Since the “War on Drugs” began back in the 1970s, laws relating to possession of a controlled substance have been strengthened in most states across the country and penalties for a violation of those laws have been increased. Nebraska is among those states. Today, a conviction for possession of a controlled substance can have extremely serious short and long-term consequences. If you find yourself facing charges for possession you may be wondering “Can a drug defense attorney help me if I’m charged with possession of a controlled substance?” The simple answer to that question is “yes.” A drug defense attorney can help you in a number of ways that you may not even have considered. Considering what is at stake, it only makes sense to have an experienced Nebraska drug defense attorney on your side.
Nebraska’s Possession of a Controlled Substance Laws
Nebraska Revised Statute 28-416 governs offenses related to the manufacture, distribution, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance. The severity of the charges you face, and consequently the penalties you face if convicted, depends on the type and quantity of the controlled substance involved. Subsection (1) of the N.R.S 28-416 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.
Penalties for a Conviction of Nebraska’s Controlled Substance Laws
The potential penalties you face if convicted of possession of a controlled substance in Nebraska will depend on several factors, including, but not limited to:
- The type of controlled substance. (Marijuana laws, for example, tend to be more lenient than laws relating to possession of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine)
- The quantity of controlled substance involved. Simple possession will not subject to the same penalties as possession of an amount large enough to indicate dealing.
- Your own criminal history (or lack thereof). Some criminal offenses can be aggravated by the existence of a previous conviction for the same, or similar, offense. In addition, the more felony convictions you rack up the harsher the potential penalties become. Conversely, if you have a clean criminal record you may be eligible for a lighter sentence or even a diversion program.
People often focus solely on the potential judicial penalties they face if convicted of a criminal offense; however, the non-judicial penalties are frequently just as troubling. Conviction for possession of a controlled substance, for example, could result in any, or all, of the following non-judicial penalties:
- Termination from current employment
- Lost future earnings
- Disqualification for benefit programs
- Ineligibility for federal student loans
- Disqualified for the purchase of a firearm
- Interference with custody or visitation with minor children
- Disciplinary action for a professional license
How Can a Drug Defense Attorney Help?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when charged with any criminal offense is to assume they have no defense, basically giving up without a fight. All too often, however, there are defenses available that could result in avoiding a conviction. If you are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance, for example, it may be the case that the law enforcement officers that investigated your case and/or arrested you did something illegal along the way. If your house was searched, for instance, the search might have been conducted illegally. If that is the case, any evidence found during the search may be excluded from a trial. If a search warrant was acquired to search your house, the basis of the warrant might be questionable. The manner in which the warrant was executed could also be challenged. The list goes on and on of potential defenses to a possession of a controlled substance charge. The point is that even if you are convinced of your own guilt, you owe it to yourself to have an experienced Nebraska drug defense attorney evaluate your case to see if you have a viable defense.
Even if a viable defense does not appear to be forthcoming, an experienced attorney should still be a valuable asset because he/she can help negotiated a plea agreement that is as advantageous as possible to you.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense 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.