A DUI charge can cause significant stress and anxiety. That’s no surprise—a DUI in Nebraska could send you to jail and leave you without a driver’s license for a long period of time.
On top of that, the Nebraska DUI defense process can appear scary and confusing, especially if you have a clean record.
Since 1995, we have focused our practice on DUI and criminal defense, and our dedication to your best interests is unwavering.
Our experience, knowledge, and courtroom skills will give you the best chance of escaping the potentially life-altering consequences of a DUI conviction.
DUI Laws in Nebraska
In Nebraska, DUI refers to operating or having actual physical control over a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
DUI also refers to operating or having actual physical control of a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more in your breath or blood. Therefore, a prosecutor can use two theories to try to convict you of DUI.
The prosecutor has the burden of proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of each element of the crime charged.
Under the first theory of DUI, the prosecutor will likely use testimony from the arresting officer to discuss the following:
- Your driving pattern;
- What signs of intoxication the officer witnessed as they interacted with you, e.g., bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol on your breath, slurred speech, etc.;
- Your responses to the officer’s inquiries to produce your driver’s license and other information; and
- Your performance on the field sobriety tests
Officers receive DUI training that teaches them to look for dangerous driving, slurred speech, glassy eyes, bloodshot eyes, difficulty following instructions, diminished motor skills, confusion, and other things that indicate you are under the influence.
The prosecution never has to prove that you were drunk. The State has to prove that you drove while your ability to operate a vehicle was appreciably impaired.
“Per Se” DUI and Implied Consent
DUI “per se” refers to driving with a BAC of 0.08% or above, as measured by a chemical test. The police can obtain a sample of your breath from a chemical test, thanks to Nebraska’s implied consent law.
This law states that by driving or having actual physical control over a motor vehicle in Nebraska, the driver implicitly consents to give a sample or breath or urine to the police if asked.
But remember that the police can only require you to submit to a chemical test if they have probable cause to arrest you for DUI. They cannot demand that you take the chemical test before they arrest you.
Under DUI per se, all the prosecutor needs is the BAC reading. If it is above .08%, the assumption is that you were impaired and you are guilty of DUI.
Under this theory, there is no need to prove that the alcohol actually impaired your ability to drive safely. Your BAC reading is enough for DUI per se.
The law also allows the prosecutor to admit evidence of your refusal to take a blood or breath test against you at trial.
Nebraska DUI Penalties
Nebraska has stiff DUI penalties. A first-offense DUI charge is a Class W misdemeanor. A first conviction could send you to jail for 7 to 60 days and burden you with a fine of $500.
Additionally, the court must revoke your license for six months and order you to install an ignition interlock device on your car. However, the court can revoke your license for one year if your chemical test is 0.15% or greater.
These penalties increase if you have prior DUI convictions on your record. You could face a felony charge for DUI if you have two prior offenses and a BAC over 0.15% or three previous DUI convictions.
Call Petersen Criminal Defense Law Right Now
Tom focuses on DUI cases, and this focus over the years has given him a uniquely intimate understanding of DUI law and winning defense strategies.
Our office answers calls around the clock because we know DUI arrests don’t always happen from 9 to 5. So do not be afraid to call any time, as we are always here when you need us.
We can even help get your loved one released from jail after a DUI arrest. Call now.