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Nebraska Criminal Law: An Overview

The consequences of crimes for both the victim and the criminal are rarely ever temporary or completely resolved. If the victim survives a crime, they could be faced with lasting personal and/or fiscal issues. A criminal's crimes likewise affect their life and liberties long after they've completed their sentence. Nebraska's criminal laws offer some rights and protections that can help prepare you to face these loting consequences.

Use LawInfo's criminal law articles to help educate yourself about Nebraska's laws and how they affect your case. You can learn about the difference betwng-laseen misdemeanors and felonies, intoxicated driving charges and many other state-specific criminal law topics. You can also use LawInfo to connect with a Nebraska criminal law attorney in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island or elsewhere in the state.

Nebraska Prosecutors File Criminal Charges

There's often confusion about how Nebraska's criminal justice system works, specifically about the role of the police and attorneys. The police participate mostly during the first few stages of a criminal case. They investigate a crime, arrest suspects, gather evidence and file reports to the court.

Beyond these initial steps, the police may serve as witnesses during trial but their authority over the case ends when the prosecution decides to file charges with the court. The prosecution can be one of several types of attorneys depending on the nature of the crimes and jurisdiction:

  • County Attorneys prosecute local and county criminal charges.
  • District Attorneys prosecute state criminal charges.
  • The Nebraska Attorney General provides assistance to local and state criminal prosecution and prosecutes most major fraud and business crimes on the state's behalf.
  • S. Attorneys prosecute federal criminal charges.

Nebraska's government provides a useful Victim's Guide that breaks down the state's criminal justice system.

Crime Classifications in Nebraska

Every state has its own system of classifying crimes which also identifies the statutory punishments for each classification. Nebraska has two main criminal offense classifications: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the most serious crimes and incur the severest penalties. Misdemeanors are less serious and incur less severe penalties.

In general, felonies are penalized with a year or more of imprisonment while misdemeanors receive up to a year of imprisonment. Both types of offenses are further sub-divided into multiple classes, each of which carries maximum and minimum penalties.

The classes and penalties for felonies include:

  • Class I—Death (capital punishment).
  • Class IA—Life imprisonment.
  • Class IB—20 years to life imprisonment.
  • Class IC—Five to 50 years imprisonment.
  • Class ID—Three to 50 years imprisonment.
  • Class II—One to 50 years imprisonment.
  • Class IIA—Up to 20 years imprisonment.
  • Class III—Up to four years imprisonment PLUS nine months to two years of post-release supervision or a $25,000 fine, or both.
  • Class IIIA—Up to three years imprisonment PLUS nine to 18 months of post-release supervision or a $10,000 fine, or both.
  • Class IV—Up to two years imprisonment PLUS nine to 12 months of post-release supervision or a $10,000 fine, or both.

The classes and penalties for misdemeanors include:

  • Class I—Up to one year imprisonment or a $1,000 fine, or both.
  • Class II—Up to six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine, or both.
  • Class III—Up to three months imprisonment or a $500 fine, or both.
  • Class IIIA—Up to seven days imprisonment or a $500 fine, or both.
  • Class IV—$500 fine.
  • Class V—$100 fine.
  • Class W—A DUI or implied consent violation, resulting in mandatory penalties of:
    • Seven to 60 days imprisonment PLUS a $500 fine for the first offense.
    • 30 days to six months imprisonment PLUS a $500 fine for the second offense.
    • 90 days to one year imprisonment PLUS a $1,000 fine for the third offense.

Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified criminal defense lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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