Most the average person, being arrested and prosecuted for a criminal offense is a frightening, and often intimidating, experience. If you have recently been charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, in Nebraska you may be experiencing a range of emotions, including a good deal of confusion. Starting from the original stop you have likely heard terms and phrases that mean nothing to you – yet, they seem to be important. Specific questions or concerns regarding your case should always be directed to an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney; however, you feel a bit more prepared and a bit less intimidated if you learn some of the more common DUI terms and definitions.
- ·Administrative License Revocation (ALR) – this allows a motorist’s license to be automatically suspended. Typically, what triggers an ALR is refusal to consent to a chemical test and/or a very high BAC result.
- ·Aggravated DUI – this refers to a charge of driving under the influence that is particularly egregious. Reasons to aggravate a DUI charge may include a high BAC result, and accident that caused injury, or a previous DUI conviction.
- ·Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) – this refers to the percentage of alcohol found in a suspect’s blood stream as determined by a chemical test.
- ·Chemical test – a chemical test may be conducted using blood, urine, or breath and may test for the presence of alcohol or drugs in a suspect’s system. Although blood tests are the most accurate, they are also the most invasive and expensive. Therefore, most jurisdictions use a breath test, unless the suspect is unconscious or the officer suspects the suspect is under the influence of drugs. A breath test cannot detect the presence of drugs, only alcohol.
- ·Driving under the influence (DUI) – what most people refer to as “drunk driving.” Driving under the influence, however, also includes driving while under the influence of a controlled substance.
- ·Field Sobriety Test (FST) – tests which a motorist is asked to perform at the scene of a traffic stop in order to determine if there is probable cause to believe the suspect is driving under the influence. The tests are designed to check a suspect’s balance, coordination, and memory – all things that fail when under the influence.
- ·Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – a FST that requires the suspect to track a pen light (usually) with his/her eyes only. If the suspect is intoxicated, the eyes will “bounce” or “jump”, a condition known as horizontal gaze nystagmus.
- ·Ignition Interlock Device (IID) – a device installed on a vehicle that requires the driver to blow into it first before the vehicle will start. The device then tests the breath for the presence of alcohol and prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.
- ·Implied consent – a law that says if you operate a vehicle in the state, or have a driver’s license from that state, you give your consent to take a chemical test if you are arrested for DUI.
- ·Zero tolerance law – laws that decrease the “legal limit” for underage drivers. Typically, the limit for an underage driver is reduced to 0.02 BAC.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Nebraska, or you have a child who has been charged with an alcohol related driving offense, contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.