If you are arrested for a marijuana offense, you may be concerned about what the charges will be and how they will affect you.

In any drug case, there are differences between what constitutes a misdemeanor and a felony. Fortunately in Nebraska, what is considered a felony charge is less stringent than in other states. However, when a marijuana charge becomes a felony, penalties can get severe.

Misdemeanor for up to 1 lb

Possession of any amount of marijuana up to 1 lb is considered a misdemeanor. On the first offense, if it is 1 oz or less, it is an infraction, which comes with a maximum $300 fine and no risk of incarceration. For second and third offenses, the fine rises to $500 and comes with a possible five- to seven-day sentence.

For any amount over 1 oz and up to 1 lb, it is a misdemeanor with a maximum $500 fine and potentially up to three months incarceration. By comparison, in neighboring Missouri it is a felony to possess more than 35 g of marijuana, which is roughly 1.25 oz.

Paraphernalia charges never turn into a felony in Nebraska. A first offense for possession comes with a maximum $100 fine and no incarceration. The sale of paraphernalia will incur a maximum $1,000 fine and comes with a possible sentence of up to six months or one year, depending on whether the sale was to an adult or a minor. Advertising the sale of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor with a fine up to $500 and a potential sentence up to three months.

When a misdemeanor becomes a felony

Possession charges become a felony if they are over 1 lb, and the penalties are significantly higher. These charges come with a maximum fine of $10,000 and a possible jail sentence of five years.

The sale, manufacturing and cultivation of marijuana is always a felony. The sale of any amount on a first offense is a felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year and a maximum sentence of 20 years, and a maximum fine of $25,000. Sale to a minor within 1,000 feet of a school or between 100 and 1,000 feet of other designated areas is a maximum sentence of 50 years, but comes with no fines.

Subsequent sale offenses are a felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and a maximum sentence of life. No fines are incurred on these charges.

The possession of hash and concentrates or selling, manufacturing or possessing with the intent to distribute them is a felony. Possession charges come with a maximum fine of $10,000 and a maximum sentence of five years. Selling, manufacturing or possessing hash and concentrates with the intent to distribute is a felony with a maximum fine of $25,000 and a possible sentence between one and 20 years.

If you are arrested

If you find yourself under arrest for a marijuana charge, penalties vary greatly if it’s a misdemeanor or a felony. While Nebraska law has softer penalties for misdemeanors and has a higher threshold than other states for when possession amounts turn to felonies, the penalties for felonies are extensive.

Consider seeking counsel from a criminal defense attorney with experience handling drug cases. Marijuana charges could threaten your future, and these professionals have the expertise to help you protect it.