By now, most motorists are aware that drinking and driving is both dangerous and illegal. Most people are also at least vaguely familiar with the concept of chemical testing that typically occurs after a motorist has been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). What happens though, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test? Nebraska, like most states, has an “implied consent” law that governs the answer to that question. An Omaha DUI defense lawyer from Petersen Law Office explains Nebraska’s implied consent law and how it might affect you if you are ever arrested for DUI.
DUI and Chemical Tests
A motorist who has been arrested and charged with DUI will typically be asked to submit to a chemical test to check for the presence of alcohol and/or a controlled substance in the suspect’s system. A chemical test could be conducted using your breath, blood, or urine; however, the most common method used by law enforcement agencies is a breath test. A breath test is the least invasive because the suspect simply blows into a tube connected to the machine. The machine then tests the suspect’s breath for the presence of alcohol. A blood test, while more accurate, is not used as frequently because it is considered to be more invasive. If the arresting officer suspects that the suspect is under the influence of drugs, however, a blood test will be ordered because a breath test cannot detect the presence of anything but alcohol. Blood tests are also used if the suspect was involved in an accident or if the suspect is so intoxicated that he/she cannot perform the breath test. Urine tests are even less popular than blood or breath tests.
Can I Refuse a Chemical Test? Understanding Nebraska’s Implied Consent Law
Today, most states have enacted an implied consent law. Nebraska’s implied consent law can be found at Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197, the pertinent parts of which read as follows:
- Any person who operates or has in his or her actual physical control a motor vehicle in this state shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the concentration of alcohol or the presence of drugs in such blood, breath, or urine.
- Any peace officer who has been duly authorized to make arrests for violations of traffic laws of this state or of ordinances of any city or village may require any person arrested for any offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic liquor or drugs to submit to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine…
- Any person arrested as described in subsection (2) of this section may, upon the direction of a peace officer, be required to submit to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine…
- Any person involved in a motor vehicle accident in this state may be required to submit to a chemical test or tests of his or her blood, breath, or urine by any peace officer if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a public highway in this state while under the influence of alcoholic liquor or drugs at the time of the accident.
- (5) Any person who is required to submit to a chemical blood, breath, or urine test or tests pursuant to this section shall be advised that refusal to submit to such test or tests is a separate crime for which the person may be charged. Failure to provide such advisement shall not affect the admissibility of the chemical test result in any legal proceedings. However, failure to provide such advisement shall negate the state’s ability to bring any criminal charges against a refusing party pursuant to this section.
Although the implied consent law effectively says that you have already agreed to submit to a chemical test under the circumstances described in the statute, you can still refuse to submit to the test. There will, however, be consequences for your refusal. Refusing the test will result in a one-year suspension of your license in addition to any consequences you may face if convicted of the underlying DUI. Furthermore, refusing to submit to a chemical test is a separate offense in and of itself in Nebraska.
Contact an Omaha DUI Defense Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with violating the implied consent law in Nebraska, consult with an experienced Omaha DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.