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Chemist working to manufacture illegal drugs

First Offense: Manufacturing Charge

Hug and Jacobs LLC May 6, 2024

Drug manufacturing refers to the process of producing illegal substances through various chemical or natural methods. This includes growing plants like cannabis for drug production and chemically creating substances like methamphetamine or ecstasy. 

Drug manufacturing also extends to the preparation and processing of these substances into forms ready for distribution and use. In legal contexts, being charged with drug manufacturing implies involvement in any part of this production process, from the initial creation to the final product ready for sale.  

This activity is highly illegal and strictly penalized under both federal and Nebraska state laws. But what if it's your first offense? Will you get off easy or face harsh consequences? 

First-time offenders charged with drug manufacturing in Nebraska are still subject to severe penalties. Just because it's your first offense doesn't mean you'll get let off lightly. While your criminal history will be considered during your trial, other factors like the weight of drugs and whether minors were involved will also heavily affect the consequences you face.  

Hug and Jacobs LLC represents clients in and around Omaha, Nebraska, and we're here to help you through these challenging times. Whether you're in Fremont, Lincoln, Papillion, Wahoo, or another nearby community, contact us today to set up a free initial consultation. 

Types of Manufacturing Charges

In Nebraska, as in many states, manufacturing charges can vary widely in severity depending on the type and quantity of drugs being produced.  

Common types of manufacturing charges include: 

  • Cultivation of marijuana: Involves growing cannabis plants for personal use or distribution. 

  • Production of methamphetamine: Includes the synthesis of methamphetamine through chemical processes. 

  • Illegal drug lab operation: Operating a facility for producing controlled substances, often involving hazardous chemicals. 

Nebraska-Specific Information

Nebraska's approach to narcotics is based on a classification system that aims to address the severity of drug-related offenses with a sense of fairness. The law recognizes different levels of risk associated with various substances by categorizing them into schedules.  

For example, producing a substance considered extremely dangerous, as classified by Schedules I, II, or III, results in a Class II felony charge, reflecting the serious risk it poses to the community.  

However, not all offenses carry the same weight. Manufacturing a less hazardous drug from those schedules is deemed a Class IIA felony, while substances listed in Schedule IV or V are associated with a Class IIIA felony.  

The legislation also takes into account specific drugs, like cocaine and amphetamines, assigning penalties that match their impact on society.  

Penalties for a First Offense

It's important to understand that for some criminal charges, first-time offenders might receive a lesser penalty. However, this leniency often doesn't extend to manufacturing charges. While your past criminal record is taken into account, the severity of your consequences can also be influenced by other factors, such as the type/amount of drugs involved, whether minors were affected, and where the manufacturing took place.  

Nebraska law places stringent penalties on those found manufacturing substances near schools or other designated areas, which can lead to enhanced charges. 

It's a challenging situation to be in no matter what, but being aware of these details can only help you prepare for the road ahead. 


Nebraska law treats cannabis manufacturing differently than other manufacturing charges. There is no minimum mandatory sentence. Possessing marijuana between one ounce and one pound is a Class II misdemeanor. 

Possessing over one pound of marijuana qualifies as a Class IV felony offense. Should an individual be convicted under this classification, the resultant punishment includes mandatory sentencing of two years in incarceration, followed by a period of 12 months under supervised release, to ensure compliance with legal statutes and rehabilitation measures. 


Nebraska’s drug law has heightened the penalties for cocaine manufacturing, emphasizing the gravity of these offenses. Those found manufacturing cocaine face severe consequences, underscoring the importance of rehabilitation and understanding in addressing substance misuse. Here are the revised penalties: 

  • Manufacturing 140 grams or more of cocaine can lead to life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum of 20 years. 

  • Those found manufacturing 28-140g face significant penalties as well, with up to 50 years in prison and a mandatory minimum of 5 years. 

  • For amounts ranging from 10-28g, the law stipulates up to 50 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of three years. 

  • Manufacturing less than 10 grams is treated seriously as well, classified as a serious felony with a minimum one-year incarceration, which can extend up to 50 years based on additional factors. 

It’s also important to note that the total weight triggering these penalties includes any mixture, not requiring the substance to be purely cocaine. For example, a small amount of cocaine mixed with a larger amount of another substance, like baby powder, still results in severe charges based on the total weight of the mixture. 

This approach aims to deter drug manufacturing but also highlights the need for compassionate interventions that address the root causes of drug abuse, offering paths to recovery rather than solely focusing on punishment. 

Legal Defenses Against Manufacturing Charges

Facing a manufacturing charge does not automatically result in a conviction. If this is your first offense, you may be able to use that to your advantage; but having a historically clean record won't be enough to sway the jury. You'll need a skilled criminal attorney who cares about your future and knows how to build a robust defense. 

Numerous defense strategies may be applicable to your case, including: 

  • Lack of Knowledge: Claiming that you were unaware of the illegal activity taking place on your property can be a viable defense, especially if there is no concrete evidence suggesting your involvement or direct knowledge of the manufacturing process. 

  • Insufficient Evidence: For a conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were involved in the drug manufacturing process. Highlighting the lack of evidence or pointing out inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case can undermine their argument. 

  • Unlawful Search and Seizure: If law enforcement conducted a search without a proper warrant or probable cause, evidence obtained during that search might be inadmissible in court. This defense is based on the Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. 

  • Duress: Arguing that you were forced or threatened into participating in drug manufacturing can be another defense strategy. This requires proving that you would not have engaged in the activity without being under duress. 

  • Entrapment: If law enforcement officials induced you to commit a crime you would not have otherwise committed, you might claim entrapment as a defense. However, this argument requires proving that the idea and motivation for the crime originated with the police. 

Manufacturing charges are serious, but with the right support and approach, it's possible to mitigate the consequences. 

The Importance of Legal Representation

If you're facing a first-offense manufacturing charge, obtaining experienced legal counsel is essential. A criminal defense attorney can offer crucial advice, develop a strong defense strategy, and protect your rights throughout the legal process. 

At Hug and Jacobs LLC, our defense lawyer focuses his practice on advocating for those facing serious drug charges. Located in Omaha, Nebraska, we offer our services to individuals across the state. If you or someone you know is facing a manufacturing charge, contact us today for a free initial consultation.