dui - CRIMINAL CASE
The second issue one has when arrested or cited for a DUI is the criminal case. The criminal case involves penalties including jail, probation, fines, court costs, community service and license revocation if you are convicted of a DUI. One can be convicted of a DUI if he/she operates OR is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs a. to such a degree that person can’t safely operate a motor vehicle or b. if that person has a breath or blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit (0.08). In DUI-Drugs cases, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are under the influence of drugs, legal or illegal, to such a degree that you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle. As stated, in DUI-Alcohol cases, the State can convict if you if you are under the influence of alcohol to such a degree that you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle or if you have an alcohol concentration above the legal limit. The most common DUI case by far involves allegations of one testing above the legal limit. In these cases, there are two limits one needs to be concerned with. The legal limit in Nebraska is 0.08 and you can be convicted of a DUI if you have a breath or blood alcohol concentration at or above this limit. The second limit you need to be aware of is the 0.15 aggravated limit. The Nebraska Legislature has changed the law to allow for increased penalties when one has an alcohol concentration at or above the aggravated limit. The practical effect of this law change is that people convicted of aggravated DUIs face increased amounts of jail, fines and license suspension. For example, an aggravated first offense DUI now carries a mandatory minimum jail term of 2 days or at least 120 hours of community service and an aggravated third offense DUI now constitutes a felony. One should also know that in most cases if you refuse to submit to a chemical test (breath, blood or urine) at the police station or hospital you will face possible prosecution and penalties comparable to those in an aggravated DUI case.
The primary goal of any Driving Under the Influence case is to avoid a conviction for DUI and all the negative direct and indirect consequences it entails. If this is not possible, the goal is to seek a reduction of charges to something that carries the least serious possible penalties, including less or no jail, smaller fine and shorter license suspension. Finally, if you are convicted, the goal is to get you the very best sentence possible, including a fine instead of jail and probation, probation instead of incarceration, and house-arrest and/or work-release when jail is imposed. To accomplish these goals, it is helpful to have an attorney who practices extensively in the area of DUI Defense. An attorney who does is able to recognize any potential defenses in your case, successfully argue any defense to a prosecutor or judge and advise you what steps to take between the time of arrest and sentencing to put you in a position to get the best result possible.
A Special Note About DUI Cases Involving Child Passengers
The Nebraska Legislature recently enacted a law making it a Class I misdemeanor (0-1 year in Jail/$0-$1,000 fine) to commit a DUI with a child passenger who is less than 16 years of age.
A Special Note About Diversion for DUIs
Diversion is a program offered by a prosecutor’s office whereby your charges can be dismissed if you comply with the conditions of the program. The Sarpy County Attorney’s office is the only program in Nebraska that offers a diversion program for DUI cases. Not everyone who receives a DUI in Sarpy County is eligible for diversion. Even if granted diversion, you still face a possible suspension of your license through the Administrative License Revocation Process. If you are arrested for a DUI in Sarpy County, Nebraska, contact an attorney to discuss whether you might be eligible for diversion, what you can expect while on diversion, appearing with and/or for you at your court appearances, challenging your administrative license revocation and whether you even need or want an attorney at all.
A Special Note About Leaving the Scene of an Accident Cases
In recent years, the Nebraska legislature changed the law regarding hit-and-run offenses. A primary reason for the change was to punish persons who avoid a DUI by leaving the scene of the accident. There are two types of leaving the scene cases-those involving property damage only and those involving personal injury. If you are accused of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, you could be charged with a class IIIA felony (0-5 years/1-15 year license revocation) if the accident did not cause serious bodily injury or a class III felony (1-20 years/1-15 year license revocation) if the accident resulted in serious bodily injury or death. If you are accused of leaving the scene of a property damage accident, you face up to six months in jail for a first offense and one year in jail for a second offense as well as a potential one-year revocation of your license. The penalties for hit-and-run cases have become much more severe and you need to take these charges seriously if you are accused of leaving the scene of an accident.