If you were recently arrested and charged with one of the numerous theft related criminal offenses in the State of Nebraska, you would be wise to be concerned about the outcome of your case for several reasons. That is particularly true if you are charged with a felony offense because the potential judicial penalties are much more serious than if the offense was a misdemeanor. How do you know, however, if you need a felony lawyer in Nebraska? The best, and easiest, way to answer that question is to consult with a felony lawyer; however, it may also benefit you to learn more about the various felony theft offenses and the potential penalties if convicted.
All Thefts Are Not Equal
In the State of Nebraska, Nebraska Revised Statute Section 28-509 et seq. governs many of the theft offenses. According to that section, some, but not all, of the more commonly charged theft offenses include:
- Theft by unlawful taking or disposition
- Theft by shoplifting
- Theft by renting or leasing a motor vehicle
- Theft by deception
- Theft of property lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake
- Theft by extortion
- Theft of services
- Theft by receiving stolen property
Although each of the above-mentioned theft offenses have distinct definitions and may require distinct elements to be met in order for the State of Nebraska to secure a conviction, they do all have something in common – the “test” used to determine the severity level of the offense with which the defendant is charged. That “test” is found in Nebraska Revised Statute Section 28-518 which “grades” offenses as follows:
- Theft constitutes a Class IIA felony when the value of the thing involved is five thousand dollars or more ($5000+).
- Theft constitutes a Class IV felony when the value of the thing involved is one thousand five hundred dollars or more but less than five thousand dollars ($1500-$4999).
- Theft constitutes a Class I misdemeanor when the value of the thing involved is more than five hundred dollars but less than one thousand five hundred dollars ($501-$1499).
- Theft constitutes a Class II misdemeanor when the value of the thing involved is five hundred dollars ($500) or less.
In addition to these classifications for theft offenses, a second or subsequent conviction for a Class I misdemeanor elevates the offense to a Class IV felony and a third or subsequent conviction for a Class II misdemeanor elevates the offense to a Class IV felony. Conviction of a Class IIA felony theft means you are facing up to 20 years in prison.
Penalties for a Felony Theft Conviction
If you are convicted of a Class IV felony theft in Nebraska you face a potential judicial sentence of up to two years in prison, 12 months of post-release supervision and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The judicial penalties you face if convicted of a theft offense are not your only concern though. In today’s electronic age, a criminal background check is run on just about everyone for just about everything it seems. You can certainly count on most prospective employers to run a background check as well as most potential landlords. A theft conviction, particularly a felony theft conviction, does not look good to employers nor to landlords because both have much to lose if you steal from them down to line.
How Can a Felony Lawyer Help?
Given the fact that you may be facing a considerable term of imprisonment if convicted, couple with the fact that a conviction will likely disqualify you for future employment and housing, it only makes sense to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska felony lawyer to try and avoid a conviction altogether. An experienced attorney can review the facts of the case and look for things the police may have done wrong, defenses you may have, and/or weaknesses in the State’s case against you.
If you have been charged with any of the various felony theft offenses in the State of Nebraska it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska felony lawyer right away. 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.