DUI Defense Attorney in Omaha
Every day, dozens of people in or near Omaha, Nebraska, get pulled over, arrested, and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The offense is the most common crime for upstanding people with no criminal background to get accused of committing. Because law enforcement does not have to prove that you intentionally broke the law – only that you were impaired and were in a vehicle – defending against these criminal charges is not easy.
Worse, the penalties of a conviction are far higher than one would expect, given that most DUI cases do not have a victim.
The DUI-defense attorneys at The Criminal Defense Firm strive to legally represent people in Omaha, Nebraska, who have been charged with drugged or drunk driving. With our legal help, numerous DUI defendants have successfully raised defenses that led to their charges getting dropped, an acquittal at trial, or drastically reduced penalties of a conviction.
Nebraska’s Strict DUI Laws
Nebraska has several state statutes that cover DUI. The most important among them is Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,196. This is the state law that forbids impaired driving.
However, there are two elements to the law that are important to know. Only one of them is common for state DUI laws.
The first is a fairly typical aspect that nevertheless comes as surprising for many people. The law defines being “under the influence” as either:
- Having a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of 0.08 percent or higher, or
- Being too impaired to drive.
This is important because it means that you can be arrested and convicted for drunk driving even if your BAC was below the legal limit. Even if you get arrested and blow a 0.04 percent on the officer’s breathalyzer, you can still end up getting convicted for DUI based on the officer’s testimony that he or she thought you were too inebriated to drive safely. These are known as “low blow” cases, and they are extremely frustrating because the arresting officer’s testimony often consists of generalized statements about your appearance – phrases like “slurred speech” and “glassy-eyed” are common – that are nevertheless persuasive to the jury.
The second aspect of Nebraska’s DUI law is very unusual. The law is not confined to driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Instead, it covers people who are “in the actual physical control of any motor vehicle.”
This strange wording has been very broadly interpreted by courts in Nebraska. In one especially prominent case, a man was convicted for DUI because he was drunk and sleeping in his truck with the engine on because it was cold outside. Not only is it not necessary for police to see you driving your vehicle, you can even be convicted for DUI by exerting any control over it.
Draconian Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Omaha
The penalties of a DUI conviction are extremely steep, especially given the fact that most convictions come from instances where no one got hurt. Those penalties come in the following forms:
- License revocations
- Jail time
- Other legal obligations, like community service or completing a substance abuse course
- Collateral consequences of a conviction
While most people tend to focus on the penalties that courts can impose, it is important to appreciate the collateral consequences of a DUI conviction, as they can be far more potent than they are for other criminal offenses.
The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction are those meted out by society, often in the form of your social network of friends and acquaintances, your employer, or other companies that you deal with. These collateral consequences happen in a lot of different ways, like:
- Social stigmatization, like losing friends over the conviction
- Losing your job because you can no longer drive to the workplace
- Paying more for car insurance
- Becoming ineligible for professional certifications or other opportunities that require a clean criminal history
In addition to these setbacks, there are also the more traditional legal repercussions that come with a conviction for DUI in Omaha. Because DUI is a priorable offense, these penalties depend on if you have a DUI conviction on your record within the lookback period. In Nebraska, this lookback period is 15 years. The penalties also increase if there are any aggravating factors in your case, like if your BAC was 0.15 percent or higher.
With no aggravating factors, the maximum penalties of a DUI conviction in Omaha, Nebraska, are:
|First offense||Class W misdemeanor||60 days||$500||6 months|
|Second offense||Class W misdemeanor||90 days||$500||1 year|
|Third offense||Class W misdemeanor||1 year||$1,000||15 years|
|Fourth offense||Class 3A felony||5 years||$10,000||15 years|
|Fifth offense||Class 3 felony||20 years||$25,000||15 years|
Additionally, DUI cases have a tendency to spiral into other criminal allegations, as well. Some examples of this happening are:
- Police impound your vehicle, conduct an inventory search, and discover illegal drugs, leading to charges of drug possession or even drug trafficking
- There were children in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, leading to allegations of child endangerment
- You caused a fatal car accident while under the influence, leading to a charge of vehicular manslaughter
Implied Consent Law Covers Refusing a Breathalyzer
In addition to Nebraska’s DUI law, there is also the state’s implied consent law, Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197. This law states that, by driving on the roads in Omaha or elsewhere in Nebraska, you consent to a chemical breath test to determine your BAC if an officer requests one. Refusing to provide a breath sample leads to a rescission of your right to drive by automatically suspending your driver’s license for a year. This can be longer than the suspension would be if you were convicted for DUI.
Defenses to DUI Charges
With stakes so high, it is critical to invoke your rights and challenge the case against you. The DUI-defense lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm have made use of a wide variety of legal defenses that can persuade prosecutors to drop their case or convince the jury to acquit you at trial. Just a few of the DUI defense strategies that we have used have included:
- Showing that the arresting officer’s testimony is riddled with holes
- Proving that the breath testing machines that read your BAC were not calibrated properly
- Challenging the reliability of any field sobriety tests that were used
- Showing that there was no probable cause for the traffic stop
Additionally, our lawyers have also secured relatively favorable outcomes in unsuccessful defenses, as well. With our help, many of our clients have gotten the penalties of their conviction reduced or have protected their right to drive by installing ignition interlock devices (IIDs) or getting restricted driver’s licenses.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Criminal Defense Firm and DUI Law in Omaha
Is There a Difference Between a DWI and a DUI?
Not in Nebraska.
DUI stands for “driving under the influence” while DWI stands for either “driving while impaired” or “driving while intoxicated.” Both phrases have the same meaning, so they are used interchangeably. Some states use other phrases to describe the offense of drunk driving – Maine, for instance, refers to the offense as “operating under the influence,” or OUI.
However, a few states, like Oklahoma, have separate criminal offenses for DUI and DWI. There, DUI is the crime of driving with a BAC at or above the legal limit, while DWI is for driving while impaired but with a lower BAC – similar to a “low blow” case in
Is the Legal BAC Limit Always 0.08 Percent?
Not always. Nebraska’s general legal limit is 0.08 percent, just like in every other state in the U.S. except for Utah, where it is 0.05 percent. However, there are two exceptions to this general rule.
The first is for drivers under the age of 21. Because they are under the legal drinking age, they are subjected to Nebraska’s “zero tolerance law,” which sets the legal BAC limit at 0.02 percent. The legal limit is not actually zero because there are innocent ways for these young drivers to get trace amounts of alcohol on their breath, like by using mouthwash.
The second, and perhaps the more important, exception is for commercial drivers. They are held to a BAC limit of 0.04 percent. It is far more important for them to comply with this requirement because they are likely to lose their job if they get convicted for DUI.
The Criminal Defense Firm Does Not Call Itself the Best DUI-Defense Firm in Omaha. Why Not?
That is something that we prefer to let our prior clients say about our firm. Many of them have left such testimonials about the legal representation that we provide.
The Criminal Defense Firm: DUI-Defense in Omaha
If you have been arrested and charged with drunk or drugged driving in Omaha, Nebraska, you need experienced legal defense to protect your rights and your future. Call The Criminal Defense Firm at (866) 603-4540 or contact them online.