The possession and/or distribution of drugs is prosecuted harshly in Nebraska. Drug offenses and their subsequent penalties rely on a variety of factors, such as the amount and type of drug you possess.
While the possession of under one ounce of marijuana is not a criminal offense, it can still result in a fine and other penalties. Additionally, selling it or possessing more than one ounce is illegal.
The possession of any other type of controlled substance without a prescription, including so-called “street drugs,” is a felony-level offense in the state. Possessing any drug with the intent to sell it is also a felony that carries a mandatory state prison sentence upon conviction.
These harsh penalties make it important for those facing drug charges in Omaha to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. The Omaha drug lawyers from Berry Law are well-versed in Nebraska’s laws concerning drugs and common police tactics used to make arrests. We have experience defending clients facing a variety of controlled substance charges. If you are facing drug charges in this area, our skilled defense attorneys could work to protect your constitutional rights in court and fight for your freedom out of it.
Drug Possession Laws Applicable to Omaha
In Nebraska, it is illegal to possess over one ounce of marijuana. If the police search you and find under one ounce of marijuana, you could be issued a citation for $300 and forced to attend a drug education course. Even though this is not a criminal offense, there are still penalties attached to marijuana possession, as explained in Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-416 (13).
Possession of larger amounts of marijuana, other street drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or prescription drugs without a doctor’s note is much more serious. Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-416 (3) states that any person knowingly in possession of these items is guilty of a Class IV felony. This means that a conviction can result in up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. An Omaha attorney can work to build an effective defense strategy for the specific drug charges you are facing.
Laws Against Drug Distribution
Drug distribution charges are much more serious than allegations of drug possession. It does not matter if you allegedly sold these drugs for money or simply gave the drugs to friends—any distribution is illegal. There are also laws against holding drugs with the intent to distribute them.
While it is rare for a person to admit to police that they intend to sell the drugs in their possession, prosecutors can—and often do—rely on circumstantial evidence to prove their case, including:
- Multiple small packages of drugs
- Large quantities of cash
- Measuring equipment
- Customer ledgers
According to Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-416 (2), the baseline charge for selling exceptionally hazardous drugs in Omaha is a class II felony, which carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of one year with a potential maximum of 50 years. These penalties may increase depending on the quantity of the drug allegedly sold or if they were sold near a school.
Emphasizing a lack of intent to sell can be a powerful defense strategy for a drug charge and could potentially lead to the reduction or dismissal of charges. Talk to an innovative attorney for help fighting these types of drug charges.
Arrested on Interstate 80? Call Us for Help!
Law enforcement has been aggressively pulling over drivers on Interstate 80 in hopes of finding drugs, often overstepping their bounds and making questionable stops. Many out-of-state residents have unfortunately been the victim of such actions. If you have been the target of a drug arrest on Interstate 80, an experienced drug crime attorney in Omaha is ready to help you fight your charges.
We help out-of-state clients challenge their I-80 drug arrests with potential defenses that can include:
- Lack of training of drug-sniffing dogs
- No probable cause
- No reasonable suspicion
- Unreasonable length of traffic stop
Our attorneys represent all individuals facing drug charges. Berry Law is known for providing customized and effective legal advocacy, no matter how serious the charge.
What Factors Can Impact the Sentence for a Drug Charge?
There are a variety of factors that could impact the sentence someone receives when convicted of a drug crime in Omaha. Repeat offenders will almost always face more severe sentencing than if the individual is committing a drug offense for the very first time.
However, other factors can enhance the charge even if it is the individual’s first crime. For example, if you were accused of deliberately giving drugs to a minor or engaging in a drug offense near a school, you could face enhanced penalties. If you are concerned about increased penalties, reach out to a hard-working drug lawyer right away.
What are the Consequences of a Drug Conviction?
Besides jail time and financial penalties, a drug conviction can result in additional consequences. For example, some landlords will not rent to someone who has a criminal record.
Likewise, prospective employers might not be willing to hire a person with a drug conviction on their record. In Omaha, employers and landlords alike have the right to discriminate during the hiring process based on a criminal record. These convictions could lead to challenges finding employment or housing for the rest of your life.
A felony drug conviction can also impact your constitutional rights. If you are convicted of a felony drug charge, you will lose the right to own a firearm. You will also lose the right to vote after a felony conviction. Due to these consequences, it is vital to work with an attorney who can construct an effective defense strategy and fight for a reduction or potential dismissal of your drug charges.
Fighting a Drug Charge with an Omaha Lawyer
The determined lawyers at Berry Law have successfully handled many drug cases. We have the resources necessary to help you resolve your controlled substance case favorably. A lawyer could work with you to find exculpatory evidence before charges are even filed. After law enforcement files charges, a skilled lawyer can use several defense strategies to fight against a conviction.
Often, police will make an arrest without evidence to obtain a conviction. An experienced attorney would point out this lack of evidence at trial to strengthen your case.
It is also possible to get certain pieces of evidence thrown out due to police misconduct. Anything obtained through an illegal search or seizure cannot be used at trial. If an attorney can successfully exclude this evidence, the state might have no other option but to dismiss a case entirely.
Unreasonable Traffic Stop
You could also fight your drug charges if law enforcement pulled you over even if you did not commit a traffic violation. When law enforcement performs an illegal traffic stop, you may be able to get your charges dismissed altogether. Our team has experience helping clients fight drug charges based on illegal traffic stops.
Negotiating a Charge to a Lesser Offense
Even when the state will not dismiss a case, it could be possible to negotiate a charge down to a lesser offense. The most common example of this would be convincing the prosecution to change a felony drug charge to a misdemeanor. While not an outright dismissal, this outcome could dramatically reduce the likelihood of serious penalties. Even following a conviction, a strong defense strategy could lessen the penalties that come with sentencing.
Consult an Omaha Drug Attorney Right Away
The prospect of facing drug charges in a Nebraska court can be intimidating under any circumstances. Nebraska’s drug laws enforce harsh penalties for any person caught selling an illegal drug. Even instances of simple possession can result in felony convictions and a prison sentence.
An Omaha drug lawyer from Berry Law can fight aggressively on your behalf. Our attorneys could work with you to help identify defense strategies and apply them to your case. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation and learn more about your legal options.