DUI Laws in Nebraska

This article provides a comprehensive overview of DUI laws in Nebraska, including statutory provisions, penalties, and procedures.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Nebraska, carrying significant legal consequences. This article provides a comprehensive overview of DUI laws in Nebraska, including statutory provisions, penalties, and procedures. The information is based on legitimate sources such as government websites and official laws.

Overview of DUI Laws in Nebraska

Definition of DUI

In Nebraska, DUI is defined under Nebraska Revised Statute § 60-6,196. According to the statute, it is illegal to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle:

  • With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
  • While under the influence of alcohol or any drug.
  • With a BAC of 0.02% or higher if the driver is under 21 years of age.

Nebraska law sets different BAC limits based on the driver's age and vehicle type:

  • Standard Drivers: 0.08% BAC.
  • Commercial Drivers: 0.04% BAC.
  • Drivers Under 21: 0.02% BAC.

Nebraska's implied consent law, found in Nebraska Revised Statute § 60-6,197, requires drivers to submit to chemical tests (breath, blood, or urine) if lawfully arrested for DUI. Refusal to comply can result in administrative penalties, including license suspension.

Penalties for DUI in Nebraska

First Offense DUI

A first offense DUI in Nebraska is classified as a Class W misdemeanor. Penalties include:

  • Jail Time: 7 to 60 days.
  • Fines: $500.
  • License Revocation: 6 months.
  • Probation: Possible probation with mandatory alcohol education or treatment.

Second Offense DUI

A second offense within 15 years is also a Class W misdemeanor, but with harsher penalties:

  • Jail Time: 30 to 180 days.
  • Fines: $500.
  • License Revocation: 18 months.
  • Probation: Possible probation with mandatory alcohol education or treatment.

Third Offense DUI

A third offense within 15 years is a Class W misdemeanor with the following penalties:

  • Jail Time: 90 days to 1 year.
  • Fines: $1,000.
  • License Revocation: 15 years.
  • Probation: Possible probation with mandatory alcohol education or treatment.

Fourth and Subsequent Offenses

A fourth or subsequent DUI offense within 15 years is a Class IIIA felony:

  • Jail Time: Up to 3 years.
  • Fines: Up to $10,000.
  • License Revocation: 15 years.
  • Probation: Possible probation with mandatory alcohol education or treatment.

Aggravated DUI

An aggravated DUI involves a BAC of 0.15% or higher or other aggravating factors such as causing injury or death. Penalties are more severe and can include longer jail sentences, higher fines, and extended license revocation periods.

Administrative Penalties

Administrative License Revocation (ALR)

Nebraska's ALR program imposes administrative penalties independent of criminal charges. If a driver fails or refuses a chemical test, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will revoke their license:

  • Failed Test: 180 days for first offense, 1 year for subsequent offenses.
  • Refusal: 1 year for first offense, 18 months for subsequent offenses.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Offenders may be eligible for an IID permit, allowing them to drive during the revocation period. The IID requires the driver to pass a breath test before starting the vehicle.

DUI Process in Nebraska

Arrest and Booking

When a law enforcement officer suspects a driver of DUI, they will conduct field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test. If the driver fails these tests, they will be arrested and taken to a police station for booking.

Chemical Testing

At the station, the driver will undergo chemical testing to determine their BAC. Refusal to take the test results in automatic administrative penalties.

Arraignment

The driver will appear in court for arraignment, where they will be formally charged and enter a plea. If the driver pleads not guilty, the case proceeds to trial.

Pre-Trial Motions

Both the defense and prosecution may file pre-trial motions, such as motions to suppress evidence or dismiss charges.

Trial

During the trial, both sides present evidence and witnesses. The judge or jury will determine the driver's guilt or innocence.

Sentencing

If the driver is found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence based on Nebraska's DUI laws and the specifics of the case.

DUI Defenses in Nebraska

Challenging the Stop

One common defense is to challenge the legality of the traffic stop. If the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, any evidence obtained may be inadmissible.

Questioning the Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests can be challenged based on their administration or the driver's physical condition. Factors such as medical conditions or poor road conditions can affect test results.

Contesting Chemical Test Results

Chemical test results can be contested on various grounds, including improper calibration of testing equipment, improper administration of the test, or contamination of the sample.

Rising BAC Defense

The rising BAC defense argues that the driver's BAC was below the legal limit while driving but increased by the time the test was administered.

DUI Impact on Driving Record and Insurance

Driving Record

A DUI conviction remains on a driver's record for 15 years in Nebraska. This can affect future employment opportunities and result in higher insurance premiums.

Insurance Rates

Insurance companies view DUI convictions as high-risk behavior, leading to significantly higher premiums. Some insurers may even cancel the policy altogether.

DUI and Employment

Professional Licenses

Certain professions, such as commercial drivers, pilots, and healthcare workers, may face additional consequences, including suspension or revocation of professional licenses.

Background Checks

Employers often conduct background checks, and a DUI conviction can negatively impact job prospects, especially in fields requiring a clean driving record.

DUI Education and Treatment Programs

Alcohol Education Programs

Nebraska requires DUI offenders to complete alcohol education programs, which cover the dangers of impaired driving and strategies for avoiding future offenses.

Treatment Programs

In cases involving alcohol dependency, the court may mandate participation in treatment programs, including counseling and support groups.

Conclusion

Nebraska's DUI laws are stringent, with severe penalties designed to deter impaired driving and enhance public safety. Understanding these laws and the associated penalties is crucial for all drivers. For more detailed information, refer to the official Nebraska Legislature website: Nebraska Legislature DUI Statutes.

By adhering to these laws and making informed decisions, drivers can contribute to safer roads and avoid the serious consequences of a DUI conviction.

About the author
Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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