In Nebraska, a second Driving Under The Influence (DUI) offense is more unforgiving than the first. Individuals face the possibility of jail time along with a significant fine and other consequences. Grasping the weight of these charges is extremely important for drivers in the state. The following information clarifies what a DUI is in Nebraska, the penalties associated with second offenses, potential alternatives to jail time, defenses to accusations, and the reason for hiring a DUI lawyer.

Second DUI Charge

The lawyers at Liberty Law Group are ready to defend you against DUI charges. Repeat DUI offenses are punished more severely than first-time offenders. However, the criminal defense team at Liberty Law Group is ready to provide personal, full-service representation to qualifying cases.

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

Second DUI in Nebraska

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DUI Defined

In Nebraska, DUI is defined under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,196. This law makes it illegal for a person to operate or have actual physical control of a motor vehicle in three main circumstances: firstly, if they are under the influence of alcohol or any drug; secondly, if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, measured as eight-hundredths of one gram of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood; and thirdly, if their BAC is 0.08% or higher, measured as eight-hundredths of one gram of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath. A person found to be in control of a motor vehicle under any of these conditions is considered to be committing a crime based on the Nebraska DUI law.

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What Counts as a Prior Offense?

A “prior conviction” under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197.02 is defined as a conviction for specific violations related to DUI that occurred within a 15-year period before the current offense. This 15-year period is calculated from the date of the previous offense to the date of the current offense leading to conviction.

For a DUI violation, a prior conviction includes:

  • Convictions under Nebraska state law for DUI-related offenses and DUI-related motor vehicle homicide, DUI-related motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child, DUI-related motor vehicle operation with a person under 16 years old, refusal to submit to a DUI chemical test, and DUI causing serious bodily injury.
  • Convictions for violating local ordinances that align with Nebraska’s main DUI laws.
  • Convictions under the laws of other states, provided that at the time of those convictions, the offenses would have been violations under the Nebraska statutes.

When sentencing for a DUI offense, the prosecutor or investigating agency is responsible for obtaining the individual’s driving record from both the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles and from other states where the individual has resided in the past 15 years. This record is used to determine the number of prior convictions, which the court then officially records at the time of conviction.

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Consequences of a Second DUI

Fines and Jail Time

Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197.03, a person convicted of their second DUI offense faces several penalties. Primarily, they are guilty of a Class W misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. The court requires an 18-month revocation of the person’s driver’s license, starting from the court’s ordered date. During the first 45 days of this period, the individual is prohibited from driving. After this period, they must apply for an ignition interlock permit and install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they own or operate. This device must be used for at least one year.

Additionally, if the person’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.15 or more, or if they refused a required test, the offense escalates to a Class I misdemeanor. This carries a heavier penalty, including up to one year in jail a $1,000 fine and a license revocation period ranging from 18 months to 15 years. The individual also faces a minimum of 90 days’ imprisonment.

If the court opts for probation or suspends the sentence, the license revocation and the requirement for an ignition interlock device remain in effect. In cases of probation, the individual must also pay a $500 fine and either serve ten days in jail or complete a minimum of 240 hours of community service. For more severe violations (0.15 alcohol concentration or test refusal), the conditions include a $1,000 fine and a mandatory 30-day jail term.

Impact on Driver’s License

Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-498.01, if a person is arrested for DUI, their driver’s license can be automatically revoked. This revocation process begins immediately following the arrest, especially if the individual refuses a chemical test (like blood, breath, or urine) or if the test shows an excessive alcohol concentration. The arresting officer serves a notice of intent to revoke the license, and the revocation becomes effective 15 days after the arrest. The individual has the right to request an administrative hearing to contest this revocation, but this must be done within ten days of their arrest. Alternatively, they can apply for an ignition interlock permit, which allows them to drive with a device that checks their breath for alcohol or a 24/7 sobriety program permit. However, applying for these permits implies acceptance of the license revocation.

It’s also important to note that according to Revised Statutes 60-4,182, a second DUI can add six points to a driver’s license. If a driver accumulates 12 points or more, whether through DUI or other traffic offenses, their license may be revoked.

Vehicle Immobilization

The court can order that all motor vehicles owned by the convicted person be immobilized for a period ranging from five days to eight months. This means that the registration of these vehicles, including their license plates, can be suspended or revoked at the court’s discretion. However, if the vehicle has a lienholder with a lien executed before the immobilization, the vehicle can be released to them. Additionally, a vehicle can be released to a registered owner who is not the convicted individual, provided they submit an affidavit to the court. This affidavit must say that the vehicle is necessary for their employment and the well-being of their dependents and that they will not allow the convicted individual or anyone with a similar conviction to use it.

Ignition Interlock Device

As an alternative to vehicle immobilization, the court may order the convicted person to obtain an ignition interlock permit and install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle they own or operate. Its primary function is to prevent a person from driving if their blood or breath alcohol concentration exceeds 0.03 grams per 100 milliliters or 210 liters, respectively. This is required if the individual’s driver’s license has been revoked for at least one year. After a no-driving period of at least 45 days, the individual may operate a vehicle with the ignition interlock device and permit. The person must maintain the ignition interlock device for at least one year or the duration of the court-ordered revocation period, whichever is longer. The person’s driving license can only be reinstated after this period and upon meeting all the requirements related to the ignition interlock device.

