If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Nebraska one of the first things you need to determine is the level of the offense so that you can determine what potential penalties you face. The potential penalties you face may then help you decide how to proceed with your case. Specifically, knowing how serious your charges are should have a significant impact on your decision to hire an attorney. If you are charged with a felony, it is in your best interest to retain the services of a Nebraska felony attorney to represent you throughout the prosecution of your case.
How Are Criminal Offenses Categorized in Nebraska?
Like most states, the State of Nebraska first divides criminal offenses into two broad categories – misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are the less serious offenses that carry a potential punishment of less than a year in jail if convicted. Felonies are the more serious offenses that carry a potential term of imprisonment of more than a year if convicted. Felonies are then further sub-divided into classes and corresponding penalties as follows:
- Class I – death
- Class IA felony – life imprisonment
- Class IB felony — maximum of life imprisonment with a minimum of 20 years imprisonment
- Class IC felony – maximum of 50 years imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of five years imprisonment
- Class ID felony — maximum of 50 years imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of three years imprisonment
- Class II felony – maximum of 50 years imprisonment with a minimum of one year imprisonment
- Class III felony – maximum of four years imprisonment and two years of post-release supervision and/or a $25,000 fine with a minimum of nine months of post-release supervision if imprisonment is imposed.
- Class IIIA felony – maximum of three years imprisonment and 18 months of post-release supervision and/or a $10,000 fine with a minimum of nine months of post-release supervision if imprisonment is imposed.
- Class IV felony – maximum of two years imprisonment and 12 months of post-release supervision if imprisonment is imposed and/or a $10,000 fine with a minimum of nine months of post-release supervision if imprisonment is imposed.
Is a Felony Conviction Different than a Misdemeanor Conviction?
The potential term of imprisonment and/or fines you may be sentenced to is one of the most obvious differences between a misdemeanor and a felony conviction; however, there are other important differences as well. Specifically, there are a number of non-judicial repercussions of having a felony conviction that do not apply to a misdemeanor conviction. As a convicted felon, for instance, you are not allowed to vote. A felony conviction also prevents you from purchasing or carrying a firearm and will likely prevent you from applying for citizenship if you are a foreign national. Finally, a growing number of employers will automatically disqualify you for position with the company if you have a felony conviction, without regard to the circumstances that surrounded the conviction. Given the numerous judicial and non-judicial consequences of a felony conviction it only makes sense to hire a felony attorney if you have been accused of a felony offense.
How Can a Felony Attorney Help?
Ideally, you will have legal representation from the moment of initial contact with law enforcement whey. In the offense in question is a felony. If you are contacted by the police and asked to “talk” to them about an ongoing investigation, you should politely explain that you need to check with your attorney first and immediately hire a felony attorney. If you have already been charged with an offense, you should also politely decline to talk to the police and assert your right to counsel. Once you have hired an experienced Nebraska felony attorney your attorney will immediately start helping by ensuring that your rights are protected, including your right to remain silent. From there, your attorney will review the State’s case against you and begin working on your defense. Even if you are completely innocent, you still need an experienced attorney on your side to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not wrongly convicted.
If you are suspect or an accused in a felony crime, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska felony attorney right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced felony attorney.