Nebraska takes a strong stance against any hints of people possessing or selling controlled substances. No matter what circumstances you may find yourself in, if the police have pressed charges against you, you should start building your defense.
Distribution charges do not always mean a person was actually going to sell or distribute drugs. They may simply mean that the police suspected, from the surrounding situation, that the person planned on carrying out those actions.
A Nebraska drug distribution lawyer could help you understand what exactly the police believe you did and what evidence the police may have against you. Once you have established that information, a skilled drug lawyer can build a strong defense and fight the charges.
Laws Governing Drug Distribution
The law governing drug distribution appears in Section 28-416. The law states that, unless authorized elsewhere, no one may intentionally or knowingly distribute or possess with the plan to distribute any controlled substances.
The court may take into consideration the amount of a substance the police discover. The bigger issue, however, is the intent to distribute or actually distributing the substance.
The court may also impose higher penalties if the person convicted acted near an educational facility or an area where young people are often present. The presence of firearms can also lead to increased penalties.
If the police accuse someone of possessing several pounds of an illicit substance, the federal government may get involved and take over the case. That may result in greater punishments and time in federal jail.
When is This Offense a Felony in Nebraska?
Drug distribution is always a felony in Nebraska. However, the severity of the charge will depend on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime. Nebraska has a default rule that states: if the substance involved is listed in Schedule I, II, or III of the Nebraska statutes 28 – 405 and is an exceptionally hazardous drug, it is a considered a Class II felony. If the substance in question was any other substance listed in this same section of the statutes, it is considered a Class IIA felony. If the substance involved is listed in Schedule IV or V of section 28 – 405, it is considered a Class IIIA felony.
Although Class IIIA felonies are not considered as severe, convictions still carry strict penalties. A conviction for a Class IIIA felony has a possible sentence of up to three years in state prison. Upon release, a person must still undergo at least 9 months of post-release supervision. He or she may also face maximum fines of $10,000.
Class IIA felonies, like Class IIIA felonies, have no minimum prison time, although a person could still face up to 20 years in state prison. Class II felonies do have a minimum prison time of one year and a maximum of 50 years in state prison.
Charges for Cocaine, Crack, or Methamphetamine
If the substance involved was cocaine, crack, or methamphetamine, the felony charge may be upgraded. If someone is found distributing 140 grams of these substances, the charge is a Class IB felony. If the amount of these substances was between 28 grams and 140 grams, the charge is a Class IC felony. When the amount in question is between ten grams and 28 grams, the charge is a Class ID felony.
Just as the charges for drug distribution felonies vary, so too do the penalties. The penalties for a Class ID felony are between three and 50 years in state prison. Those convicted of a Class IC felony face between five and 50 years in prison. Class IB felonies carry potential sentences of 20 years to life in prison. These are the most severe felony sentences for drug distribution convictions.
There are several defenses that may be applicable depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, the Constitution prohibits illegal searches and seizures. If the police found some evidence in an unconstitutional manner, that evidence should be excluded from any possible trials. If the police searched a vehicle improperly, that person may be able to mount a strong defense to any related charges. Even if the police had a warrant, that does not guarantee that the warrant was valid.
If the police arrest a person with several other people, the police may charge everyone nearby with distribution, even if one person had no knowledge that another in the group had a controlled substance. The law requires that a person “knowingly” distribute or possess with intent to distribute. An attorney can examine the specific circumstances of the charges to build a defense.
Enlist the Services of a Nebraska Drug Distribution Attorney Today
It can be difficult to know what to do if the police have accused you of a crime. However, a Nebraska drug distribution lawyer can help build a strong defense against the charges you are facing. Call today for a confidential case evaluation to discuss your case with a skilled attorney at Berry Law.