Each crime carries its own classification and penalties, and generally the more severe the crime the greater the punishments. Additionally, when crimes grow in severity, they also begin to require what are called mandatory minimum sentences. These are sentencing guidelines that a judge must follow when an individual is convicted of a crime. Although these minimums are set, an experienced attorney can assist in fighting your charges and help you find the best possible outcome for your case.
What are minimum sentences?
Minimum sentences occur when the classification of the crime requires the defendant to serve a minimum amount of time in jail or prison, or when someone is considered a habitual criminal and also faces mandatory sentencing guidelines. A defendant could be given more time than the minimum sentence, but they are not allowed to serve any amount less, no matter what their criminal background may be. For instance, if a person is convicted of a Class IB felony in the state of Nebraska they are required to serve a minimum sentence of twenty years imprisonment, but they could be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Furthermore, if a sentencing contains a minimum time served, then the defendant may not be able to accumulate “good time” credit when they are serving their sentences and are not immediately eligible for probation.
How are they applied?
In certain instances, a minimum sentence is a part of the classification of crime. All classifications above a Class II felony have a minimum sentence, and a Class W misdemeanor carries a minimum sentence as well. They can also be applied when a person commits a certain crime with a firearm because of the inherent added danger of the weapon.
Minimum sentences can also be applied when a person is considered to be a “habitual criminal.” Someone is considered to fall under this category when they have been convicted, sentenced and served prison for a crime twice in Nebraska or any other state; or once in Nebraska and once in another state for terms that are not less than a year. Generally, habitual criminals will be served a minimum sentence of ten years. If certain crimes are committed, then the minimum sentence of a habitual criminal will be increased to 25 years.
Berry Law’s Dedicated Criminal Attorneys
Minimum sentences are a difficult topic to navigate, and if you are facing a criminal charge with a mandatory minimum sentence, you may be unsure of what the outcome will be. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys have tried many cases in which the client was charged with a crime that carried a minimum sentence. Contact a dedicated attorney at Berry Law to begin fighting your charges and increase your chances of reducing your charges and, ultimately, avoiding a minimum sentence. Call 402.466.8444 today to schedule a confidential consultation.