimes require proof of intent. This means the prosecution must demonstrate that you purposely committed the alleged act. In these cases, a defense attorney can help you prove that you made a mistake or accidentally committed the alleged crime.
- Insanity – If you can produce psychiatrists or other mental health professionals who can testify that you committed the crime because you were legally unable to distinguish right from wrong, you may receive rehabilitation therapy instead of a prison sentence.
- Entrapment – A seasoned attorney can help you argue that an undercover police officer coerced you into committing the crime.
Even if none of the above defense strategies applies to your individual case, our team of dedicated attorneys can help you fight for your constitutional rights. We will fully examine the case and craft a defense strategy that is customized to your specific situation.
Criminal Penalties for Felony Convictions in Lincoln
In Nebraska, felonies are crimes punishable by more than one year in prison. Nebraska Revised Statute § 28-105 sets forth four classes of felony offenses, with some of those classes having subcategories. The classes range from Class IV felonies—the least serious—to Class I felonies, which are the most serious and carry the harshest punishments. The following are the penalties authorized by state law for each type of conviction:
- Class I felony – the death penalty
- Class IA felony – a life sentence
- Class IB felony – a minimum of 20 years in prison up to a maximum of a life sentence
- Class IC felony – a minimum of 5 years in prison up to a maximum of 50 years in prison
- Class ID felony – a minimum of 3 years in prison up to a maximum of 50 years in prison
- Class II felony – a minimum of 1 year in prison up to a maximum of 50 years in prison
- Class IIA felony – no minimum term, but a maximum of 20 years in prison
- Class III felony – a maximum of 4 years in prison and 2 years post-release supervision, a $25,000 fine, or both. If there is a prison term, there is also a minimum 9-month post-release supervision period.
- Class IIIA felony – a maximum of 3 years in prison and 18 months post-release supervision, a $10,000 fine, or both. If there is a prison term, there is also a minimum 9-month post-release supervision period.
- Class IV felony – a maximum of 2 years in prison and 12 months post-release supervision, a $10,000 fine, or both.
In addition to the penalties that are set forth above, you could face enhanced penalties for an alleged repeat offense. The social ramifications of a felony conviction are also serious. If you are convicted of a felony, you will lose your right to own a firearm. You might also have a professional license revoked. It is vital to start working with a trusted attorney right away to fight back against your criminal charges.
Potential Punishments for Misdemeanor Offenses
Nebraska courts treat crimes differently, depending on the degree of severity of the offense. Generally, the more serious the offense, the greater the penalty upon conviction. Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felony crimes.
Under Nebraska Revised Statute § 28-106, there are 7 classes of misdemeanors. Class I and Class W misdemeanors are generally the most serious. The penalties for each class of misdemeanor vary. The maximum punishment for each class of misdemeanor is as follows:
- Class I misdemeanor – Up to a $1000 fine, a year of imprisonment, or both
- Class II misdemeanor – Up to a $1000 fine, 6 months of imprisonment, or both
- Class III misdemeanor – Up to a $500 fine, 3 months of imprisonment, or both
- Class IIIA misdemeanor – Up to a $500 fine, 7 days of imprisonment, or both
- Class IV misdemeanor – Up to a $500 fine, no imprisonment
- Class V misdemeanor – Up to a $100 fine, no imprisonment
- Class W misdemeanor – These are usually associated with drunk-driving charges, and the penalties vary depending on the specific details of the alleged offense and the number of prior convictions. However, for the first conviction, you will face up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine.
Although the penalties for misdemeanor convictions may not seem that harsh, it is still important to fight those charges as early in the legal process as possible. A misdemeanor conviction will appear on your permanent criminal record and can negatively impact many aspects of your life. If you are facing misdemeanor charges, a hard-working defense attorney can help you work toward the best possible outcome in your situation.
Reach Out to a Lincoln Criminal Attorney Today
A criminal conviction can come with significant consequences, so you should not underestimate the severity of your charges. Even if you think the prosecution’s case is weak, it is essential to consider the impact of the potential penalties and prepare accordingly.
An experienced can help fight your charges. and will stand up for your rights throughout every step of the criminal process. Whether you are facing a simple misdemeanor or an aggravated felony charge, an experienced Lincoln criminal lawyer can help. The attorneys at Berry Law treat every case with the same degree of care and importance because we understand the dramatic impact a criminal conviction can have on your future.
In any criminal case, our goal is a dismissal of all charges or an acquittal. If that is not possible, we will work towards the next best possible outcome, which could be a favorable plea agreement that is accompanied by a lesser sentence or community service. Our legal team will keep you updated throughout every stage of the criminal process and inform you of all your options so that you can make informed decisions about your case.
Berry Law’s outstanding case record demonstrates our commitment to aggressively defending accused parties at trial. Our lawyers will take the time to understand your individual case and work with you to obtain the best outcome for you.
A criminal charge does not have to ruin your life. Our team of dedicated defense attorneys will fight to protect your rights and get your life back on track. Contact our firm today to set up a confidential consultation.