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DUI in Nebraska

What is a DUI in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, a DUI is an acronym that stands for "driving under the influence". It refers to a motorist's inability to safely drive a vehicle to an "appreciable degree" following the ingestion of intoxicating substances. All U.S states have a prescribed blood alcohol limit for motorists within their respective jurisdictions. Anyone who operates a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above the legal limit is convicted and will face legal consequences.

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) works with the Nebraska courts to monitor and penalize road traffic offenses. These penalties may involve restricting driving privileges, probation, fines, and other punishments that the courts may deem necessary. Records of DUI offenses may be featured in offenders Nebraska criminal records depending on the nature and severity of the offense.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Nebraska?

DUI means 'Driving under the influence' while DWI means 'Driving while intoxicated.' The Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6197.03 refers to the offense of drunk driving as "Driving under the influence of alcoholic liquor or drugs". Therefore, the legal term used in Nebraska DUI.

The Nebraska Revised statute applies to the entire state of Nebraska. The state law also applies to cities that lack city ordinances for driving under the influence. Section 6196 of this statute describes the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Nebraska DUI Laws

The Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6197.03 outlines Nebraska's DUI laws. Subsection (1) of the statute specifies who is considered guilty of a DUI/DWI crime. DUI penalties are determined according to the provisions of 60-6197.02 to 60-6197.08.

Following a DUI arrest in Nebraska, motorists are subjected to a chemical test to determine their alcohol-blood content. Arresting officers may determine blood alcohol content (BAC) in two ways: through breath-analysis or urinalysis.

Motorists are required to consult the Nebraska Driver Handbook for safe driving practices and become familiar with a list of offenses that may lead to a license suspension. The DMV uses a point accumulation system to punish violators. A motorist gets points on record for every traffic violation, and these points accumulate with each offense. The DMV then works with the courts to revoke or suspend licenses when a driver gets too many points.

DUI Penalties in Nebraska

There are several penalties an offender faces when convicted of DUI in Nebraska. The penalties for a DUI in Nebraska will depend on the circumstances of the case under consideration and the offender's driving history.

Generally, Nebraska DUI penalties include all or some of the following:

Imprisonment in a county jail for seven days

  • Suspension of the motorist's driver's license for six months and an order to submit the license to the court
  • Payment of a minimum fine of $500
  • The need to install an ignition interlock device.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in Nebraska?

The State of Nebraska does not regard a DWI as a separate offense from a DUI. It categorizes these offenses in the same way as a DUI with the same penalties as provided in Section 6196 of Nebraska's revised statutes. If it is proven that a motorist has a high blood alcohol level, the Department of Motor Vehicles may convict such a motorist. The motorist may opt to contest the charge or serve the penalty.

What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Nebraska?

A first DUI offense arises in Nebraska, where a motorist has no prior DUI charges within the last twelve years.

When a DUI suspect is pulled over, the arresting officer establishes probable cause by conducting physical or chemical evaluations on the suspected motorist. If the driver is found to be above the BAC limit, their license will be confiscated or revoked for 30 days. Where the offender refuses to submit to a chemical test, they are informed of the penalties for refusal; a one-year automatic license revocation.

The arresting officer may then provide the driver with a temporary permit which allows mobility for 30days and details Nebraska's administrative hearing process. The arresting officer collates all the evidence collected and forwards them to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The accused may request an administrative hearing with the Nebraska DMV to challenge the license revocation within ten days of the date of the license revocation to avert revocation of their license. After reviewing all the evidence presented, the Director of Motor Vehicles determines whether the arresting officer established probable cause and followed due procedures or whether the motorist's charges are deemed justifiable according to the evidence provided.

If a motorist is convicted for a first-DUI offense, it may attract some or any of the following penalties:

  • A mandatory jail sentence of between 7 to 60 days in jail; however, the minimum jail sentence may be interchanged for community service.
  • A fine of up to $500 with applicable court costs
  • License revocation or suspension for 90 days if the offender refused to undergo a chemical test.

The motorist will require an ignition interlock to drive during the suspension period. However, restricted licenses are usually issued after at least 15 days of suspension. To obtain a restricted license or reinstate a license, eligible persons must file an SR22 with the Nebraska DMV.

