Since the “War on Drugs” began in the United State back in the 1970s, both the federal government and most states governments have steadily worked to strengthen the laws relating to drug offenses and increase the penalties for violations of those laws. If you were recently arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance in the State of Nebraska, you are likely facing serious penalties if convicted of that offense. In case you are unaware of the penalties you are facing, an Omaha drug crime attorney explains the penalties for possession of a controlled substance in Nebraska.
What Counts as a Controlled Substance?
First, it helps to clarify what the law means by a “controlled substance.” The U.S. federal government passed the “Controlled Substance Act” back when the “War on Drugs” began. The Act developed a list of “schedules” for different drugs. The Controlled Substance Schedules classify drugs based on the drug’s likelihood for abuse and addiction along with whether there is any known medical use for the drug. Schedule I substances have the highest likelihood of abuse or addiction and the least known medicinal use. The State of Nebraska, like most states, followed suit by creating its own controlled substance schedules. Nebraska classifies “controlled dangerous substances (CDS) into five schedules as well using the same criteria.
For the most part, the drugs you would imagine are found in Schedule I and II, including substances such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Interestingly, however, marijuana has been classified as a schedule I controlled substance by the federal government since the CSA was passed almost 50 years ago. Despite its classification as a schedule I controlled substance, marijuana is treated differently than other drugs in Schedule I by most states, including Nebraska.
Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Nebraska
The potential penalties you face if convicted of possession of a controlled substance in Nebraska will depend on several factors, including:
- The controlled substance involved
- The quantity of the controlled substance
- Your personal criminal history (or lack thereof)
- Whether you were charged will simple possession or possession with intent to manufacture or distribute
Not surprisingly, the potential penalties are much greater if you possessed a significant quantity of a controlled substance, particularly if the State has charged with intent to manufacture or intent to distribute.
If you are convicted of possession with the intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, you will likely be convicted of a Class II felony, a Class IIA felony, or a Class IIIA felony, the penalties for which are as follows:
- Class II Felony – 1 to 50 years imprisonment
- Class IIA Felony – up to 20 years imprisonment
- Class IIIA Felony — up to 3 years imprisonment and 9 to 18 months post-release supervision and/or up to a $10,000 fine
If you are convicted of personal possession of a controlled substance without an allegation that you had the intent to manufacture or distribute the substance, you will likely be convicted of a Class IV Felony. A Class IV Felony carries up to two years in prison and nine to 12 months of post-release supervision and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
If you are convicted of possession of more than a pound of marijuana you may also be charged and convicted of a Class IV Felony, facing the same penalties as previously stated. Possession of a lessor amount of marijuana, however, may only result in a fine, unless it is your third or subsequent conviction in which case it will be for a Class IIIA misdemeanor. A Class IIIA misdemeanor carries up to seven days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
How Can an Omaha Drug Crime Attorney Help?
A conviction for a drug related crime, even if you manage to avoid a prison sentence, can have devastating consequences. Most employers will not even consider hiring someone with a history of drug convictions. You may also face disciplinary action if you hold a professional license or be disqualified from getting one down the road. The best way to avoid these consequences is to consult with an experienced Omaha drug crime attorney right away if you have been charged with a drug related offense.
If you have been charged with a drug related criminal offense in the State of Nebraska it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Omaha drug crime 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 criminal defense attorney.
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