Over the last several decades the laws and penalties relating to driving under the influence, or DUI, in Nebraska have become increasingly harsh. Even a first time offender faces a potential jail sentence and the loss of his or her driving privileges if convicted. If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Nebraska you may asking “ How is DUI charged in Nebraska? ”
In Nebraska, several factors impact how a DUI is charged and, consequently, the penalties you face if convicted of a DUI offense. First, the law looks at whether or not you have a previous conviction for DUI. If you do not have a history of DUI, and there are no additional aggravating circumstances, you will be charged with a Class W misdemeanor for a first-time DUI. A second or third DUI charge will still be charged as a Class W misdemeanor; however, the potential penalties for a conviction will increase. On a fourth or fifth DUI arrest, the charge will be increased to a Class IIIA or Class III felony and will include significantly more serious penalties if convicted.
Along with your own history of DUI convictions (or lack thereof) the law also considers other aggravating circumstances when deciding how to charge someone arrested for DUI. Specifically, if you blood-alcohol content, or BAC, level was 0.15 percent or higher (almost double the legal limit) at the time you took the chemical test you will be charged with aggravated DUI. A first or second aggravated DUI is charged as a Class W misdemeanor. A third aggravated DUI becomes a Class IIIA felony with a fourth charged as a Class III felony and a fifth a Class II felony. Potential penalties increase accordingly.
Finally, the law in Nebraska considers any injuries caused by a defendant diving under the influence. If you caused an accident while driving under the influence and that accident caused serious bodily injury to another person or unborn child you will face a Class IIIA felony charge regardless of your criminal history and your BAC level. If the accident caused fatal injuries to a person or unborn child you could be charged with motor vehicle homicide.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Nebraska, contact the Omaha, Nebraska law office of Petersen Law Office. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 402-513-2180 to discuss your defense.