Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in every state, but the legal precedent for this charge and conviction depends on where you’re arrested. A DUI in Nebraska involves two veins of legal proceedings to establish the penalties in your case, and its minimum and maximum sentencing once convicted are determined under state law. To assure that you understand the process following this charge in Nebraska, hire a DUI attorney to walk you through the process, and make sure you know the answers to these commonly asked questions.
Important Questions Regarding DUI Charges in Nebraska
What are the legal proceedings involved with a DUI charge?
A DUI in Nebraska is a two-sided charge: civil and criminal. The civil side of the case involves the parameters of your license revocation, while the criminal proceedings analyze your arrest to deliver appropriate prison time, fines, and other penalties. Below is a full outline of the two sides of your charges.
- Civil: This part of proceedings exists because driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol violates the Administrative License Revocation rules established by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles. When you’re arrested, you will have the right to contest a license revocation for up to 10 days post-arrest if you believe you were wrongfully accused. If you decide to do so, you will have a civil hearing involving you, your attorney, the DMV hearings officer, and the arresting officer or officers. If you cannot prove your innocence, you will get your license revoked for 180 days or more with a sentencing delivered by mail. If you do not contest your license revocation, an option for a provisional license is on the table, which will be discussed later in this article.
- Criminal: When you are arrested, you will be put in prison until the bond—the sum of money paid to release a defendant from jail—is met. On your ticket, you will see an arraignment date, which is a meeting to advise you of your rights, the possible penalties you can receive upon conviction, and your trial date. This stage can happen remotely if you have a DUI attorney. Your attorney can also file pre-trial motions to gain more knowledge of the case, which you will learn about in detail later in this article. The trial itself can be a full legal proceeding in a courtroom, but most likely, there will be a plea bargain on the table that will reduce your sentence if you simply plead guilty. In either case, if you are found guilty, you will receive your sentencing in the courtroom following your trial.
Can I refuse a blood, breath, or urine test?
You can refuse a sobriety test, but under Nebraska law, doing so will automatically make you lose your license for one full year. You will also not have the opportunity to opt for an ignition interlock permit when convicted, which is a breathalyzer installed in your car that will only start the engine if you blow a blood alcohol content (BAC)
What types of pre-trial motions can my DUI attorney use?
In order for your attorney to build your case, they will likely use these motions to gain more information about your arrest:
- Motion for Discovery: Filing this motion will make the State produce documents pertaining to your case. These files can include police reports, calibration records for the breath testing machine, and bodycam or dashboard cam video.
- Motion to Produce: Under Nebraska law, the State must produce all evidence that needs scientific testing and that the prosecution intends to use as evidence against you. In a DUI case, this motion relates to blood and urine samples.
- Motion to Suppress: This motion is filed to confirm that the officer had a valid suspicion of criminal activity when they pulled you over. If the Court decides the officer was not justified in invading your privacy, none of the evidence collected at that stop can be used against you.
What are the penalties under Nebraska law for a DUI conviction?
It depends on whether or not this was your first DUI offense, what your BAC level was, and whether or not the judge grants probation. The parameters of your sentencing will be as follows:
- First conviction: The mandatory minimum under Nebraska law is seven days imprisonment, six-month revocation of your license, and a $500 fine. The maximum penalty for a first offense is sixty days imprisonment, six-month revocation of your license, and a $500 fine. If the Court allows probation, there is no minimum jail time, but there is a 60-day license revocation with ignition interlock and a $500 fine.
- Second conviction: There is a mandatory minimum of 30 days imprisonment, one-year revocation, and $500 fine. The maximum is 90 days imprisonment, one-year revocation, and a $500 fine. A probation sentencing must include 10 days in jail, one-year revocation, and a $500 fine.
- Third conviction: The mandatory minimum is 90 days imprisonment, 15-year revocation, and a $1000 fine. The maximum is one-year imprisonment, 15-year revocation, and a $1000 fine. Probation penalties will include a required 30 days in jail, a 2 to 15-year revocation with ignition interlock, and a $1000 fine.
If you are a repeat offender beyond that, the penalties increase dramatically, and a fifth offense is considered a felony. Beyond jail time, license revocation, and fines, other penalties for DUI conviction in Nebraska include:
- Required alcohol assessment and treatment programs
- An alcohol monitoring device
- Vehicle immobilization (the State locks the ignition, wheels, or steering wheel on your motor vehicles to assure you won’t drive), which can be sidestepped with an ignition interlock permit
A DUI case can be a life-altering experience, but a qualified DUI attorney on your side can ease the punishment for this arrest. The team of attorneys at Reiman Law Firm in Lincoln, NE, has more than 15 years of experience to bolster your case. Korey Reiman is a criminal defense specialist, who has the skills and extensive knowledge of state law to secure you the best possible outcome. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, visit their website or call (402) 477-2130.