If you’ve been arrested for your first DUI offense, it’s an overwhelming experience, to say the least.
While you probably know that you can face a driver’s license suspension, fines, probation, and even jail time, you may not have any idea about the process or how to defend against the charges.
The truth is that there is a lot of inaccurate information out there, and those facing a DUI first offense should not necessarily expect everything they hear or read online to be true.
In reality, many people charged with DUI offenses have defenses against the allegations. Police officers, lab technicians, and prosecutors all make mistakes.
However, determining whether you have a defense in a DUI first offense and what the best defense is in your particular case is something best left to an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
If you have been charged with your first DUI offense, contact the Nebraska DUI lawyers at Petersen Criminal Defense Law today by filling out our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.
NEBRASKA DUI TOPICS COVERED HERE
Do I Need an Attorney for DUI First Offense?
The first thing to understand about legal representation in a criminal case is that you can almost always represent yourself.
Self-representation is a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
So, the question isn’t whether you need an attorney in a Nebraska first offense DUI, but whether you should have one.
In most cases, the answer to this question is a resounding “yes.”
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help You Fight a Nebraska First DUI Offense?
Having a Nebraska criminal law attorney represent you in your first DUI offense will help you in several ways.
First, an attorney is familiar with the process and can help you understand what to expect.
For many, this is a major benefit, as having a criminal case hanging over your head can be incredibly stressful.
Perhaps more importantly, an attorney understands the applicable laws and what the prosecution must prove.
In any criminal case, you are innocent until proven guilty. Thus, the burden is always on the prosecution to prove their case—not vice-versa.
During the trial, the prosecution will attempt to prove the elements of a crime by presenting evidence.
Your attorney will know what evidence is admissible and challenge all inadmissible evidence.
Motion to Suppress
There are two ways an attorney may keep evidence out of a trial. The first opportunity to keep out potentially harmful evidence is through a motion to suppress.
A motion to suppress is a hearing where your attorney argues that the judge or jury should not hear certain evidence.
Usually, this is because the police obtained the evidence in violation of your rights.
In a DUI first offense, the most common type of evidence an attorney may seek to suppress is the stop of your vehicle and chemical test results.
Making Proper and Timely Trial Objections
The other opportunity to keep evidence out of the jury’s consideration comes up once the trial starts.
Say, for example, you have an open domestic violence offense, and the prosecutor starts to ask one of the police officers about your open case.
Of course, this has nothing to do with a DUI offense and can only hurt you in the eyes of the jury.
Your attorney can object to the prosecutor’s comments, arguing why it is inappropriate for the jury to hear about your open case.
Negotiating an Advantageous Plea
Not everyone wants to fight a first-time DUI case, especially when the evidence against them is strong.
If you fit into this category, an attorney can also help you negotiate charges, especially in a Nebraska first offense DUI case.
While every crime has a set of penalties that come along with it, prosecutors have flexibility in offering pre-trial plea deals. For example, you might be able to get DUI probation in Nebraska instead of spending time in jail for your first DUI offense.
Thus, your attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to drop more serious charges in favor of less serious charges or possibly even a minor traffic offense.
An attorney also knows about the available diversionary programs, which allow you to avoid a conviction altogether if you complete the program successfully.
Working with an attorney is imperative if you want to obtain the best possible result in your Nebraska first offense DUI case.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Penalty for DUI in Nebraska?
You can find the Nebraska DUI penalties for 2022 in the Nebraska Revised Statutes § 60-6,196 and subsequent sections of the Nebraska statutes.
Nebraska law considers a DUI charge to be a Class W misdemeanor. The penalty for a Class W misdemeanor is a $500 fine and a jail term of no less than seven days but no more than 60 days in jail.
License revocation is also part of the mandatory penalty in Nebraska.
The sentencing judge will revoke your license for six months if you had a BAC of 0.08% to 0.149% or if you have a conviction for driving while under the influence.
You must apply for an ignition interlock permit and install an approved device during your revocation period. The revocation begins when the judge imposes your sentence or after appeal.
Getting DUI probation in Nebraska is possible for your first offense. The judge has the option of suspending your jail sentence and putting you on probation.
Also, you must pay a $500 fine, and license revocation will begin immediately.
The judge must give you two days in jail or 120 hours of community service if you got probation when your BAC exceeded 0.15%.
Also, you must pay a $500 fine, and license revocation will begin immediately.
The revocation term is one year, during which you must apply for an interlock device permit and install an appropriate device in your vehicle.
According to Nebraska DUI laws, the judge hearing your case may send you for a presentence evaluation. Depending on the results, you may need to attend alcohol addiction treatment.
Can a First-Time DUI Be a Felony in Nebraska?
You can face a felony charge for your first DUI offense if an accident occurred and someone sustained a serious bodily injury.
In that case, you face a Class IIIA felony which carries up to three years in prison. Additionally, you will lose your license for at least 60 days, but that loss can extend to as long as 15 years.
If someone died in an accident while you were allegedly under the influence, then you face a Class IIA felony if convicted of motor vehicle homicide. This crime carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Do You Lose Your License Immediately After a DUI in Nebraska?
You do not lose your license immediately after your arrest.
The judge will revoke your license as indicated above upon a conviction.
However, you could have your license revoked if you refuse to take a chemical test or fail a chemical test. You will have a temporary permit for 15 days if you fail a chemical test.
How Long Is DUI Probation in Nebraska?
The judge will establish your probationary period. The length of your probation might depend on the results of your presentence evaluation and other factors like your prior criminal history if any.
Contact a Nebraska DUI Defense Lawyer Today
If you face a first-time DUI charge, reach out to Petersen Criminal Defense Law for immediate assistance.
Our firm’s founder, attorney Thomas M. Petersen, has extensive, hands-on experience helping people overcome their first DUI arrest.
Whether he is negotiating with prosecutors, arguing to keep evidence out of a trial, or litigating your case in front of a jury, attorney Tom Petersen has what it takes to handle even the most complex DUI cases.
We can also explain the process to you in understandable terms, so you know what to expect moving forward.
To learn more about Petersen Criminal Defense Law, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, call us at 402-509-8070 today.
You can also reach us through our online contact form.
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