Nebraska state laws take driving under the influence very seriously. It is a preventable crime that will affect your life in more ways than you may realize for many years. A DUI conviction stays on your record for at least 15 years. It will appear on job, housing, and even college background checks.
If arrested and convicted of a DUI, you face steep fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. You will undergo a substance abuse assessment, and you are responsible for all costs. Making a plan before you drink is best, but mistakes happen.
Here are the basics of Nebraska's DUI laws.
Nebraska DUI Law
Nebraska law forbids being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, the legal BAC limit is 0.04%
The law is purposely written to capture a wide range of potentially dangerous driving conditions. A drug can mean any substance that affects your ability to operate a vehicle safely. It can include over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, or controlled substances.
You don't have to be driving to receive a DUI charge. Sleeping in the vehicle or sitting with the engine turned off can meet the definition of "actual physical control" if you can choose to drive.
Per Se DUI
A per se law sets a legally recognized BAC. At this legal limit, you're intoxicated under the law. A police officer needs only your chemical tests showing this BAC to prove that you were drunk driving. Nebraska's per se DUI BAC limit is set at 0.08%, or 0.04%, for commercial drivers.
If your BAC is under 0.08% and you display other evidence of impairment, a police officer may still arrest you. This can be weaving while driving, slurred speech, or glassy, bloodshot eyes. Perhaps you failed the field sobriety tests. If the officer determines you cannot operate your vehicle safely, you could receive a DUI charge.
Implied Consent Law
Nebraska recognizes an implied consent law, meaning anyone driving within the state consents to chemical tests. When law enforcement reasonably suspects impairment, they will ask you to perform field sobriety tests. The officer will also ask you to take chemical tests. An officer may also request you take chemical tests to check for intoxication after a motor vehicle accident.
Chemical tests look for intoxicants in your system. These may include a Breathalyzer or breath test. A breath test generally assesses your BAC or alcohol level. The police officer may ask you to submit to blood and urine tests to confirm your BAC level and to test for other substances. These test results are evidence against you.
You have the right to refuse chemical tests. You are not required to cooperate. Consequences for refusing chemical tests include a criminal charge for refusal. You face a driver's license suspension period of one year. You receive an additional 180 days of license suspension if convicted of the criminal refusal charge. This driver's license suspension is in addition to any further suspension you face upon DUI conviction.
Refusing to take chemical tests will not prevent a DUI arrest. The prosecutor may also present your refusal as evidence against you in court.
Anyone convicted of a DUI will need to undergo a mandatory alcohol assessment. Based on the results of this assessment, a judge can order you to attend an alcohol treatment program. After you complete the evaluation, the counselor will send a report to the court with recommendations on treatment. The court will order you to follow the treatment recommendations as part of your sentence.
A first-offense DUI with a BAC under 0.15% is a Class W misdemeanor. If convicted, you face:
- Six-month driver's license revocation
- Seven days to six months of jail time
- $500 fine
- Ignition interlock device required
- Possible probation with jail sentence suspended
- Possible alcohol monitoring
A second offense will increase your penalties to:
- 30 days to six months in jail
- 18-month license revocation
- Required IID after 45 days suspension
- $500 fine
- Possible probation with 10 days jail time or 240 hours of community service
- Possible alcohol monitoring
If convicted of three DUIs within 15 years, any subsequent conviction is an automatic felony DUI. The consequences of a felony DUI are severe, including a mandatory 180-day minimum jail sentence with up to three years possible. You face a $1,000 fine and a 15-year license revocation for a third offense.
Administrative License Revocation
When a police officer arrests you on a DUI charge, your driver's license is immediately confiscated. You must work with the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles about your revocation and requirements to obtain your driving privileges. You can apply for an administrative license hearing within 10 days of your arrest to regain your driver's license.
Your driver's license suspension is for six months for a first-time DUI conviction. The judge may allow you to apply for an ignition interlock device (IID) after 60 days of suspension. You must keep the IID for the remainder of your license revocation period.
An IID prevents your vehicle from operating when a detectable amount of alcohol is in your breath sample. You must submit a breath test with the IID to start your vehicle and periodically while the car is running. If you violate the IID, you face additional penalties and suspension time.
Zero Tolerance Law
If you are under 21, it is illegal for you to be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system. This is a zero-tolerance law. If your BAC is 0.02% or more, you will face a DUI charge. If convicted, your license gets revoked for 30 days, and you must pay $100 in fines.
If your BAC is 0.08% or greater, you face an adult DUI. You face the same penalties as someone over 21 if convicted.
Nebraska DUI Resources:
Get in Touch With a DUI Defense Attorney To Discuss Your DUI Case in Nebraska
Penalties for a DUI conviction are harsh. You have options if you have a DUI charge in Nebraska. An excellent first step is to contact an experienced local DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer in Nebraska will have in-depth knowledge of the state's laws and be able to provide you with accurate legal advice about your case.