In Nebraska, third DUI offenses are taken very seriously, reflecting the state’s commitment to road safety. Third DUI offenders face jail time, substantial fines, and other collateral consequences. Individuals concerned about repeat DUI offenses should read on to learn what the offense entails in Nebraska. The following information covers the specific penalties and potential alternatives to incarceration such as treatment programs and probation.

Additionally, individuals can learn about viable defenses against these charges and why securing a knowledgeable DUI lawyer is smart.

Omaha DUI Lawyer

DUI charges, especially those after the third offense, can have life-changing consequences for everyone involved. Without a strong defense team, DUI charges can result in limited employment, substantial fines, jail time or even a lifetime driving ban.

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.

Third DUI Offenses in Nebraska

Definition of DUI in Nebraska

In Nebraska, a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is defined under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,196. This law makes it illegal for a person to drive or control a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Specifically, it is unlawful if a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, measured either by blood or breath. This limit means that if a person has eight-hundredths of one gram of alcohol per 100 milliliters of their blood, or per 210 liters of their breath, they are considered to be driving under the influence. The statute clarifies that operating or having actual physical control of a vehicle in such a state is a criminal offense. Importantly, an officer can also arrest someone for DUI if the officer believes that the individual is intoxicated regardless of whether the individual’s BAC is above the legal limit.

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Consequences of a Third DUI

Fines and Jail Time

Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197.03, the consequences for a third DUI offense vary based on specific circumstances. Generally, an individual with two prior convictions who is convicted of a third DUI will face a Class W misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. This also results in a mandatory operator’s license revocation for 15 years. However, if the court decides on probation or suspends the sentence, the license revocation period ranges from a minimum of two years to a maximum of 15 years. During this revocation period, the individual is prohibited from driving for the first 45 days. Following this, the court may permit the individual to apply for an ignition interlock permit. It’s important to keep in mind that even with a suspended sentence, individuals still must pay a $1,000 fine and serve a 30-day jail sentence.

There are enhanced penalties if the individual’s blood alcohol concentration is .15% or if they refuse to be tested for DUI at the officer’s direction. In those cases, the offense is elevated to a Class IIIA felony punishable by up to three years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. The penalties also include a mandatory 15-year license revocation and a minimum of 180 days’ imprisonment. If probation or sentence suspension is granted, the license revocation period is at least five years but not more than 15 years. Conditions for probation or sentence suspension include a $1,000 fine, a 60-day jail term, and post-release requirements such as continuous alcohol monitoring and abstaining from alcohol for a minimum of 60 days.

Revocation of Driver’s License

Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-498.01, an individual’s driver’s license can be swiftly revoked following a DUI arrest. This revocation process initiates immediately after the arrest, particularly if the individual refuses a chemical test or if the test reveals a high BAC. The arresting officer issues a notice of intent to revoke the license, which becomes effective 15 days post-arrest. The individual has the option to request an administrative hearing to contest the revocation within ten days of their arrest. Alternatively, they may apply for an ignition interlock permit, allowing them to drive with a device monitoring their breath for alcohol, or for a 24/7 sobriety program permit. However, applying for these permits means that the individual accepts the license revocation.

Also, according to Revised Statutes 60-4,182, a third DUI can add 12 points to an individual’s driver’s license. If a driver accumulates 12 points or more, their license could be revoked for at least six months. In this case, the driver has to complete a driver improvement course and other requirements before their license can be reinstated. During this period of revocation, the driver can apply for an employment driving permit or a medical hardship driving permit.

Vehicle Immobilization

If a person is convicted, the court can decide to immobilize all vehicles they own between five days and eight months. This means the court can suspend or revoke the registration and license plates of these vehicles. However, if there’s a lienholder with a legitimate claim on the vehicle made before the immobilization, the vehicle can be given back to them. Also, if someone else is the registered owner of the vehicle and not the convicted person, they can get the vehicle back. They need to file an affidavit with the court saying that they will not allow the convicted person to use the vehicle.

Ignition Interlock Device

An ignition interlock device is a court-ordered tool used in Nebraska for individuals convicted of DUI. It’s a breathalyzer for an individual’s vehicle, requiring the driver to blow into it before starting the car. If the device detects a blood or breath alcohol concentration above 0.03 grams per 100 milliliters or 210 liters, the vehicle won’t start. After a mandatory no-driving period of at least 45 days, the individual can drive vehicles fitted with this device. The ignition interlock device must be maintained for at least one year or the full duration of the revocation period.