What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, A second DUI arises when a motorist has been convicted of one prior DUI charge within the last twelve years. A second DUI offense in Nebraska is considered a Misdemeanor crime, and it carries the following fines and penalties:

  • A mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days; however, a second DUI with a BAC level of .15% or greater may serve between 90 days to 1-year in jail. The length of the jail sentence is administered at the court's discretion based upon the circumstance surrounding the case and any prior convictions.
  • Fines between $500 - $1,000 alongside applicable court costs
  • License revocation for at least one year. However, second-time offenders with a BAC level of .15% or more may have their licenses revoked for up to 15 years. These offenders may be eligible for an ignition interlock restricted license one year after the revocation period, only if they meet Nebraska DMV eligibility requirements. Typically, the revocation period does not begin until after the jail sentence.

What Happens After a Third DUI in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, a third DUI is said to have occurred when a motorist has incurred two past DUI convictions within the last twelve years of their driving history.

A third DUI conviction where the motorist has a BAC of less than 15% is deemed a class W misdemeanor and carries the penalties of:

  • 90 days to one year in jail
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • 15 years Licence revocation and immobilization of all the vehicles owned by the accused within a period of five days to eight months

However, an alternative to immobilization is that the judge can allow the defendant to apply for an ignition interlock permit. This is after a minimum of 45 days of a no-driving period. The offender can drive with the license and the IID installed in the offender's vehicle during the revocation period.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, a DUI conviction is likely to remain on a driver's record for a minimum of 5 years after the arrest. A DUI conviction has two consequences. The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles levies consequences, and others are imposed through the Nebraska court system.

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles monitors and penalizes Nebraska motorists using a point system. When a driver accumulates many points, their license may be revoked. The number of points a DUI adds to a record varies depending on the nature and severity of the offense.

The law permits specific individuals to file a Motion that allows certain convictions to be set aside, including a DUI, when its probation has been successfully completed. Filing a Motion does not guarantee this. The presiding judge ultimately decides whether or not a conviction will be set aside, and this decision is based on the evidence presented at the court hearing. However, having a conviction set aside does not mean the record of conviction is destroyed. The records are still accessible to law enforcement bodies, government agencies, and Nebraska courts.

DUI Expungement in Nebraska

Expunging a DUI in Nebraska means to have records of the offense completely removed from public record, while 'Sealing' a record hides the DUI from the public. The State of Nebraska does not have a general rule that allows for the expungement of a criminal conviction. However, if records are officially removed from public records, they can still be viewed by law enforcement personnel, government agencies, and all courts. Nebraska Revised Statutes 29-3523 spells out the conditions under which a criminal history may be removed from the public record. Essentially, a Nebraska DUI conviction cannot be expunged, erased, or removed from a driving record unless a judge sets aside the sentence.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, whether or not a first-time DUI offender will spend time in jail is primarily dependent on the nature and severity of the offense. However is not likely for a Nebraska first-time DUI offender to spend time in prison, aside from the minimum jail sentence of 7 days up to the maximum jail sentence of 60 days stipulated by the law. Typically, DUI offenses penalties are less severe for those with no DUI records, and offenders may have the minimum jail sentence served as community service.

What is the Average Cost of DUI in Nebraska?

Being convicted for a DUI charge in Nebraska can be relatively expensive. However, the amount spent on a DUI may vary depending on various factors. Costs associated with DUI offenses include:

  • Bail: when arrested and booked into the county jail, a fine of $500 is paid for a bailout
  • Probation: If placed on probation by the court, the driver must pay an enrollment fee of $30 and a monthly fee of $20, except the monthly payment is waived.
  • Revocation: Under circumstances where the motorist license is revoked, the offender will require a work permit and an Interlock device. The Interlock device ranges from $175 – $200 for 60 days for a first DUI. A work permit is less expensive. However, the motorist must complete a driving class before getting a work permit and may end up saving $50 – $100 less on an interlock. The DMV also charges a fee for the work permit.
  • Post-Revocation: When license revocation is over, $125.00 is paid as a reinstatement fee to the DMV to reinstate the driver's license.

On average, a First Offense DUI could cost about $2,000 to $3,000. Other penalties such as jail terms, loss of employment, increased insurance rates, or fatal injuries can be much more costly.

