Methadone has long been used as an alternative “therapy” for drug addicts who are addicted to heroin because methadone helps with the withdrawal symptoms heroin addicts typically experience when they try to quit. Methadone, however, is actually a powerful narcotic pain medication in its own right. As such, methadone is frequently prescribed both to heroin addicts through methadone clinics and to chronic pain suffers through pain management doctors. As long as you have a valid prescription for methadone it is perfectly legal to possess the drug; however, possession or sale of methadone in Nebraska without a valid prescription carries serious penalties if convicted. Because of the various factors that can impact your ultimate sentence, it is always best to consult an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a methadone offense; however, it may be beneficial, in the meantime, to know the general penalties for possession or sale of methadone in Nebraska.
Nebraska’s controlled substances laws, like most states, mirror the federal Controlled Substances Act, or CSA, in most regards. Like the CSA, Nebraska categorizes controlled substances into schedules (I – V in Nebraska), with Schedule I substances having a high risk of addition and no accepted medical use in the United States down to Schedule V substances which have a low risk of addiction and a commonly accepted medical use in the U.S. One factor that impacts the potential penalties for a conviction of Nebraska’s controlled substance laws is the Schedule of the drug involved. Methadone, for example, is a Schedule II controlled substance. In addition, Nebraska also labels certain controlled substances as “exceptionally hazardous drugs.” An exceptionally hazardous drug is “(a) a narcotic drug, (b) thiophene analog of phencyclidine, (c) phencyclidine, (d) amobarbital, (e) secobarbital, (f) pentobarbital, (g) amphetamine, or (h) methamphetamine.” If the substance involved carries the “exceptionally hazardous drug” distinction it also typically increases the potential penalties.
Methadone is classified as a Schedule II substance in Nebraska and falls under the “exceptionally dangerous drug” definition. Nebraska Revised Statute 28-416 governs the manufacture, distribution, delivery, dispensing, or possession with intent of controlled substances. According to that statute, it is a Class II Felony to do any of the preceding with regard to methadone. Therefore, sale of methadone is charged as a Class II felony in Nebraska. The same statute makes it a Class IV felony to possess methadone without a valid prescription.
A Class II felony in Nebraska carries a minimum on one year and a maximum of 50 years in prison if convicted. A Class IV felony carries a maximum of two years in prison. There are, however, factors that can aggravate your potential sentence, such as commission of the crime near a school or other area where children frequent.
If you have been charged with the possession or sale of methadone 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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