The state of Nebraska considers driving under the influence (DUI) a serious
offense. All offenders, including those convicted for the first time,
must apply for an ignition interlock device that requires them to pass
a breath test before they can operate their vehicles.
Penalties for First-Time Offenders
In Nebraska, an individual’s first DUI offense is a misdemeanor.
At a minimum, those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol
in Nebraska may:
- Spend seven days in jail
- Have their driver’s license suspended for six months
- Pay a $500 fine and
- Need to install an ignition interlock device.
The maximum penalty for a first offense is up to 60 days in jail. But jail
time can be waived in certain circumstances when the court grants probation.
In some jurisdictions in Nebraska house arrest is also a potential sentencing
option for the judge. If the driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC)
of .15 or over while driving, the driver’s license revocation period
increases to one year for a first offense.
Additionally, offenders must complete an alcohol assessment prior to being
sentenced and may be ordered to attend an alcohol treatment program, which
can cost $3,000 or more.
Nebraska’s New Ignition Interlock Device Laws
As of the first of this year, Nebraska gives those convicted of DUI two
options: Apply for an ignition interlock device, or fight their license
suspensions through the DMV and potentially appeal a DMV decision through
the court system. For many offenders, this new law allows them to continue
to drive to work or school while serving their sentences. Others whose
careers could be destroyed by a DMV suspension opt to fight the suspension
though the administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing process and
appeals though the court system.
First-time offenders can apply immediately for ignition interlock devices.
Those convicted of two or more DUIs or those who refuse to take a chemical
alcohol concentration test, however, must complete a mandatory no-drive
period before applying for the device.
When first-time offenders apply for ignition interlock devices, they waive
their right to challenge the revocation of their driver’s license
through an ALR hearing. When drivers suspected of DUI are pulled over,
police officers are allowed to confiscate their licenses on the spot if
the officer reasonably believes the driver is operating the vehicle under
the influence or the driver refused to take a chemical test. The administrative
review of a revocation through the DMV allows those accused of DUI to
challenge allegations that they were operating a motor vehicle, or were
under the influence of alcohol or refused a chemical test when they were
DUI charges are serious. Nebraska requires all first time DUI offenders
to either install an ignition interlock device or risk losing their driving
privileges for at least six months depending on the outcome of the ALR
hearing and /or court proceedings. The assistance of an experienced criminal
defense attorney is one way you can ensure your rights are protected.