In 2012, Nebraska made some considerable changes to its DUI laws. One of the most prevalent of these changes is an increase in the amount of time that a judge will take into account past offenses. Prior to 2012, only criminal records that stretched back 12 years had an impact on sentencing. Currently, offenses that stretch back 15 years can have a bearing on each individual case. There have also been changes that impact the severity of penalties for driving under the influence while a child is present in a vehicle. Also related to children, Nebraska has made the death of an unborn child during an alcohol-related accident a separate crime from the DUI itself. The final change to DUI laws in Nebraska allows for the granting of a 15-day, temporary license to anyone who has been arrested for a DUI or those that refuse a chemical test to determine whether or not they are under the influence of any other drug.
The BAC, or blood alcohol concentration, that constitutes a DUI for persons over the age of 21 is standard for all states in the nation. A driver with a BAC of .08 percent or above will be taken into custody. There are also Nebraska DUI laws in place that constitute a
zero tolerance” stance by law enforcement in regards to minors. Anyone under the age of 21 will be arrested if they have a BAC that is .02 percent or above.
Nebraska is also somewhat unique due to the fact that it has a commercial limit in place for BAC readings that differ from the above limits. Drivers of commercial vehicles cannot have a BAC that is at or above .04 percent.
Like many other states, Nebraska also has an implied consent law in place. Refusal to submit to Breathalyzer testing or chemical testing can result in an automatic suspension of one’s license. This punishment can also be compounded by multiple offenses. Refusal to submit to testing on the first offense can result in a license suspension of 90 days in addition to an impounded vehicle.
Nebraska DUI Penalties
There is the possibility of jail time that can come with each DUI offense in Nebraska. The sentence can vary depending on the individual case and the presence of prior offenses on one’s record in Nebraska or any other state. Time spent behind bars is left to the discretion of the judge overseeing the case. Defendants can face as many as 90 days behind bars when they are caught for their third offense. It is possible in this state to plea for a lesser offense, however. When this is the case, a defendant can be convicted on a charge of reckless driving, known as a “wet reckless” charge, rather than a DUI offense.
A DUI offense in Nebraska does not fall into the category of a felony until the offending person has had three prior offenses that have occurred within the past 12 years. Without these circumstances in place, a DUI only constitutes a felony when another party experiences serious injury or death.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Nebraska?
The legal alcohol limit in Nebraska is .08 percent, as in every state. Commercial vehicle operators are subject to a stricter blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .04 percent, and drivers under 21 may face charges with a BAC of .02 percent or greater. Aggravated charges may be filed with a BAC of .15 percent or higher.
Drivers with a BAC above the legal limit typically are charged with driving under the influence (DUI). There are many potential penalties enforced against people convicted on offenses, including:
- Fines. A first or second DUI can result in a fine of $500, and a third offense can be $1,000.
- Incarceration. A person may be jailed for 90 days for a first offense, and a second or third conviction can yield a year sentence.
- Loss of driving privileges. A first DWI offense can yield a license revocation of six months, and a second conviction can result in loss of driving privileges for one year. A third offense can lead to a revocation period of 15 years.
In addition to these penalties, a person convicted of driving while intoxicated may have to attend drug education courses and install an ignition interlock device (IID).
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Nebraska
Ignition interlock law applies to people found guilty of any DWI offense. This law requires convicted individuals to install a device in a vehicle which prevents an engine from starting if a breath test reveals a BAC of .03 percent or greater.
Some aspects of IID law include:
- A device must be installed by an service provider authorized by the state.
- Costs for installing and monitoring are the responsibility of the individual.
- Failed breath tests may result in additional penalties.
People who found guilty of DUI most often choose to have an IID installed, despite drawbacks, given it is the only route to have driving privileges reinstated.
Nebraska DUI Penalties
In Nebraska, a driver can be convicted of driving under the influence, or DUI, for having a blood alcohol concentration or BAC level of .08 percent or greater. Such a BAC can result in the impairment of basic driving skills, such as braking, changing lanes, judging distance and steering. However, a driver can be convicted of DUI even if his or her BAC falls below the .08 percent threshold if an officer notices signs of impairment such as erratic driving.
Nebraska has a zero-tolerance law in effect for minors. Drivers under the age of 21 are considered minors and can face Nebraska DUI penalties with a BAC as low as .02 percent.
Nebraska has an implied consent law that states that anyone who operates a motor vehicle can be administered a chemical test by law enforcement officer if he or she is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By operating a motor vehicle, a driver has automatically given implied consent to submitting to a chemical test. If a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, he or she will face the same penalties as someone who has been convicted of a DUI.
If a driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, the following Nebraska DUI penalties can be expected.
First Offense DUI Penalties
A first offense DUI is considered a Class W misdemeanor. Drivers can be expected to spend between seven and 60 days in jail and pay a fine of up to $500. Their driver’s license will be suspended for six months, and they will have to undergo an alcohol assessment and possible treatment. It is also possible that the driver will have to install a court-ordered ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle upon reinstatement of their license.
Second Offense DUI Penalties
If a second DUI conviction occurs within 12 years of a first DUI, it is considered a Class W misdemeanor. For a second offense DUI, a driver can expect to spend between 30 days and six months in jail and pay a $500 fine. The driver’s license suspension period for a second offense is one year. Additionally, an ignition interlock system will be required upon reinstatement of the person’s driver’s license.
Third Offense DUI Penalties
A third DUI offense will result in jail time of 90 days to 1 year, a fine of $1,000 and license suspension for 15 years unless probation is part of one’s sentence, in which case the revocation may range from two to 15 years, and the jail sentence may be reduced to 30 days.
Fourth Offense DUI Penalties
If a fourth DUI conviction occurs within 12 years of a second offense DUI, it is considered a Class III-A felony. A fourth DUI results in imprisonment ranging in duration from 90 days to five years depending on whether or not probation is a part of the sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. The person’s driver’s license will be suspended for 15 years if the conviction is within 12 years of a previous conviction. A court may also require alcohol assessment and treatment.