Since the War on Drugs began several decades ago, states across the U.S. have systematically increased the penalties for violations of drug-related criminal offenses. Everyone knows that the potential penalties you face if convicted of dealing drugs are dramatically harsher than those associated with a conviction for possession of drugs. How does a Nebraska drug crime attorney defend a claim of dealing? Is it possible to get an accusation of dealing reduced to possession?
What Does Nebraska Law Say?
Nebraska Revised Statute Section 28-416 governs criminal offenses related to dealing drugs. Specifically, Section 28-416(1) reads 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.
You will notice that the word “dealing” is not found anywhere in the statute. That is because “dealing” is a layperson term. The statute uses the terms manufacturing, distributing, delivering, and dispensing to describe conduct that the average person would associate with “dealing” drugs. Nebraska Revised Statute Section 28-401 provides definitions of those terms, 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;
Defense to Dealing
Although every case is unique, there are some common defenses used to defend a claim of dealing, including:
- Claim personal use – this defense admits that the defendant was in possession of the drugs; however, argues that the drugs were for personal use. For this defense to work, the quantity of drugs involved must be within the range of believable for personal consumption and the State cannot have concrete evidence of dealing, such as an undercover buy, written records, or tools of the trade (individually packaged drugs, scales, chemical precursors, “cutting” agents etc.)
- Attack the credibility of the informant – if the arrest was subsequent to a “buy” and the buy involved an informant, attacking the credibility of that informant can be a viable defense. This works best when the prosecution does not have additional corroborating evidence.
- Challenge the search – if the state’s case is based on a search and seizure that uncovered a large quantity of drugs, it may be possible to challenge the legality of the search. If the search is declared to be illegal, all evidence seized pursuant to the search may be declared inadmissible at trial.
Contact a Nebraska Drug Crime Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been arrested for dealing drugs in Nebraska, consult with an experienced Nebraska drug crime criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.