Nebraska DUI Lawn Mower Driver Heads to Prison

Nebraska DUI on a lawn mowerIt’s all fun and games until you end up in prison because you passed out next to your lawnmower after a drunken joyride.

Nebraska DUI law is pretty specific. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .08 percent, you are guilty of drunk driving. If you have been found guilty of more than one Nebraska DUI, then you will face harsher penalties and consequences, like a longer ignition interlock requirement, or more time in jail. If you refuse the BAC test that law enforcement requires, you will face additional penalties, too. However, when you’re not even driving a street legal vehicle, but are found next to it, unable to function, you can bet you’ll end up in prison, especially if it isn’t your first Nebraska DUI rodeo.

Unfortunately, prison will probably not effectively prevent future DUI incidents. Most people think that a harsh punishment, like incarceration, will scare a person straight. Studies show that prison and punitive consequences for crimes like DUI are only a temporary solution to a pervasive problem. When a DUI offender receives treatment for alcohol abuse or addiction, and support once they have confronted their disease, the outcome is much better. On top of that, solutions like ignition interlock devices prevent drunk driving at the very place it starts: the driver’s seat.

Ignition interlock devices prevent up to 90 percent of second or subsequent drunk driving incidents, resulting in fewer DUI lawn mower attempts.

We tend to joke about stories like a Nebraska DUI on a lawnmower, but the truth is that even on a lawnmower, drunk driving is dangerous. Making the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking is putting lives at risk all over the roads. Be smart and safe, and know that prison is one of the worst consequences you can face, but it certainly is not the absolute worst part of a drunk driving incident.

Do You Qualify for the Nebraska DUI Diversion Program?

Nebraska DUI DiversionDUI diversion or deferment programs exist to give those who are least likely to be repeat offenders a second chance to be law-abiding citizens without a criminal record following them. Nebraska DUI convictions can have lifelong consequences that affect everything from your rights to your employment. Qualifying for a Nebraska DUI diversion program can benefit an offender in both short- and long-term ways.

As with most states, only certain counties participate in the Nebraska DUI diversion program, and there are strict requirements to qualify and to have your participation considered finished. To qualify, you may need to meet some or all of the following requirements:

  • Current DUI offense must be a misdemeanor or less serious felony
  • Any victim must consent to your participation in the Nebraska DUI diversion program.
  • You cannot have participated in a diversion program in the past
  • Clean criminal history
  • Eligibility for an ignition interlock device.

Nebraska’s DWI diversion program is 18 months long but you only remain active in the program for 6 months. During these six months, you are expected to complete a program of action that is determined by a screening process for substance abuse. The goal is to try to help you with any substance abuse issues you may have.

Other requirements that may have to be completed are community service at an approved non-profit agency, education classes, restitution, other fees, and monthly contact with your diversion case manager among others. The ignition interlock requirement is part of the diversion program if you are allowed to reinstate your license.

After completing all the requirements in the first six months, you must remain enrolled in the program for an additional 12 months. During these 12 months, if you commit another alcohol-related offense, the courts will file on both the new arrest and your original DWI. If you successfully make it to the end of the 18-month time period, your DWI charge will be dismissed and no conviction will appear on your record.

Don’t Be That Guy: Nebraska Underage DUI

nebraska underage DUIUnder 21? You may want to rethink your weekend plans, especially if you want to avoid Nebraska underage DUI troubles. You must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol in the Sooner State, and while we all know that is not a law people pay attention to, there are reasons to really weigh your options before you head out for a night of underage drinking.

Nebraska underage DUI drivers are responsible for 12 percent of drunk driving fatalities in the state.

A Nebraska underage DUI means that you have been caught driving a vehicle (even a bicycle) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 percent or higher. That amount of alcohol is generally less than a standard drink, and is usually not enough for a person 21 or older to be charged with a Nebraska DUI.

For a first-time conviction, you could face up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and six-month license suspension.

For a second-time conviction, you could face up to six months in jail, a $500 fine, and a one-year license suspension.

