Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) DUIs concern individuals operating commercial vehicles under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Convictions for CDL DUIs carry a significant and often devastating impact on individuals, affecting their careers and livelihoods. We invite you to continue reading to gain a better understanding of the drunk driving laws in Nebraska, such as the penalties, the administrative process for revoking CDLs, and defenses that could be raised against these charges. Importantly, we’ll also explore why individuals facing CDL DUI allegations can greatly benefit from the representation of a criminal defense attorney.

CDL DUI Lawyer in Omaha

The rules around CDL DUIs are even stricter than standard DUI laws. As such, it takes a strong, experienced team to provide the appropriate representation during the legal process. The attorneys at Liberty Law Group are experienced in DUI defenders and are ready to help build your defense.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a CDL DUI, call our firm at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

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Nebraska Commercial Vehicle Alcohol Prohibition Law

Nebraska Revised Statute 60-4,163 states that it is illegal for anyone to drive or have control of a commercial vehicle if they have consumed any alcohol. If a person is found operating a commercial vehicle with alcohol in their system, or if they refuse to take a test to check the alcohol level in their blood or breath, they face immediate consequences. These include a ban on driving for 24 hours, potential disqualification from driving commercial vehicles, and prosecution under standard DUI laws.

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Nebraska Implied Consent Law for Commercial Drivers

Nebraska Revised Statute 60-4,164 is the “implied consent” law, which applies to commercial motor vehicle operators in Nebraska. This law states that by driving a commercial vehicle, drivers automatically agree to undergo chemical tests (like blood or breath tests) to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC) if requested by law enforcement.

If a police officer suspects that a commercial vehicle driver has alcohol in their system, either from observing their driving or after a traffic accident, they can require the driver to take these tests. Refusing to take a preliminary breath test, which checks for the presence of alcohol, is a Class V misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine. If the test indicates alcohol presence, or if the driver refuses to take it, they can be arrested and must undergo further chemical testing.

If the driver’s BAC is between 0.04% and 0.08%, the driver is not processed for a DUI but might face other consequences related to their commercial driving license. The driver receives a copy of the officer’s CDL Sworn report, and another copy is sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Law enforcement typically will not confiscate the driver’s license if the officer only submits a CDL Sworn Report. Immediate license confiscation is only allowed if the test results show a BAC of 0.08% or more, or if the driver refused a chemical test.

Moreover, commercial drivers involved in accidents in Nebraska are subject to these same rules, regardless of whether they leave the state after the accident. If they refuse testing and leave the state, they still face the legal consequences upon their return.

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CDL Disqualification

Nebraska Commercial Driver Disqualification Rules

Nebraska Revised Statute 60-4,168 outlines the disqualification rules for commercial drivers related to alcohol offenses. A commercial driver will be disqualified for one year after their first conviction for operating a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. This applies to convictions in Nebraska or any other state. The same disqualification period applies for offenses such as refusing a chemical test, leaving the scene of an accident, using a vehicle in a felony, driving with a suspended, revoked, or canceled commercial license, or causing a fatality through negligent driving.

For offenses involving hazardous materials, the disqualification period increases to three years. If a driver commits any of these offenses a second time or more, they face a lifetime disqualification. Additionally, serious traffic violations, which may include alcohol-related offenses, can lead to disqualification for 60 days for two violations, or 120 days for three, within a three-year period.

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Nebraska DUI Disqualification Process

Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-4,167, when a law enforcement officer reports a DUI offense involving a commercial driver, the Director of Motor Vehicles sends a disqualification notice to the driver by regular mail. This notice explains the disqualification process and the driver’s rights. The driver receives a form to request a hearing to contest the disqualification, which must be returned within ten days of receipt to retain this right. If uncontested, disqualification begins 30 days after the notice is mailed. The driver’s commercial license or permit is automatically disqualified after 30 days unless contested.

The hearing, if requested, is usually held in the county of the violation. The Director decides the outcome based on the evidence presented. If the driver can’t show that their refusal to take the chemical test was reasonable or that they weren’t operating the vehicle under the influence, their commercial driving privileges are revoked.