Abstention from Alcohol Use

Abstention from alcohol use can be a court-ordered condition under Nebraska law, particularly in cases involving multiple DUI offenses. When the court orders the installation of an ignition interlock device and issues an ignition interlock permit, it may also mandate abstention from alcohol consumption during the period that their license is revoked. Violating this court order, such as by consuming alcohol, can lead to serious consequences like the revocation of the ignition interlock permit.

Alcohol Monitoring Devices

Alcohol monitoring devices are used as part of court orders in Nebraska for individuals convicted of second DUI offenses where an IID is required. These devices continuously monitor and record the alcohol consumption levels of a person and transmit this information to probation authorities. The use of these devices is generally ordered alongside the installation of an ignition interlock device and a requirement for abstention from alcohol. These devices function without tampering or the intervention of another person and are a means to ensure that individuals comply with court-ordered alcohol abstinence. Violations, such as tampering with the device or consuming alcohol, can lead to the revocation of the individual’s ignition interlock permit and further legal consequences.

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Defenses to DUI

In Nebraska, defenses against DUI charges can vary based on the circumstances of each case. One common defense is an illegal traffic stop. This is based on the argument that the initial stop by law enforcement was not legally justified. If the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, any evidence gathered, like alcohol test results, might be considered inadmissible in court.

Another defense centers on the actual operation or physical control of the vehicle. Nebraska law requires that the person charged must have been operating or in actual physical control of the vehicle. If it can be shown that the individual was not in control of the vehicle, this could be a valid defense, even if they were intoxicated.

The accuracy and proper administration of preliminary breath tests and evidentiary breath tests can also be grounds for defense. If these tests were not administered according to established procedures or if the equipment was not properly calibrated, the results may be declared by the court to be unreliable.

Improperly conducted field sobriety tests can also be challenged. Factors like physical conditions, medical issues, and the environment where the tests were conducted can affect their accuracy.

Lastly, defenses can involve challenging the Drug Recognition Expert’s (DRE) evaluation, the admissibility of urine tests (especially for alcohol detection), errors in the chain of custody of blood samples, and the procedure in blood extraction or testing equipment. All these aspects, if proven faulty or improperly handled, can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case against the individual charged with DUI.

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Role of an Attorney

A DUI attorney in Nebraska provides important assistance to someone accused of DUI, guiding them through an intimidating legal process. They begin by explaining the legal implications of the charge and representing the client in court, ensuring their rights are fully protected. A key part of their role is to scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence, including police reports and test results, looking for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies that could potentially weaken the case against the client. In situations where the evidence is substantial, the attorney may negotiate with the prosecution to secure a plea bargain, potentially leading to reduced charges or lesser sentencing.

DUI lawyers also play a vital role in managing issues related to license revocation, representing clients in DMV hearings, and advising on the reinstatement of driving privileges. DUI attorneys explore alternative sentencing options, like probation with community service or enrollment in treatment programs, which might offer a more favorable outcome than jail time. Each DUI case is unique, and these attorneys tailor their defense strategies accordingly, considering the client’s specific circumstances and background. A lawyer also ensures that the client’s constitutional rights are upheld throughout the legal process, challenging any violations to protect the client’s interests.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a second DUI in Nebraska?

A second DUI involves driving with over 0.08% BAC or being impaired by drugs within 15 years.

What is the legal limit for drinking and driving in Nebraska?

The legal blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08% for driving in Nebraska.

Will I go to jail for a second DUI?

Jail time up to six months is possible, and 90 days minimum for severe cases.

Can I fight a second DUI in court?

Yes, common defenses include questioning legality of stop and accuracy of tests.

Will my license be suspended for a second DUI in Nebraska?

License suspension is for 18 months, with no driving allowed for initial 45 days.

Will I be able to drive even if my license gets suspended for DUI in Nebraska?

Driving is possible with an ignition interlock permit or 24/7 sobriety program after 45 days.

What is the difference between a DUI and DWI in Nebraska?

Nebraska uses the term DUI. DWI means the same thing as DUI in the state.

How long will a second DUI stay on my record?

A DUI conviction typically remains permanently on a person’s record in Nebraska.

What is the fine for a DUI?

Up to $500 for second DUI, $1,000 for severe violations.

Can I refuse a breathalyzer or blood test for DUI?

Refusal leads to immediate license revocation and can increase penalties.

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Additional Resources

Nebraska Impaired Driving Laws: This article provides a detailed summary of Nebraska DUI laws. Explains the potential consequences of a second offense DUI, including a mandatory minimum jail term for a violation with less than .15% BAC. Also covers other penalties that could follow from a second DUI charge, including fines and a requirement of an ignition interlock on the driver’s vehicle.

Nebraska DUI Laws and Potential Punishments: This article explains some consequences for DUI violations, including on conviction of a second DUI offense. Also covers enhanced penalties on each offense from the first to fifth DUI conviction and discusses requirements for SR22 insurance proof of financial responsibility following a DUI conviction.

Nebraska DUI chart: This reference covers laws and potential consequences of an arrest and conviction. Shows the differences between potential charges when the driver’s BAC is .08% to .149% versus those that result from a BAC of .15% or higher. Also explains the Administrative License Revocation process, which is distinct from any criminal charges or convictions.

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Find a Second DUI Charge Lawyer in Omaha | Liberty Law Group

Our attorneys at Liberty Law Group are ready to defend you against DUI charges.

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 DUI crime, 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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