Additional charges that can occur as a result of your underage DUI include:

  • Soliciting alcohol.
  • Child endangerment.
  • Minor in possession.
  • Distributing alcohol to minors.
  • False identification violations.
  • Any other violations that relate to your driving.

On top of that, you have to worry about an ignition interlock requirement, how a DUI will affect your insurance, and what your parents may say or do.

Staying sober may not seem like the most fun thing to do, but there are legal and safety reasons why you are encouraged to wait until you are old enough to drink. Not only can you avoid hangovers and the hassles of the next morning, but you can also ensure that you are not at risk for any type of Nebraska underage DUI to damage your future.

Harsher Punishments for Nebraska Felony DUI Convictions

Nebraska Felony DUIThere is never a valid reason for drinking and driving. In this age of rideshares available at the touch of a button almost anywhere, DUIs seem particularly unforgivable. DUI penalties reflect this change with harsher punishments that can affect the rest of your life. States like Nebraska are coming down hard on irresponsible drivers who choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There are currently severe repercussions for Nebraska Felony DUI convictions. As in all U.S. states, you are considered to be driving under the influence with a BAC of 0.08% or above or if visibly impaired. According to state law, possessing a Nebraska driver’s license means you consent to BAC testing and you may not refuse to submit to testing.

If your blood alcohol content is found to be above legal limits, you will be charged with a DUI. Your first through fourth offenses can be charged as misdemeanors of increasing degrees of severity, unless your BAC is over 0.15% and your charge is considered an Aggravated DUI which can result in a felony charge earlier.

Nebraska Felony DUI law automatically kicks in at the fifth DUI offense but is at the prosecutor’s discretion from the third non-aggravated offense in 10 years. That’s where the laws could get tougher, as the majority of states have a felony penalty at three convictions (three strikes).

The punishments for a Nebraska Felony DUI include, but are not limited to:

  • Up to 20 years in prison, 1-year mandatory, and/or up to $25,000 fine.
  • 12 points added to your driving record.
  • License suspended for up to 15 years.
  • Ignition interlock device once jail time is served.

With harsher punishments being issued across the nation, it is the hope that those who would be irresponsible enough to drink and drive will reconsider their available options. Call a cab, call a friend, or even call your mom, but do not get behind the wheel while under the influence.

Refusing the BAC Test is Violating Nebraska Implied Consent Laws

nebraska implied consentThe Nebraska implied consent law is a no refusal law that says you will submit a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) sample during a traffic stop if you are suspected of DUI. BAC testing can be by breathalyzer, blood or urine, but only the breath test can be administered by a law enforcement officer. You do not necessarily have to be at or above the legal .08 limit to be charged with a DUI, so refusing the test can make things more difficult. If you refuse to provide a test sample, you can be arrested for a suspected DUI even without the BAC test. In addition you will face consequences for violating Nebraska implied consent law.

Refusing a BAC test will not buy you additional time, or cause an officer to let you go with a warning. Many people think that if they cause enough distractions, they are guaranteed more time for their BAC to naturally lower. A lower BAC cannot even guarantee you will not be charged with a DUI. In fact, the only guarantee you have in any DUI situation is that when you refuse the BAC test, you face additional penalties for violating the Nebraska implied consent laws.

The mandatory consequence for violating Nebraska implied consent laws is a 90-day driver’s license suspension, on top of any other criminal penalties you will face.

On the bright side, instead of waiting out the 90 days driver’s license suspension, Nebraska implied consent laws allow you to immediately apply for an ignition interlock permit. Instead of defending your refusal in an administrative hearing with the Nebraska DMV (an action that is totally separate from the DUI court hearing), you can install and maintain the interlock for the duration of your 90-day administrative suspension period. The ignition interlock will allow you the freedom to keep driving yourself to work and back, as well as get to and from any important appointments, court dates, and meetings.

