Although it may be difficult to believe, not all that long ago drinking and driving was not considered a very serious criminal offense. Though most states had some type of drinking and driving law, few were strict and even fewer were enforced to the full extent of the law. Today, however, all states have tough laws that make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Most states have also increased the potential penalties for a conviction of an alcohol related driving offense. What about driving under the influence of drugs though? Though many people are unaware, it is also illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs while in the State of Nebraska. How does the State prove a defendant guilty of driving under the influence of drugs though?
Nebraska Revised Statute 60, 6-196 governs the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any drug. It is the last part that people are often unaware of, and which can lead to an arrest and conviction for a driver who is under the influence of a controlled substance — illicit or prescription. The relevant statute reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
(b) When such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of his or her blood; or
(c) When such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of his or her breath.
A typical traffic stop wherein the officer suspects the motorist of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol will include asking the motorist to exit the vehicle and perform a series of “field sobriety tests.” These tests typically test for things such as coordination, memory, and ability to follow directions. If a motorist fails the FSTs, he or she will most likely be arrested and charged with driving under the influence, or DUI. Once at the station, the accused is asked to submit to a chemical test – usually a breath test – to check for the presence of alcohol in the driver’s system. If, however, the officer suspects the suspect is under the influence of drugs in lieu of, or in addition to, alcohol a blood test will likely be used instead of a breath test. The reason for this is that a breath test cannot detect the presence of drugs in a subject’s breath. Only a urine or blood test can check for drugs in a suspect’s blood stream. Assuming the blood test comes back positive, the test results, along with observations made by the arresting officer with regard to the defendant’s driving behavior and/or demeanor will be used as evidence against the defendant in court.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID, in Nebraska contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.