If you have been charged with a drug-related criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, there is a good chance you are facing a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. Avoiding a conviction is undoubtedly your primary concern. However, if a conviction is inevitable, your secondary concern is likely hoping to avoid a prison sentence as a result of that conviction. Having spent at least one night in jail when you were arrested, you don’t want to return – particularly not for a lengthy period of incarceration. If you are not careful, though, you could even wind up back in jail before your case reaches a conclusion. Retaining the services of an experienced Nebraska drug defense attorney is the best way to ensure you remain out of jail now and in the future.
Drug Offense Penalties
In legal terms, “drugs” are referred to as “controlled substances” and are classified into five schedules under Nebraska law based on the risk of abuse and medicinal usefulness of the substance. Offenses involving a controlled substance are also broadly divided into those involving possession and those involving the manufacture, sale, or distribution of the substance. The potential penalties for a conviction of a drug offense depends on a number of factors, including:
- Whether it is a possession offense or a manufacture, sale, or distribution offense
- Under what schedule the drug involved is listed
- The quantity of drugs involved
- Where the conduct occurred and whether or not a minor was involved
- The defendant’s criminal history (or lack thereof)
While the penalties for possession of a controlled substance may only include the possibility of a relatively short period of time in jail, a conviction for the manufacture, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance could lead to a prison sentence of up to 50 years.
Violating Your Release Conditions While Your Case Is Pending
One way you could end up back in jail is by violating the terms of your pretrial release while your case is pending. When you were arrested, a bond was set. The purpose of bond is to ensure that a defendant will return to court for future court dates. Assuming you are not currently in custody, someone paid a bond to secure your release. There are conditions attached to your release while your case is pending. Anyone who is out on bond must remain in the jurisdiction, appear for all scheduled court dates, and not get arrested for another offense. You may also have additional pretrial release conditions that were imposed on you, such as reporting to a pretrial release officer, not testing positive for drugs or alcohol, and/or wearing an electronic monitoring device which tracks your movements. Violating any of the terms of your pretrial release will likely lead to a warrant for your arrest being issued and a return to custody for the duration of your case.
How Can a Drug Defense Attorney Help You Avoid a Return to Jail?
Hiring an experienced Nebraska drug defense attorney is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your future if you are facing any type of drug-related criminal offense. Having a drug defense attorney on your side will dramatically decrease the odds of a return to jail for several reasons. First, your attorney will ensure that you understand the terms of your pretrial release and explain what will likely happen if you violate those terms. In the event you do violate your release terms, your attorney will represent you at the violation hearing. Having an attorney represent you allows you to explain any extenuating circumstances and/or provide a solid legal defense as to why the judge should not send you back to jail. In addition, your drug defense attorney will investigate the underlying charges against you and prepare a defense in an effort to prevent you from being convicted. If a conviction cannot be avoided, your attorney will work hard to negotiate a favorable plea agreement on your behalf or present an argument at your sentencing to try and convince the judge you deserve a sentence which focuses on rehabilitation instead of incarceration.
If you are currently a defendant in a drug-related case in the State of Nebraska, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska drug defense attorney right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.