Driving under the influence is one of those rare criminal offenses that otherwise law-abiding citizens frequently end up being charged with as a result of a momentary lapse in judgment. If that describes your situation, you are likely feeling confused on top of worrying about the outcome of your case – and you want the whole thing to be over with as soon as possible. This is precisely what the prosecuting attorney is counting on and why most first-time arrests result in a conviction. It is not necessarily because the evidence of guilt is overwhelming, but because the defendant simply wants the whole thing to go away. Before you accept a DUI conviction just to get the experience over with, consider all of the consequences of having that conviction on your permanent record.
Judicial Consequences of a DUI Conviction
When most people think about the penalties of a criminal conviction, they are focusing on the judicially imposed penalties. As a first-time offender, you will face the following judicial consequences if convicted of DUI in the State of Nebraska:
- Charged as a Class W Misdemeanor
- Loss of driving privileges for up to 6 months
- Minimum of 7 and a maximum of 60 days in jail
- A fine of up to $500
If the court grants you a probationary sentence instead of jail time, you will face:
- 60 loss of driving privileges
- $500 fine
- Ignition interlock device installed
An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a device that is installed in your vehicle – at your expense – that will prevent you from operating the vehicle if you have been drinking. The device operates much like a mini-breath test machine. You will be required to blow into the device before starting the vehicle. If the device registers alcohol on your breath, the vehicle will not start.
Additional Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Make no mistake, the short-term judicial penalties you face if convicted of a first-time DUI will be costly and inconvenient, to say the least. Even if you do manage to avoid additional jail time, the loss of your driving privileges and the costs and fines involved will likely make an impact on your life. For many people convicted of DUI, however, the non-judicial, long-term consequences of a conviction are even more disconcerting. Consider some of the additional ramifications of a DUI conviction:
- Dramatically increased insurance rates for several years after your conviction. Some people face rates at much as 300 percent higher after a DUI conviction. If you are paying $100 a month now, you could easily be paying $250-300 a month for several years after your conviction.
- Your conviction cannot be expunged at a later date in Nebraska. Many states allow expungement of a DUI but Nebraska is not one of them.
- Disqualification for a Commercial Driver’s License or loss of your CDL if you already have one.
- Professional disciplinary action if you hold a license such as a doctor, lawyer, school teacher, or nurse. Sometimes that discipline is not discretionary – if you have a conviction you must be disciplined.
- Disqualification for a change of status if you are a foreign born national. This is a consequence that is rarely mentioned, even when it is obvious that the defendant is a foreigner.
- Loss of visitation privileges or negative impact on custody of minor children. If you had a contentious divorce, or there is even the possibility of a custody battle brewing in the future, you can bet that your ex will bring up your DUI conviction if possible.
Contact a Nebraska DUI Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, contact a Nebraska DUI defense attorney before simply agreeing to accept a DUI conviction. Contact us at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.