In Nebraska, some crimes fall under the state government and others are considered violations of federal law. When this is the case, the offense will be subject to the federal sentencing guidelines that are uniform throughout the country. The guidelines give judges broad discretion in determining the amount of time a convicted person spends in prison. The most recent sentencing guidelines are available by the United States Sentencing Commission.
Federal offenses often carry much heavier penalties than state-level crimes, so you should seek help from a dedicated attorney who has experience working with the Nebraska federal sentencing guidelines. With the help of an aggressive lawyer, you can argue for a better outcome in your case.
After a person pleads guilty or the court finds the defendant guilty, the judge may issue an order creating a sentencing plan. If they do not, the default rules will generally apply, as seen in the Nebraska Criminal Rules §32.1(b).
The defendant’s attorney may send information about the offense and other details on the defendant to the probation and pretrial services officer. The officer will then create a presentence report and a recommendation for sentencing and send it to the government and the defendant. The parties may also send proposals for alternative sentencing to the court. Once this is done, the court will set a sentencing date no later than 90 days after a guilty plea or finding of guilt.
Examples of Federal Sentencing in Nebraska
Each crime has an associated punishment. Generally, each offense has levels called the base offense level, and the level of offense determines the severity of the potential penalties.
First Degree Murder
First-degree murder has some of the most severe punishments possible in the sentencing guidelines. It is a 43 out of 43 on the base offense level, meaning a person charged with this crime may face life in prison or the death penalty. The court generally will not allow a downward departure, which means a lesser sentencing, in the event of a premeditated killing.
Second Degree Murder
The base offense level for this crime is 38 out of 43. However, it is possible for the offense to have an upward departure if the conduct related to the alleged act was exceptionally brutal or shocking. The base punishment is up to 293 months in prison for a first offense.
Aggravated assault is the act of one person harming another. It starts at level 14. However, a person’s conduct could cause the crime to move up. If the individual planned the attack, the court might add two levels. If the actor discharged a gun, the crime will generally move up five levels. Merely possessing a firearm during the act will move the crime up three levels. Finally, if the actor permanently injured the victim, that is seven additional levels.
Possession of heroin or opiates is a level 8 offense. The possession of cocaine, LSD, or PCP are a level 6 offenses. These are acts which fall within Zone A, meaning the court does not have to send the actor to jail. Instead, probation may be appropriate.
Get Help Understanding the Nebraska Federal Sentencing Guidelines
If the government accused you of violating federal law, you should take time to understand the Nebraska federal sentencing procedures. These guidelines may be challenging to understand, but a well-versed attorney can help. Call Berry Law today for a confidential case evaluation to discuss your situation.