Nebraska Revised Statute 60-4,167.02 allows anyone dissatisfied with their DUI disqualification decision to appeal to the district court in the county where the offense occurred. The appeal doesn’t automatically delay the disqualification unless the court grants a stay. If the court’s final decision is against the appellant, the disqualification period starts.

CDL Revocation

Nebraska Revised Statute 60-4,169 outlines the process for revoking a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP). Under this law, if the Director learns that a driver has been convicted of or administratively determined to have committed a serious traffic offense, the Director must immediately revoke the driver’s CDL or CLP. The revocation becomes effective either from the date the revocation order is signed or when the individual is released from jail or a correctional facility, whichever comes later. However, if a court orders that jail time and revocation should occur simultaneously, the revocation period may begin during the individual’s jail time.

Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-4,170, within ten days of revocation, the driver is notified in writing. The notice includes a detailed list of the violations or decisions that led to the revocation, along with their dates and the courts or agencies involved. It also specifies the length of the revocation and calls for the immediate return of the CDL. Failure to return the license or permit results in a Class III misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine. If a driver disagrees with the revocation, they have the right to appeal. However, an appeal does not pause the revocation unless a court grants a stay. If the final court decision is against the driver, their license remains revoked for the duration set by the Director.

Reinstating a CDL or CLP in Nebraska After Revocation

Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-4,171, individuals who have had their CDL revoked can take specific steps to regain their driving privileges. After the revocation period ends, they can apply for a Class O or M operator’s license. To reinstate their CDL, applicants must go through several steps, including applying to the department, taking the prescribed knowledge and driving skills tests for a CDL, completing the required certifications, meeting medical requirements, undergoing a check of their driving record, paying fees for reinstatement, and surrendering any operator’s license obtained during the revocation period.

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Nebraska’s Main DUI Law

Nebraska’s main law for driving under the influence (DUI) is outlined in statute 60-6,196. This law makes it illegal to drive or control a motor vehicle if a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair their driving ability. A DUI offense occurs if a person’s BAC is 0.08% or higher.

The penalties for DUI in Nebraska depend on the BAC level and the driver’s previous DUI history. For a first offense, it’s usually a Class W misdemeanor. Penalties can include up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, a six-month license suspension, and requirement of using an ignition interlock device in the vehicle. More severe penalties apply for higher BAC levels (0.15% or more) or if the driver refuses to take a test, including longer license suspension and possible jail time. Repeat offenders face harsher penalties, including mandatory jail time, extended license revocation, and higher fines.

Also, if someone is arrested for DUI and refuses a chemical test or tests above the legal limit, their driver’s license is immediately confiscated and revoked, effective 15 days after the arrest.

Nebraska courts may require DUI offenders on probation to undergo an alcohol assessment by a licensed counselor. The results of this evaluation are important in sentencing decisions and may lead to specific requirements like alcohol abstinence and the use of monitoring devices.

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Collateral Consequences of a CDL DUI

CDL holders who receive a suspension or revocation of their CDL cannot legally operate a commercial vehicle. This likely leads to job loss, as driving is an essential part of their role. Even after they regain their license, they may find it challenging to secure employment in the driving sector, as many companies are wary of hiring someone with a DUI on their record due to increased liability and insurance costs.

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Possible Defenses to CDL DUI Charges

For CDL holders facing DUI charges in Nebraska, there are several defenses that can be utilized. Challenging the accuracy and legality of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests is a common defense. Inaccuracies in testing, improper handling of samples, or errors in the administration of blood or breath tests can be grounds for contesting the results. Since those conducting the blood draw are considered state agents, any procedural mistake can lead to the inadmissibility of the test results.

Relatedly, the reliability and administration of field sobriety tests can be questioned. Factors like physical conditions, disabilities, or improper instructions can affect the validity of these tests.

