Since the “War on Drugs” began in the United States four decades ago, individual states have steadily worked to pass legislation strengthening their drug related criminal offenses as well as laws that increase the severity of the penalties for violating those laws. If you were recently arrested and charged with selling drugs in the State of Nebraska, you probably already realize that you are facing a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. The best thing you can do for yourself, and your future, at this point is to retain the services of an experienced defense attorney. What you do not want to do is make the mistake of listening to the police and/or the prosecuting attorney who have likely already tried to convince you that your case is hopeless and a conviction is a foregone conclusion. Until you sit down and discuss the unique set of facts and circumstances with your attorney, there is no way to know what defenses might be available to you; however, you need to know that your Omaha drug defense lawyer may be able to use any of several common defenses that apply in cases involving accusations of selling drugs.
Nebraska Controlled Substance Laws
Nebraska Revised Statute 28-416 governs the possession, distribution, manufacture, and delivery of a controlled substance within the state, 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.
Defenses Your Omaha Drug Defense Lawyer Might Use
Although you may have been led to believe that a conviction is eminent by the arresting officer and/or the prosecuting attorney, there is a good chance that you have a viable defense. Considering the consequences of a conviction for selling drugs, you owe it to yourself to pursue any possible defenses, such as:
- Illegal stop – an arrest for selling drugs often begins with a random, or unrelated, traffic stop. Once stopped, something about the driver, the vehicle, or the passengers makes the officer suspect that drugs are present in the vehicle and a K-9 search follows. One avenue of defense is to challenge the legality of the original stop. Your attorney may also challenge the amount of time you were detained after the original reason for the stop concluded and/or the reason for the subsequent search.
- Illegal search – drug related arrests are also typically the result of a search and seizure of a home or business. If your arrest stemmed from the search of your home, your lawyer may challenge the search because the law only allows a home to be searched under very narrow circumstances that include obtaining a warrant first unless one of the few exceptions apply
- Constructive possession – if the prosecutor is basing the charges on a constructive possession argument, your attorney will undoubtedly use that in your defense. Constructive possession is used to satisfy the “possession” element of a crime when the accused did not have the contraband under his/her direct, physical control. Instead, the prosecutor must convince a judge or jury that the defendant had constructive possession, meaning he/she had the “intent to maintain dominion and control over the contraband.” Your lawyer will argue that you did not. For instance, if you were in a vehicle with three other occupants and the drugs were found in the console, your attorney will argue that they belonged to someone else in the vehicle.
- Personal use – although the law separates the level of crimes by the quantity of the controlled substance involved, there is no magical quantity or weight that separates personal use from dealing. For instance, if you had a 1.5 pounds of marijuana it would be a sufficient quantity to be charged as a criminal offense instead of an infraction, but that does not legally change the offense to one involving the sale or distribution of the marijuana.
Contact an Omaha Drug Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug related criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Omaha drug defense lawyer right away to discuss possible defenses. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.