How Much is Bail for a DUI in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, when a motorist is arrested and charged with a DUI, bail must be paid before the defendant is released. In selected cases, Nebraska law enforcement officers may release a first DUI offender the next day after the arrest without the offender having to post bail.

However, all counties are required to have a bail schedule in place for misdemeanor offenses "and such other offenses as the judges deem necessary". However, if the DUI was a felony, a hit and run, or a fatal collision, the offender will have to post bail.

In Nebraska, the bail amount varies depending on the offender's criminal history and the county's bail schedule. Essentially, the amount paid will increase with the number of convictions the offender has and the severity of their offense. Usually, bail for a misdemeanor DUI offense may range between $300 to $10,000. In contrast, Nebraska felony bail amounts cost up to $50,000, depending on your offender's driving history and the court's discretion.

How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, it is worth noting that there's a difference between having a driver's license suspended and having it revoked.

When a driver's license is suspended, it can be gotten back after a certain period, while a license revocation means the driver's license is canceled. The driver would need to submit to an investigation before obtaining another license.

A revocation involves the termination of a driver's driving privileges for a specified time.

The following are some of the most common reasons why a Nebraska driver's license would be suspended or revoked:

  • A driver's license will be suspended if the driver is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • If they refuse to submit to a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Test
  • If they have multiple Moving Violations: The state of Nebraska operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If a motorist accumulates 12 points in 2 years, they will lose their license for six months. For a 2nd offense within five years, the offender's driving privileges will be revoked for three years.

When a license is suspended due to one of the reasons listed above, the offender may speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer for a chance at getting the license reinstated.

The following can be considered to retrieve a license after a DUI:

  • If the license was suspended due to points, the driver must attend a driver education course. (The motorist bears the cost of defensive driving/ driver improvement-training course).
  • If the license was suspended for not paying a traffic ticket, the motorist has to pay the ticket and the reinstatement fee.

To have the license reinstated:

  • File proof of insurance. (Using an SR22 from an insurance company).
  • Satisfy any court requirements that may apply.
  • Pay a restoration fee: The fee can be paid in person at a Driver Licensing Office or mailed as a check or money order payable to the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.

A motorist cannot get a license restored or reinstated if the license is revoked. The only way out is to apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license once the period of revocation elapses. This new application process would involve taking a new driving test and improvement courses.

Alternatively, the affected motorist may prefer to challenge the revocation by requesting an administrative hearing not more than ten days after receiving the notice of revocation or 14 days if the notice came in the mail. This also depends on the reason for your commercial driver's license disqualification/ suspension.

How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, a DUI conviction may change a person's life once the offense is on public record, particularly if convicted of a second or subsequent DUI and have a compounding case that includes aggravating circumstances.

Some of the leading consequences of DUI convictions are:

  • Serious bodily injury and felony charges which carry up to five years in prison and a license revocation of up to 15 years
  • Termination of job employment
  • An increase in insurance rates because of the motorist risk involved.

Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Nebraska?

Yes, motorists can get fired for a DUI in Nebraska.

Losing employment following a DUI in Nebraska depends largely on a number of factors, including:

  • The kind of employment
  • The number of prior convictions
  • The nature of the job or its description, and the need for insurance coverage

Where the job is driving-related, a DUI can lead to incarceration and suspension of license, both of which can influence the offender's ability to perform job-related duties. An employee is likely to lose their job if driving is a prerequisite and the insurance company refuses to insure the individual as they may be perceived as "too risky" for employers or insurance companies. In other fields of employment, the risk of losing one's job is low but not impossible.

How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Nebraska?

DUI checkpoints are common within state limits during holidays in Nebraska; they are usually situated on the state's highways and around parks. The goal of these checkpoints is to monitor, apprehend and penalize DUI offenders. Typically, the Nebraska State Patrol or local Sheriff's department sets up a stop on the roadway and interacts with every driver that passes by that route. As part of the check procedures, they ask questions often asked during a traffic stop; they may request a valid driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. By law, motorists are required to provide that information. If the interrogating officer finds a reason to expand the inspection during this session, the motorist can be detained for further investigation.

Which is Worse, DUI vs. DWI in Nebraska?

There isn't much difference between a DUI and DWI in Nebraska, as they both involve similarly dangerous driving behaviors and penalties.