In the past several decades, a national campaign has been underway to educate the public about the dangers of driving while impaired. As a result, many of the nation’s drunk driving laws have been strengthened to include harsher penalties for a motorist who is convicted of drunk driving. In Omaha, while most motorists are familiar with the term “drunk driving”, the term “impaired driving” is less familiar. To avoid being arrested and charged with a criminal offense, however, you need to understand what impaired driving in Omaha means.
In Omaha Nebraska, it is a crime for a motorist to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,196 states:
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or be in the actual physical control of any motor vehicle:
- While under the influence of alcoholic liquor or of any drug;
- 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
- 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.
(2) Any person who operates or is in the actual physical control of any motor vehicle while in a condition described in subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of a crime and upon conviction punished as provided in sections 60-6,197.02 to 60-6,197.08.
Sections (1)(b) and (1)(c) provide very specific conditions under which a motorist may be guilty of DUI. If a motorist has a blood alcohol level, or BAC, above 0.08 the motorist is driving under the influence, or driving impaired, in Nebraska. Section (1)(a), however, provides a more broad definition of impaired driving by simply stating that a motorist cannot operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic liquor or any drug. The section applies in situations where the motorist refused a breathalyzer test, tested under the 0.08 benchmark, or was under the influence of something other than alcohol that created the impairment.
Attorneys, judges, and scholars across the country have debated the precise definition of “impaired driving” for decades; however, from a motorist’s standpoint it is better safe than sorry. You do not have to test over 0.08 on a breathalyzer to be convicted of drunk driving. If a judge, or jury, is convinced that you were under the influence of alcoholic liquor or drugs at the time you were arrested you may be convicted of driving under the influence which is simply one of many ways to say “drunk driving”.