More Rideshare Services Means Fewer Nebraska DUI Arrests

Ridesharing lowers Nebraska DUI numbersIn comparison with other states that share the Midwest label, Nebraska seems to have its priorities straight when it comes to reducing DUIs. Even MADD couldn’t help but notice that Nebraska is fighting the Generation X Midwest DUI Guy stereotype, and awarded the state four-and-a-half-stars out of five for its efforts. Those efforts include:

  • An all-offender ignition interlock requirement.
  • Immediate access to an ignition interlock after a DUI arrest.
  • Administrative license suspensions.
  • Sobriety checkpoints.

Another thing that Nebraska is doing right is embracing Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber. While seemingly a no-brainer, not all states or areas have caught on to the DUI-fighting superheroes that arrive almost literally at the push of a button. If a person feels they may be intoxicated, having a quick and affordable way to get home can make the difference between life and death.

Lincoln, NE DUIs are down by 30 percent, marked by the arrival of Lyft and Uber to the city in 2014.

Not only are the Nebraska DUI laws reflective of a stance for safer roads, but the residents are taking charge of their own safety too. The state has reported a lower number of DUI fatalities in 2016, a trend we expect will continue this year and beyond. It goes to show that when you empower people with an understanding of the dangers of drunk driving, and a smartphone to help get them home safely, most will go ahead and make a safer choice. When you treat drunk driving as no big deal, people will also act accordingly. We know which side we’re on.

Rideshare services give more people the power to determine their own fate, and in Nebraska’s case, that means the are literally choosing life over death. Hopefully, as more people grow to trust those services, and they become available in all areas, we’ll continue to see the reduction of DUIs in Nebraska, and across the U.S.

What is Nebraska Implied Consent?

Nebraska implied consentImplied consent is a no refusal law in Nebraska that essentially says you will submit a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test if you are suspected of DUI. BAC testing can be by breathalyzer, blood or urine, and is only part of the DUI process. You don’t necessarily have to be at or above the legal per se limit to be charged with a DUI, as many impaired drivers are dangerous at lower BAC measurements. You do, however, have to provide a BAC sample. You actually agreed to do that when you first applied for your driver’s license.

Nebraska implied consent says:

(7)(a) Any arrested person who submits an application for an ignition interlock permit in lieu of a petition for an administrative license revocation hearing regarding the revocation of his or her operator’s license pursuant to this section shall complete the application for an ignition interlock permit in which such person acknowledges that he or she understands that he or she will have his or her license administratively revoked pursuant to this section, that he or she waives his or her right to a hearing to contest the revocation, and that he or she understands that he or she is required to have an ignition interlock permit in order to operate a motor vehicle for the period of the revocation and shall include sufficient evidence that an ignition interlock device is installed on one or more vehicles that will be operated by the arrested person. Upon the arrested person’s completion of the ignition interlock permit application process, the department shall issue the person an ignition interlock permit, subject to any applicable requirements and any applicable no-drive period if the person is otherwise eligible.

So, if you refuse a BAC test, your license is immediately suspended by the DMV. You’ll need an ignition interlock device (IID) to restore your driving privileges. You won’t be eligible for the interlock for 105 days after your arrest, as violating the implied consent law adds a mandatory 90-day suspension of your license.

Drinking and driving is no joke, and Nebraska is at the head of the pack when it comes to confronting the problem head on. It doesn’t pay to violate Nebraska implied consent laws, and you can lose precious time, energy and money over a bad choice to drive after you’ve been drinking.

Yes, You Need a Nebraska Ignition Interlock if…

Nebraska ignition interlock rulesConsidering the different stances states take against drunk driving, knowing the ropes is important before you head out a night on the town. A Nebraska ignition interlock may be in your future if you don’t have a plan to get home safely when you’ve been drinking. The state requires the devices for all criminal DUI offenses where your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures at or above .08 percent. However, there are additional reasons you may need a Nebraska ignition interlock device, too.