Contesting the legality of the traffic stop or the officer’s reasons for suspecting DUI can be a defense. If there was no reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the stop, the evidence gathered during the stop, including the results of BAC tests, might be challenged.

Another defense involves the right to additional testing. Under Nebraska law, a person subjected to a chemical test has the right to seek additional tests from a physician of their choice. If this right is denied, the initial test results may not be used as evidence.

CDL holders can also request a hearing to contest their disqualification. A successful argument that the refusal to take a chemical test was reasonable or that they weren’t operating the vehicle under the influence can prevent disqualification. If disqualified, CDL holders can appeal the decision.

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Involving a CDL DUI Lawyer in Nebraska

In Nebraska, defense lawyers do more than just provide legal advice; they offer a support system during a challenging period in their clients’ lives. Understanding that a DUI charge can threaten a client’s career, a defense attorney approaches each case with the utmost importance.

The lawyer closely examines every aspect of the charge, from the accuracy of the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests to the circumstances of the traffic stop. Questioning the reliability of these tests or the legality of the stop is not just a matter of legal routine; it’s a strategic move to get the client’s case potentially thrown out. They recognize that procedural errors or unlawful stops can have significant consequences on the outcome of the case.

A defense lawyer can also engage in effective negotiations with the prosecutor as a key part of their strategy. This negotiation process, known as plea bargaining, can be critical for achieving a more favorable outcome for the client in situations where the evidence against the client is substantial.

Beyond the courtroom, the defense lawyer serves as a guide, helping their client navigate the criminal process and administrative license revocation process. This guidance is crucial for clients to make informed decisions about their case.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you’re caught driving a commercial vehicle with alcohol in your system in Nebraska?

Immediate 24-hour ban, potential disqualification, and prosecution under DUI laws.

How does Nebraska’s implied consent law apply to commercial drivers?

Commercial drivers automatically agree to undergo tests; refusal is a misdemeanor with potential legal consequences.

What are the BAC limits for commercial drivers in Nebraska?

It’s illegal to operate commercial vehicles with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.

What penalties do you face for a first CDL DUI offense in Nebraska?

One-year disqualification for a first offense; more severe penalties for repeat offenses or hazardous materials involvement.

What is the process for disqualifying a commercial driver’s license in Nebraska for DUI?

The DMV typically sends a notice, a hearing can be requested, and disqualification begins 30 days after notice if uncontested.

How can you reinstate a CDL in Nebraska after a revocation?

After the revocation period, apply for a Class O or M license, then retake CDL tests and meet other requirements.

What defenses can be used in CDL DUI cases in Nebraska?

Some defenses include challenging test accuracy, the legality of a traffic stop, the right to additional testing, and contesting other violations of rights.

What are the main DUI laws for non-commercial drivers in Nebraska?

It’s illegal to drive with BAC of 0.08% or higher. Penalties vary based on BAC and prior offenses.

What are the consequences of a CDL DUI beyond legal penalties?

Loss of job and challenges in finding future employment in the driving sector.

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Additional Resources

Commercial Driver’s License Disqualification: This resource summarizes disqualifying offenses in Nebraska for CDL drivers, including driving any motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Nebraska CDL Tickets: This article discusses the legal consequences of traffic violations for CDL holders, even if the violation is in another state. Explains the harsher punishments given to CDL drivers versus regular license holders and notes that the stricter consequences apply whether the CDL holder was driving a commercial vehicle or a private vehicle at the time of the violation.

Suspended CDL in Nebraska: This article discusses disqualifying violations in the state, which apply to CDL holders who are driving commercial and private vehicles and include speeding and reckless driving, DUI, refusing to submit to a BAC test, and others.

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Find a CDL DUI Lawyer in Nebraska

Our firm proudly serves Omaha in Douglas County, including Lincoln in Lancaster County, Papillion in Sarpy County, Fremont in Dodge County and Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County, Iowa and the surrounding areas. If you or a loved one has been charged or is under investigation for a CDL DUI, don’t wait, call our firm immediately at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

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