If you are currently facing charges for driving under the influence, or DUI, in Omaha, Nebraska or the surrounding area one of your primary concerns may be the possibility that you will be sentenced to a term of incarceration if you are convicted. In fact, you may have already been offered a plea agreement that includes jail time. You have a friend though who was also convicted of DUI in Nebraska and he did not have to spend any time in jail as part of his sentence, leading you to ask “ My friend didn’t have to do jail time for his Nebraska DUI arrest – why do I? ”
The question is a perfectly reasonable and understandable question, and one that we are often asked as criminal defense attorneys. To adequately respond to the question it helps to explain the factors that commonly go into determining a sentence after a conviction for DUI. First, it is important to understand that every criminal prosecution is unique. No two DUI cases include the exact same facts and circumstances. For this reason alone it is never a good idea to compare your DUI case with someone else’s case. Instead, it is best to consider the factors that are usually used when a prosecutor makes a plea agreement offer or when a judge sentencing a defendant.
- Current charges – in Nebraska, a DUI can be charged as anything from a Class W misdemeanor to a Class III felony. Consequently, the potential maximum and minimum penalties can be very different.
- Previous criminal history – your criminal history (or absence of a history) can directly and indirectly impact your sentence. A history of alcohol related driving convictions can cause your current charges to be increased. Subjectively, any previous convictions could cause a judge to lean toward a harsher sentence if the judge has discretion in sentencing.
- BAC content at the time of arrest – a BAC content of 0.15 percent or higher makes your case an aggravated DUI. As such, you face tougher penalties than someone who had a BAC level below 0.15 percent even if all other facts of the case are the same.
- Aggravating or mitigating factors – aggravating factors (other than your BAC level) are factors that tend to make the crime, or you, look worse while mitigating factors are things that make the crime, or you, look better. The presence of a minor in the vehicle at the time of you arrest is an example of an aggravating factor while proof that you are in college and getting good grades is an example of a mitigating factor.
If you have specific questions about your case, or the sentence you are likely to receive, contact the Omaha, Nebraska law office of Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.