When someone is arrested for drunk driving in Omaha or other cities in Nebraska, the prosecution will typically throw as many charges at the defendant as they reasonably believe will stick. So a single traffic stop can result in a speeding ticket, resisting arrest, a breath test refusal and a DUI or even drug possession charges. When facing multiple offenses, it can sometimes make sense to negotiate with the prosecution so that some charges may be dropped.
It was recently reported that former Nebraska football player and current New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was able to reach a plea bargain with the prosecution. He agreed to a no contest plea for his refusal to take a Breathalyzer test, in exchange for having a DUI charge and another offense dropped.
In Nebraska, as in many other states, there are mandatory consequences for a chemical breath test refusal. Specifically, in this case, the prosecution maintained that Dennard didn’t blow enough air for the police to get a good sample. It was reported that Dennard was sentenced to a $500 fine and a 60-day driver’s license revocation in exchange for the no contest plea. Dennard’s plea of no contest to the breath test refusal is not the same as pleading guilty. No contest is also called “nolo contendere” and indicates that the defendant doesn’t wish to go to trial and will accept the sentencing without admitting guilt.
In this particular case, pleading no contest to the Breathalyzer refusal means that Dennard can keep a DUI conviction off his record. This is important, should he ever be arrested for a subsequent DUI. A first drunk driving charge is often a misdemeanor, and a second charge is often a felony offense.
Complicating the matter is that Dennard was on probation for a previous assault conviction, so drinking and driving was a probation violation. As a result of the DUI stop, the former Nebraska football player was ordered to serve three years of probation, 35 days in county jail plus 200 hours of community service for the assault conviction probation violation.