Thanks to a concerted effort over the last several decades in the United States, awareness has certainly been raised about the dangers associated with drunk driving. Among the most serious of those dangers is the increased risk of causing a collision if you are driving under the influence (DUI). To deter motorists from driving while under the influence, states have also increased the penalties for violating DUI laws. For example, if you caused a fatal DUI crash in Nebraska you could be facing a lengthy term of imprisonment if convicted.
Fatal DUI Crash Facts and Figures
It isn’t difficult to understand why states have strengthened their DUI laws and increased penalties for violating those laws. The statistics related to fatal DUI crashes speak for themselves. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) 10,497 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 50 minutes – and 290,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes in 2016. Just over a decade ago (2006), more than one-third (34.1%) of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Nebraska involved alcohol, killing 86 individuals in 77 alcohol-involved fatal crashes. That same year, alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes in Nebraska cost an estimated 130.6 million dollars when counting wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle damage, and employer costs.
What Charges Might You Face for Causing a Fatal DUI Crash in Nebraska?
In the U.S., each state enacts its own laws relating to driving under the influence and other crimes. Consequently, the charges and penalties you face in one state for causing a fatal DUI crash could be very different from those you might face in another state. In the State of Nebraska, you could be charged with several criminal offenses for causing a fatal DUI crash. You will most likely be charged with motor vehicle homicide, governed by Nebraska Revised Statute 28-306, the pertinent parts of which read as follows:
(1) A person who causes the death of another unintentionally while engaged in the operation of a motor vehicle in violation of the law of the State of Nebraska or in violation of any city or village ordinance commits motor vehicle homicide.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, motor vehicle homicide is a Class I misdemeanor.
(3)(a) If the proximate cause of the death of another is the operation of a motor vehicle in violation of section 60-6,213 or 60-6,214, motor vehicle homicide is a Class IIIA felony.
(b) If the proximate cause of the death of another is the operation of a motor vehicle in violation of section 60-6,196 or 60-6,197.06, motor vehicle homicide is a Class IIA felony.
(c) If the proximate cause of the death of another is the operation of a motor vehicle in violation of section 60-6,196 or 60-6,197.06, motor vehicle homicide is a Class II felony if the defendant has a prior conviction for a violation of section 60-6,196 or 60-6,197.06, under a city or village ordinance enacted in conformance with section 60-6,196, or under a law of another state if, at the time of the conviction under the law of such other state, the offense for which the defendant was convicted would have been a violation of section 60-6,196.
Sections 3(b) and (c) effectively elevate the offense to a Class IIA felony if you were driving under the influence at the time of the crash or to a Class II felony if you were driving under the influence at the time of the collision and you have a previous DUI conviction. If convicted of a Class IIA felony you face up to 20 years in prison. Conviction of a Class II felony carries a minimum sentence of one year and a maximum of 50 years in prison.
Contact a Nebraska DUI Defense Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you were recently involved in a fatal DUI crash in Nebraska, it is imperative that you consult directly with an experienced Nebraska DUI defense attorney as soon as possible given the potential penalties you face if convicted. Contact the Nebraska DUI defense attorneys at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced defense lawyer.