BAC may be the number one factor in the courtroom, at least where your DUI conviction and interlock requirement are concerned. However, you still have an administrative requirement for the device from the DMV in your future. That requirement is actually a way for you to quickly retain your ability to drive after a first-offense DUI charge, instead of an immediate license suspension through the DMV. If you opt to install a device, you can waive your DMV hearing and suspension, proving you have taken the iniative for safe driving and that you don’t intend to ever make the same DUI mistake again.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a proponent of these types of administrative license “workarounds,” as they quickly get an accused drunk driver back on the road, while maintaining safe driving habits. States like Missouri and Texas also allow you to immediately drive your own vehicle again, provided you have an approved ignition interlock device installed. With MADD’s help, we can see all states using the same tactic to keep people driving, while protecting others from the dangers of drunk drivers.

As drunk driving laws continue to rely more on the protection of interlocks, we’re seeing safer streets and lives that are less affected by a license suspension. You might not want a Nebraska ignition interlock device, but the benefits of opting for one

Fun Facts About Nebraska DUI Checkpoints

Nebraska DUI checkpoint factsWhile not all states have DUI checkpoints, due to legal issues surrounding their use, Nebraska law says that sobriety checkpoints are legal in their state. Sobriety checkpoints are an effective DUI deterrent; they are called DUI checkpoints for this reason. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) points out that almost 80 percent of all US states and territories allow DUI checkpoints. You can look up your State Highway Safety Offices (SHSO), which has additional information on our state’s sobriety checkpoint data and laws.

If you are headed into a Nebraska DUI checkpoint, here’s what to expect:

  • Nebraska DUI checkpoints usually happen during times when impaired driving is most likely to happen, like concerts and holidays (like Halloween or Super Bowl Sunday).
  • Sobriety checkpoints are set at a fixed location, and are always announced within a few days prior to the events.
  • The police may not require a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) breath test of everyone, but don’t be surprised if they at least ask the driver.
  • As with any other time you’re pulled over by a cop, it’s best to be respectful. Remember that the sobriety checkpoint is for the safety of the community, including yourself. Officers are in the line of fire each time a DUI checkpoint occurs.

If you do happen to be charged with a Nebraska DUI, whether from a checkpoint or a regular traffic stop, you can expect:

Sobriety checkpoints reduce the number of DUI drivers significantly, making any inconvenience of being pulled over worth the time and effort. Plus, DUI checkpoints across the U.S. are often responsible for finding criminals with outstanding warrants.

The Nebraska Department of Roads and Transportation can be reached at 402-471-2515.

If you see someone you think is driving under the influence, dial *55 or 911.

Nebraska’s Ignition Interlock Loophole

Nebraska ignition interlock loopholeAcross the U.S., DUI and drunk driving laws are being refined and strengthened. Unfortunately, that also means that some people are pushing back against the laws and the consequences for breaking them. We’ve seen plenty of headlines about DUI and ignition interlock loopholes, but those are myths and usually just increase the penalties faced by offenders. However, Nebraska’s ignition interlock loophole is a different story.

Wouldn’t you take a chance on an ignition interlock loophole to get out of a DUI hearing?

Nebraska’s ignition interlock loophole allows DUI offenders to waive their administrative (DMV) hearing after a DUI arrest. Those hearings are separate from any court or judicial hearing and come with their own penalties and consequences based on the criteria set forth by the Nebraska DMV. Instead of having another set of rules to follow after the DUI, the Nebraska ignition interlock loophole simply says that if you’re eligible to install the device, go for it. You don’t have to worry about your DMV hearing – you can just move ahead with life.

That ignition interlock loophole doesn’t mean you’re not expected to show up in court.

Many states have separate criminal and administrative procedures for drunk drivers. In many cases, the split allows the driver’s license authority more control over who may attempt to drive illegally. It also serves as a stop-gap solution when judicial DUI hearings are backlogged, imposing consequences before a conviction and helping keep us all a little bit safer from further drunk driving attempts.

Technically, there’s no actual ignition interlock loophole in Nebraska or anywhere else. There’s just using the device to get out of a DMV hearing and back in the driver’s seat… legally. Avoiding a DUI is your best bet to staying out of the courtroom and leaving those consequences behind, and the best way to do that is to always have a safe plan to get home if you’ll be drinking.