Drug charges in Nebraska can range from minor infractions to serious felonies. What is Class 4 Felony Drug Possession in Nebraska? Read on and we’ll break it down for you.
What is Class 4 (IV) Felony Drug Possession in Nebraska?
A class 4 felony drug possession charge in Nebraska usually means that you have been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance. The penalty for a Class IV Felony Drug Possession ranges from probation to a maximum of 2 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. This is the lowest grade felony drug charge under Nebraska law.
Possession of a Controlled Substance is the common name given to most drug charges in Nebraska. This applies to any drug considered a “controlled substance” by law. The most common would be methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, concentrated cannabis, and most commonly abused prescription pills like opiods and Xanax.
The basics of the law are found in Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-416. Nebraska also follows the Uniform Controlled Substances Act which lays out five “Schedules” or classifications of drugs that are considered controlled substances. You can see the full schedule here.
Outright possession, or possession in a certain amount, of any of these listed drugs, results in a “possession of a controlled substance” charge. The level of felony can increase based on certain factors outlined in the next section.
The schedules and the law are long and confusing. In addition, the penalties can be increased based on the quantity of certain drugs or the location of the person charged.
For example, the penalties can be increased if you are arrested on a playground or near a school.
Possession of marijuana is handled differently. See this post on Nebraska marijuana laws to see the range of penalties for getting caught with weed.
What are the Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance, or PCS in Nebraska?
Usually Possession of a Controlled Substance is a Class IV Felony in Nebraska. Depending on which “schedule” the drug you possess falls into, it can have an impact on what you are charged with.
For instance, possession of any controlled substance in Schedules I, II, or III, can be charged with a class II or IIA felony. On the other hand, possession of any drug in Schedules IV or V, can be charged with a class IIIA felony. Depending on the circumstances of your specific case, there can be different classifications of felonies that apply.
What is Possession of a Controlled Substance, or PCS, with Intent to Deliver?
Adding “with intent to deliver” to a possession of a controlled substance charge changes things substantially. The law is much more harsh on people suspected of selling drugs.
“Intent to deliver” basically means that you are caught carrying an amount of drugs that signals you may be trying to sell, distribute, or dispense of them, rather than just for personal use.
Generally, the state looks at circumstantial evidence to determine your intent, such as quantity, equipment and supplies found, the place it was found, the packaging, and witness testimony.
The prosecution will try to use these factors to prove that you are a drug dealer. Depending on the drug involved, the intent to distribute boosts the penalty.
Another possible way to be charged with selling drugs is under “Distribution of a Controlled Substance.” This could be the charge if you are caught in the act of selling drugs or sell to people working under cover or on behalf of law enforcement.
Distribution of a controlled substance carries a larger penalty than simple possession.
What about prescriptions drugs?
Possession of prescription drugs, without a valid prescription, is violating Nebraska law regarding ‘Schedule 2” controlled substances.
This means that possession of Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Codeine, or other prohibited “Schedule 2” drugs without a prescription is a felony.
What about drugs like meth?
Possession of methamphetamine is a Class IV Felony as long as the quantity doesn’t reach a certain amount.
On the flip side, even the smallest quantity can be a felony. Technically, you can be charged for possession if you have a pipe with residue on it as long as there is enough residue to test.
The amount of years you can get for possession of meth in Nebraska changes depending on the specific situation. However, some general guidelines are that meth possession can get anywhere from 5 years- life. Again, this is depending on the specific factors of the case and individual.
Other factors include amount, place, other offenses, possible distribution, precursors, etc.
Is a Class 4 Felony Drug Charge Serious?
Yes. Any felony charge is a serious issue. Not only do you face the chance of being put in jail or prison, the felony conviction will have lasting effects on your life.
Convicted felons lose certain civil rights like the right to vote and own firearms. In addition, its harder to get a job.
What are the Legal Defenses to Felony Drug Charges?
Legal defenses or strategies vary based on the facts of each case, but there are always things to look out for in most drug cases.
It may be possible to challenge the legality of the search of your person, home or car. There may be other issues with how the evidence against you was obtained.
Other issues include the chemical makeup of the substance you are charged with, the issue of possession, or the credibility of the witnesses involved.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. You will want someone to go through the investigative reports with a fine tooth comb to look for these issues.
Should You Hire a Lawyer if You Are Facing a Class IV Felony Drug Charge?
A felony criminal charge is not something you should mess around with. While it may be ok to represent yourself on a minor infraction, once you are facing a felony there is a lot at stake.
You have a Constitutional right to represent yourself in any criminal proceeding, but in most cases with a felony you will want a pro in your corner.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to spot potential issues and defenses. They can also help guide you through the process and help relieve some of your anxiety as you work your way through the system.
If you are in Nebraska and have been charged with a class IV felony drug charge, you can call us for a free consultation and case review. Either check out our Contact Us page or just call at 402-704-7529.