If you have been arrested and charged with dealing drugs in the State of Nebraska, you are undoubtedly worried about the outcome of your case. You also probably have a number of questions rolling around in your head. What defense do you have, if any? How much time are you facing if convicted? How can the prosecuting attorney prove that you were dealing drugs? Although every case involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, an Omaha drug felony attorney offers some insight.
Nebraska’s Controlled Substance Laws
First, it helps to be clear on what the law prohibits. Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 28-416 governs most offenses involving controlled substances, reading as follows:
Except as authorized by the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally: (a) To manufacture, distribute, deliver, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, deliver, or dispense a controlled substance; or (b) to create, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute a counterfeit controlled substance.
Although we routinely refer to the crime of “dealing” drugs, the statute actually prohibits manufacturing, distributing, delivering, and dispensing a controlled substance. It helps, therefore, to know how the law defines those actions. For that, we look to Nebraska Revised Statute Section 28-401 which provides definitions of those terms, the relevant portions of which are as follows:
- Dispense means to deliver a controlled substance to an ultimate user or a research subject pursuant to a medical order issued by a practitioner authorized to prescribe, including the packaging, labeling, or compounding necessary to prepare the controlled substance for such delivery;
- Distribute means to deliver other than by administering or dispensing a controlled substance
- Deliver or delivery means the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship
- Manufacture means the production, preparation, propagation, conversion, or processing of a controlled substance, either directly or indirectly, by extraction from substances of natural origin, independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container. Manufacture does not include the preparation or compounding of a controlled substance by an individual for his or her own use, except for the preparation or compounding of components or ingredients used for or intended to be used for the manufacture of methamphetamine, or the preparation, compounding, conversion, packaging, or labeling of a controlled substance: (a) By a practitioner as an incident to his or her prescribing, administering, or dispensing of a controlled substance in the course of his or her professional practice; or (b) by a practitioner, or by his or her authorized agent under his or her supervision, for the purpose of, or as an incident to, research, teaching, or chemical analysis and not for sale;
The State’s Burden
In any criminal prosecution, the State has the burden of proving a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Exactly how the prosecution intends to accomplish this lofty goal will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the arrest. Some common evidence used by the state to prove a charge of “dealing” includes:
- Undercover buys — this is typically the most difficult to refute because it involves an actual controlled buy by an undercover law enforcement officer which was probably also recorded on audio and/or video.
- Confidential informant – this also involves the sale of drugs but to a civilian, usually, someone who has been arrested himself/herself and is trying to get out of trouble by arranging the purchase of a much larger quantity of drugs from you. Questioning the reliability and motive of a CI is always a defense option.
- Drugs found pursuant to a search – challenging the legality of the search may be a defense option. Depending on the quantity seized, you may also be able to make the argument that the drugs were for personal use, not for distribution.
- Tools of the trade found in a search – this may refer to things such as scales, lab equipment, baggies, substances to “cut” the drugs, and anything else known to be used in the drug trade. Most of these items also have perfectly legitimate uses which may be argued as part of your defense.
- Records – written records of transactions and/or money owed for sales of a controlled substance can be very damning if they are fairly clear.
Contact a Nebraska Criminal Defense Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with dealing drugs in the State of Nebraska, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.