Alcohol Assessment

In Nebraska, individuals convicted of DUI must undergo an alcohol assessment conducted by a licensed counselor. This evaluation, paid for by the convicted person, determines the extent of their alcohol-related issues. The judge reviews the assessment results during sentencing and may require the individual to follow the assessment’s recommendations, in addition to other penalties for the DUI offense. The cost of complying with these recommendations also falls on the convicted person.

Abstention from Alcohol Use

In Nebraska, abstention from alcohol use can be a required condition for individuals convicted of DUI offenses. This court order obligates the individual to completely avoid alcohol consumption during the license revocation period. Non-compliance, such as drinking alcohol, can lead to severe consequences like losing the ignition interlock permit. The aim of this requirement is to prevent repeat offenses by ensuring that the individual does not engage in behaviors that could lead to impaired driving.

Alcohol Monitoring Devices

Nebraska courts may require the use of alcohol monitoring devices for individuals with DUI convictions. These devices continuously check and record a person’s alcohol levels and send this data to probation authorities. They’re often used alongside ignition interlock devices and the mandate for alcohol abstinence. Designed to operate without being tampered with, these devices ensure the individual adheres to the court’s order to avoid alcohol. Violating these conditions, like tampering with the device or consuming alcohol, can result in the revocation of the ignition interlock permit and additional legal actions.

No Tolerance For Felony Offenders

Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,196.01 applies when a person, who already has a previous felony conviction for DUI or a similar offense, is again found to be in control of a motor vehicle while having a certain level of alcohol in their system. Specifically, if a person has a BAC of .02% or more, they are considered to have committed a Class IIIA misdemeanor punishable by up to seven days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine. This is in addition to any other penalties they might face for operating a vehicle under the influence.

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Collateral Consequences of a Third DUI Offense

When an individual in Nebraska is convicted of a third DUI offense, the repercussions extend well beyond legal penalties. Most importantly, this offense can leave a stain on their criminal record, affecting various life aspects. It may hinder their employment prospects, especially in jobs requiring driving. Finding housing can become more difficult, as landlords often conduct thorough criminal background checks. Financially, the individual faces higher insurance rates and expenses related to required DUI programs. Students might also experience expulsion or other strict disciplinary actions from their educational institutions, while professionals could undergo scrutiny and potentially lose their licenses.

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Alternative Sentencing Programs in Nebraska for Repeat Offenders and Felony Offenders

In Nebraska, Adult Drug Court and DUI Court are specialized programs designed to address specific issues related to substance abuse and DUI offenses.

Adult Drug Court is tailored for non-violent felony offenders who struggle with substance abuse. Instead of traditional jail time, this court provides a structured program that focuses on substance abuse treatment, case management, and helping participants achieve educational and employment goals. The program usually lasts 18 to 24 months and includes services like mental health treatment, regular court hearings, random drug testing, and support group participation. It’s run by a team of professionals including coordinators and case managers. Successfully completing the Adult Drug Court program can possibly lead to the dismissal of charges.

DUI Court in Nebraska is specifically for individuals facing their third or fourth DUI charges. To enter this court, a person must undergo an assessment that evaluates their substance abuse severity and the risk of reoffending. Those with a history of violent crimes typically cannot participate. This program requires participants to undergo substance abuse treatment, which might involve counseling, group therapy, and possibly detoxification. A key part of DUI Court is maintaining sobriety, monitored through regular drug and alcohol testing. Participants also need to regularly attend DUI Court sessions and comply with probation requirements, which include frequent check-ins. The program also educates participants about the dangers of impaired driving and ways to stay sober.

Completing the DUI Court program can bring several benefits. Legally, participants may see a reduction in their DUI charges, which could mean lower fines or a shorter probation period. However, these benefits depend on the individual’s compliance with all program requirements, such as staying sober and attending all treatment and educational sessions.

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Potential Defenses

Defending against DUI charges in Nebraska can involve various strategies. One common defense is challenging the legality of the initial traffic stop. If the stop was conducted without reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts like erratic driving, any evidence collected, including alcohol test results, may be deemed inadmissible in court.

Another defense centers on whether the individual was actually operating or in control of the vehicle at the time, as required by Nebraska’s DUI law. Even if the individual was drunk, as long as they weren’t operating or in control of the car, they were not driving under the influence.

Inaccuracies or procedural errors in preliminary breath tests can also be a defense. If the test wasn’t administered according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services guidelines or if the device wasn’t properly calibrated, the results might be unreliable. Similarly, issues with field sobriety tests, such as their administration under bad conditions or by inadequately trained officers, can be contested.

Defenses can also arise from evidentiary breath tests. If the DataMaster device used for testing wasn’t regularly certified or the officer administering the test lacked proper training, the results may be challenged. Discrepancies in the documentation or handling of these results can further weaken the prosecution’s case.

