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Omaha Criminal Defense Blog

How can a drug conviction hurt you?

When you're charged with drug-related crimes, the severity of a potential conviction may take a while to sink in. Fortunately, you have Nebraska legal professional McGoughlaw P.C., L.L.O., here to show you the intense impact that a conviction can have.

When considering the effects of a drug crime conviction, many people focus on the shorter term. These impacts can be quite traumatic. They may include large fines and time in jail or prison. If you're facing financial difficulties, these fines can potentially send you into debt. Even a few months in jail can also impact your life irreversibly, as you may lose your job or be unable to stay enrolled in school during this period.

New tech gadget lets sheriff's scan vehicles for drugs

Residents in Nebraska who are ever stopped in cars by police or other law enforcement officers should always understand their rights when it comes to the questions asked and to potentially having their vehicles searched. While certainly officers are able to investigate potential crimes or illegal actions, suspected defendants also have rights and in these situations. Now, there are new ways that law enforcement might perform searches and this may be a big game changer for many.

The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office has recently obtained and begun using a special scanner that is able to detect drugs, money and other substances even if hidden in special compartments or behind custom-built trap doors in cars, trucks and other vehicles. Reports indicate that in one situation, the x-ray machine is said to have led officers to discover methamphetamine and in another stop cocaine.

Relapse sends man back to prison

While the President of the United States recently declared the country's opioid epidemic a public health emergency, many in Nebraska and other states continue to struggle with the difficulties associated with serious drug addiction. These difficulties include the toll on a person's physical and emotional health but extend to their friends and families as well. When people are thrown into jails or prisons rather that given help for this disease, many people end up suffering.

According to the Nebraska Department of Corrections, of the nearly 53,000 people in the state's jails or prisons, more than 13 percent are there for drug crime offenses. Even more are sentenced to time for offenses in which drugs may have been a factor or the root cause such as theft. The Lancaster County Public Defender is on record saying that he supports drug diversion programs as these would offer treatment and help for people to truly combat their illness rather than simply punishing them for breaking a law.

Elderly woman charged with drunk driving

Many people in Nebraska may well have an image in their minds of the stereotype person who gets arrested for and charged with drunk driving. Quite typically, this image is not very positive and essentially assumes that only very irresponsible people would ever be facing this type of criminal charge. The stereotype may also make people think that only young drivers are arrested for driving under the influence. That could actually not be further from the truth.

A good example of this can be seen in a recent case in Lincoln involving a woman who is 78 years old. Reports indicate that she was driving along a street where construction was taking place in the middle of a weekday afternoon. At one point, the woman is said to have driven her vehicle over the median and then back again. At some point in this process, her vehicle came into contact with a construction worker who was walking on the median at the same time.

How an attorney helps after a DUI charge

Facing a charge of driving under the influence is an incredibly uncertain time in a person's life. If you are ever in this situation, you could feel like your driver's license, professional credentials and your job are all in jeopardy. Society does not take drunken driving lightly, and you may feel a certain social stigma after being charged. However, just because you feel trapped does not mean you are without legal options.

You still have rights

More people need help, not jail, for drug issues

Reports about people who are arrested for and charged with crimes involving opioid substances in Nebraska are nothing new. Sadly, these types of reports and situations may actually reflect another reality that has been growing in recent years. That reality is a growth in the number of people addicted to these opioid substances.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has recently released information showing just how many people are said to have used heroin or prescription drugs. In 2016, more than two million people have been identified as having problems related to either opioids or heroin in 2016 alone. In the same year, more than one million people are said to have used heroin and another 11 million or more people abused prescription medications involving opioids.

New facility for work-release inmates

Nebraska residents who have been convicted of crimes or who may have loved ones in the state prison system know that overcrowding in the state's facility has been a serious problem. In fact, when the residence rate reached 160 percent of capacity, Nebraska had the second-highest inmate capacity rate of any state in the nation.

