It can be a daunting prospect for a person to know that they will have to appear in court to answer criminal charges. Even relatively minor allegations can result in life-changing consequences after a conviction. After all, any criminal offense in Nebraska can result in a jail sentence and would create a permanent criminal record.
Fortunately, an experienced Omaha criminal lawyer could help you protect your rights in court. Whether you are looking to negotiate a plea deal or fight the charges at trial, a dedicated defense attorney could work with you to achieve the best outcome possible.
What’s the Difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony Crime in Omaha?
Misdemeanor crimes are known to be less severe than felony crimes. Consequently, felonies typically carry much harsher penalties and higher fines. However, a conviction for either type of offense can have a severe, long-term impact on your freedom and future. A conviction for a misdemeanor or a felony will typically result in a permanent criminal record, which poses an array of challenges.
For example, someone with a permanent criminal record may find it difficult to obtain employment, gain acceptance to specific schools or universities, or obtain certain licenses. In Nebraska, a convicted felon will lose their voting rights and their right to own a gun.
What Are the Standard Sentences for Misdemeanor and Felony Offenses?
It is essential to understand that the sentences imposed for misdemeanors and felonies in Omaha vary depending on the alleged crime and whether any aggravating factors exist that could enhance the underlying penalties. Additionally, someone who has been convicted of a crime in the past may face a harsher sentence for a subsequent conviction.
Certain types of misdemeanors are punishable by only a fine and no prison time. For example, being convicted of a Class V misdemeanor in Omaha carries a $100 fine. On the other hand, a Class I misdemeanor could result in a financial penalty of up to $1,000 and 12 months in prison.
There are 10 categories of felonies in the state of Nebraska. A Class IV felony, the least severe felony in Nebraska, carries a potential penalty of up to 24 months in jail and/or a financial penalty of $10,000. Class IA and Class I felonies are the most severe felony crimes a person 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.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal defense attorney in Omaha can work to protect the rights of defendants from the day they are hired. This includes not just making appearances on their behalf in court, but also working to preserve their constitutional rights while in police custody.
Most people see criminal defense attorneys in action during trials, but the work on a case begins months prior. As soon as an attorney is hired to work on a case, they can 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 harmful questioning conducted by police.
The preliminary 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 questions for a defendant’s future, including the amount of bail in their case and any pre-trial release conditions. An Omaha criminal attorney could help protect your rights during every stage of the legal process.
Defending a Criminal Charge in Omaha
There may be numerous defenses that a skilled attorney can employ to refute your criminal charges. The appropriate defense against your charges will depend on type of offense as well as the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident. 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 could be brought to light and incorporated into your defense.
Furthermore, any evidence that law enforcement found while violating your rights may be suppressed in court. For example, if law enforcement did not have probable cause to search your vehicle and were not given consent by you, any evidence they find in a search could be suppressed.
The attorneys at Berry Law understand what law enforcement can legally do during an investigation, a traffic stop, and questioning. If we find a violation of your rights led to your arrest, we can work to get the any related evidence suppressed.
Work with an Omaha Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Anyone facing a criminal allegation should take the charges seriously. Whether this is a defendant’s first criminal charge or they are looking to avoid being labelled as a repeat offender, the potential consequences for a conviction can be harsh.
At our firm, our Omaha criminal lawyers could evaluate the strength of the prosecutor’s claim, identify a realistic goal, and develop a defense strategy designed to meet that goal. Once retained, our legal team could help negotiate a fair plea deal or make legal arguments to exclude evidence relevant to your case. Call today to learn more about how we can help you fight your charges.