In cases involving Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), a defense may scrutinize the DRE’s training, methods, and conclusions. If a DRE wasn’t available and the arresting officer lacked specialized training in identifying drug impairment, this could be a point of contention.

Chain of custody errors with blood samples present another defense opportunity. If there were lapses in how the samples were documented, labeled, or handled, it could question the reliability of the evidence. Similarly, incorrect procedures in blood extraction or issues with testing equipment can invalidate the test results.

A defense to DUI may also focus on the inconsistency between BAC results and observed impairment. If an individual’s observed symptoms don’t align with their BAC levels, it might suggest the officer’s suspicion of intoxication was unfounded. Medical conditions that affect BAC readings or mimic intoxication signs, such as diabetes or GERD, can additionally form the basis of a defense.

Inaccuracies in police reports, such as inconsistencies or improper documentation of an individual’s refusal to answer questions, can also be used to challenge the evidence. Violations of legal rights, including not being read Miranda rights, not being properly advised of the implications of chemical tests, infringement of the right to consult an attorney, or denial of an independent medical evaluation, can form the basis of a defense.

Lastly, the defense of emergency or necessity may apply if the defendant was compelled to drive under the influence due to urgent circumstances, though this is difficult to prove and depends on the case’s specifics.

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How a Lawyer Helps Individuals Facing a Third DUI

A DUI attorney in Nebraska is essential for anyone facing DUI charges, as they provide comprehensive legal guidance and representation. Their role includes explaining the legal implications and processes involved in a DUI case and ensuring the client’s rights are protected during all legal proceedings.

One of the key responsibilities of a DUI lawyer is to thoroughly review and challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution. This includes analyzing police reports, test results, and witness statements for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies that could lead to a reduction or dismissal of the charges.

In cases with substantial evidence, DUI attorneys can negotiate plea bargains. Their expertise in Nebraska’s DUI laws and familiarity with prosecutors enable them to negotiate effectively, potentially leading to reduced charges or lighter sentencing.

Moreover, DUI charges often result in driving license revocation. Attorneys assist in navigating the administrative processes related to this, such as representing clients in DMV hearings and advising on steps to regain driving privileges, like installing an ignition interlock device.

Exploring alternative sentencing options is another important aspect. DUI attorneys in Nebraska may propose options like probation, community service, or alcohol education and treatment programs, which can sometimes replace or reduce jail time.

Beyond legal representation, DUI attorneys often provide meaningful support and practical advice to clients, helping them understand the potential impacts of a DUI conviction on their personal and professional lives. This support is vital in guiding clients through the stress and uncertainty of the situation.

Finally, ensuring the client’s constitutional rights are upheld is a fundamental role of a DUI attorney. They ensure lawful police conduct during the arrest, proper administration of tests, and compliance with due process in court proceedings. Any violation of these rights can be grounds for challenging the DUI charge.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a third DUI in Nebraska?

A third DUI involves driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, with two prior offenses.

Will I go to jail for a third DUI?

Jail time up to one year for a misdemeanor, three years for elevated felony cases.

Can I fight a third DUI in court?

Yes, possible defenses include challenging the traffic stop legality and test accuracy.

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

Mandatory suspension for 15 years, or 2-15 years if probation or sentence suspension is granted.

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

Driving is possible with an ignition interlock permit after the initial 45-day no-driving period.

How long will a third DUI stay on my record?

A DUI conviction typically remains permanently on an individual’s record in Nebraska.

What is the fine for a third DUI?

Up to $1,000 for a misdemeanor, up to $10,000 for a felony.

Can I refuse field sobriety tests?

Refusing is possible but may result in arrest for DUI.

Can I refuse a breathalyzer or blood test for DUI?

Refusing a test can lead to immediate license revocation and enhanced penalties. It also doesn’t stop the state from bringing a DUI charge.

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Additional Resources

Nebraska DUI laws and Related Consequences: This article explains some results of being stopped for driving while impaired. Explains that DUI charges can be based on “actual impairment” that interferes with the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle OR “per se DUI” in which the driver’s BAC is shown by chemical test to be in excess of the legal limit of 0.08%.

Nebraska DUI laws: This article reviews state prohibitions against operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two substances. Explains that a driver who has been convicted of three DUIs within 15 years will face an automatic felony DUI charge.

Nebraska Ignition Interlock Permits: This article explains that the state’s laws allow offenders to waive their right to an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing that is separate from the criminal process and apply for an IIP on their vehicle. Also reviews requirements to be eligible for an IIP under state law.

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Find a Third DUI Offense Lawyer in Omaha, Nebraska | 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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