Fortunately, some people realized the need for change and a new state law has mandated that the inmate capacity rate be brought to at least 140 percent by the year 2020. A new facility in Lincoln is being touted as part of the effort to get to this goal. In this facility, 100 people who are close to the end of their sentences can live in a dorm-style setup. They will be allowed to get jobs and leave the facility to go to work but will maintain their residence at the correctional facility.

Drug makers targeted in investigation

In Nebraska as elsewhere in the United States, the increased use of and reliance on opioid medications and other prescription drugs has risen to levels that nobody may have been able to predict a couple of decades ago. While one may want to believe that these drugs really were originally designed to provide good care and relief to people facing serious pain or other medical problems, the reality may have proven to be something quite different.

These drugs are now known to be extremely addictive and connected to many criminal and mental health problems. Once addicted to these drugs, patients may be led down a very dark and dangerous path of life. For a while, the focus in the country seemed to be on what were targeted as druggies or criminals but that may not be shifting as a greater awareness is taking place among the public.

Drug crime sentencing not yet resolved

In Nebraska, state lawmakers have been at odds with law enforcement teams and criminal prosecutors for some time now regarding sentencing guidelines for select offenses and there appears to be no end in sight to the issue just yet. Specifically, the groups are arguing over whether or not there should be mandatory minimum sentences for some drug crimes. Some more serious offenses are not included in the debate.

One areas of concern for lawmakers is the overcrowding known and acknowledged to be a problem in the state's prisons and jails. Another area of concern they cite is that mandatory minimum sentences prevent a person from being eligible for early release based upon their good behavior while incarcerated. Finally, lawmakers assert that using these predefined criminal sentences prevents and eliminates judge discretion. Instead they say that judges should be able to assign a sentence based on the facts of an individual case.

How can I find a job after prison?

If you have been convicted of a criminal offense in Nebraska and were ordered to spend some time in a jail or a prison, one concern you may have is about how you will ever find a job again once your sentence has been served. Certainly it can be challenging to get a job with a criminal record but it need not be impossible. With a plan and the right help, you may be able to get yourself on a good path of employment and a more positive future.

As the Prison Fellowship explains, there are programs available that focus on helping former inmates seek employment. One thing you might want to make a priority is to find a good mentor or someone to advocate for you. Ideally this would be someone who is familiar with the programs and processes involved in finding jobs for people who have criminal pasts. You might find such a person via a church or other religious organization. Some community agencies are also focused on this effort and may be good starting places for you.

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Success Stories

  • Defendant was charged with sexual assault of a minor. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm got the alleged victim to confess that she made the whole thing up. Charges were dropped against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with possessing a large quantity of marijuana. Following a complete investigation by our firm, the State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with embezzling more than $300,000.00, from a previous employer. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm highlighted a number of inconsistencies and questionable statements. The State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with child abuse resulting in death. Following the investigation of our firm, depositions of key witnesses and presentation of our findings to the prosecutor, the State agreed to dismiss the charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. The matter proceeded to trial and the jury found our client Not Guilty.

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • “Jim, Thank you for all of your help over the past couple weeks. I cannot emphasize enough how much better I have felt after receiving your help. Keeping my record clean as possible means a lot to me and I couldn’t have done it without you, thank you!” -TP
  • “Jim, It's always a pleasure to see you in court. Your effective, professional representation of your clients is so helpful.” -LW
  • “Jim, On behalf of the V family, please allow me to offer a HUGE thank you for your exemplary legal representation - especially considering you took on this case a mere 5 months ago. ” -CV
  • “Thank you so much Jim for everything you have been doing on my case, you are greatly appreciated. I will contact you if anything else comes up//until then God bless you! ” -SH
  • “Jim, thank you for everything. After I was resentenced I became eligible for camp custody. I am now on the RDAP list and doing fine” -MH
  • “JThank you so much for writing back. I read your response and I want you to know I completely trust you” -KV