Criminal defense cases cover both criminal suits — charges brought by the government to punish an individual for an act classified as a crime — and civil suits — claims brought by individuals or organizations as a dispute over rights and duties.
As a criminal attorney, this is one of the first questions I often hear when answering the phone or meeting with a client. While how much jail time you will receive depends highly on the offense, the facts surrounding the alleged offense, your age, your prior criminal history, and a multitude of other potential relevant factors; there are guidelines that you can look to which will at least provide you with a best and worst case scenario should you be sentenced to a term of incarceration. Sometimes the statutory, or guideline, sentences will be inaccurate, as they do not take into account plea agreements worked out by your criminal defense lawyer.
In Nebraska state criminal cases, offenses are grouped into different classifications. Each classification has a minimum and maximum punishment for that specified offense. Crimes are grouped as either infractions, misdemeanors or felonies. Then there are additional sub-classifications within each of those categories (i.e. Class I Felony vs. Class IV Felony).
The first place to start when trying to figure out how much jail time you are facing is to figure out what classification of offense, or offenses, the prosecuting attorney has charged you with. I have attached two charts below taken from Sections 28-105 and Section 28-106 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes which list the corresponding penalties for different classifications of misdemeanor and felony offenses in the state of Nebraska. Note that if you are charged in federal court, there are different statutes and different sentencing guidelines. I did not attempt to include any federal sentencing guideline information below, as it is significantly more complicated. Whether you are facing prosecution in state court or federal court, you will definitely want to discuss the range of penalties you are facing with you criminal lawyer, as it can be extremely confusing. The information below is included simply to give you an initial idea of what your possible punishment may be should you plead guilty or be found guilty at trial.
*PLEASE NOTE THAT MANY OF THE FOLLOWING PENALTIES HAVE CHANGED SINCE 2012. FOR AN UPDATED LIST OF FELONY CLASSIFICATIONS AND PENALTIES FOR FELONY OFFENSES IN NEBRASKA, PLEASE CLICK HERE.