A misdemeanor crime is less serious than a felony. Nebraska has seven classes of misdemeanors: Class I through Class V misdemeanors, a Class IIIA misdemeanor and a Class W misdemeanor. Class I and Class W are the most serious misdemeanors.
For information about felonies, see Nebraska Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Some examples of Class I misdemeanors in Nebraska are identity theft (if the value gained is less than $200), impersonating a peace officer, and assault in the third degree.
Hazing, second degree criminal trespass, and passing a bad check in an amount less than $200 are Class II misdemeanors in Nebraska.
Class III misdemeanors include theft of property valued at $200 or less, littering, a first reckless driving offense, and possession of marijuana (more than one ounce but less than one pound).
A repeat offense of owning a dangerous dog and a third offense of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana are Class IIIA misdemeanors.
Class IV misdemeanors are not jailable offenses and include some agricultural crimes, some gambling offenses, harassment of a police animal, and purchase of a lottery ticket by a person under the age of 19.
Class V misdemeanors also are not jailable offenses. The sale of a puppy or kitten under 8 weeks old without the animal’s mother by an individual (not a shelter), smoking or using tobacco products under the age of eighteen, and obstructing entrance or exit from a polling place are Class V misdemeanors.
Driving under the influence (first, second or third offense) is a Class W misdemeanor.
Nebraska law requires that a criminal prosecution begin within a certain amount of time after a crime is committed or believed to have been committed. This criminal statute of limitations limits the length of time the state can wait before filing charges against a person. The time limit for jailable misdemeanors in Nebraska is eighteen months and, for non-jailable misdemeanors, one year. For more information on the criminal statute of limitations, see Criminal Statute of Limitations in Nebraska.
A conviction for a misdemeanor in Nebraska can become part of your permanent criminal record. If you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. A conviction for even a minor crime can hurt you when you are looking for a job, applying to rent a house or apartment, or applying for a professional license. A person convicted of misdemeanor possession of an illegal substance – even a tiny amount for personal use only – can be barred from ever receiving federal financial aid for students.
An experienced attorney can determine whether you have any grounds for dismissal of the charges against you, explore plea options, or represent you at trial. Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.