Nebraska DUI Laws: What You Need to Know

Getting arrested and charged with driving drunk is a miserable experience. Not only is there a good chance you ended up in jail, afterward you are left confused and worried about what happens next. Here’s what you need to know about Nebraska DUI laws and penalties, from the time you are pulled over to the time of sentencing.

Nebraska DUI Laws FAQ


What are the penalties for DUI in Nebraska?

The penalties for driving under the influence in Nebraska are determined by whether or not you have any prior offenses and high your blood alcohol test results were. The legal limit in Nebraska is .08 and a .15 and above is considered an aggravated DUI, meaning the penalties are more severe.

What is the penalty for a first offense DUI in Nebraska?

The penalties for a first offense DUI in Nebraska include 7-60 days in jail, a $500 fine and a six month license revocation. The court can also place you on probation, in which case you can usually avoid jail time. You would still be required to pay a $500 fine and the minimum license revocation period is 60 days. In both situations, you can get an ignition interlock device during the period of your license suspension.

Is there jail time on a first offense DUI in Nebraska?

Yes, there is a minimum jail sentence of 7 days and a maximum of 60 days jail for first offense DUI if you are not sentenced to probation by the court.

Will I be able to drive after a drunk driving arrest?

It depends. Your license will be suspended, but in some cases you can apply for an ignition interlock device. The device is attached to your vehicle and your vehicle will not start until you blow into the device. Eligibility depends on what you are charged with.

How long will I lose my license?

Depending on what you are charged with, you can lose your license for anywhere from 60 days to 15 years.

Can I still drive to work if I lose my license?

No, you will not be able to drive to work on a revoked license unless you have applied for and received a permit to drive with an ignition interlock device. You can then only drive the vehicle on which the device is installed.

Will I have to go to court?

If you are charged with drunk driving, you will need to appear in court. Whether you elect to have a trial or pursue a plea agreement, you will need to appear in court at least once, if not more. Your first appearance is usually an arraignment and not a trial.

What happens when I go to court?

Your first court appearance will usually be your arraignment. This is where the charges against you are read out loud. You can read about what to expect an arraignment here.

Is it possible to fight the charges?

Yes, you have the right to a trial to contest the charges against you, as well as the right to certain constitutional protections such as due process and the right to be free of unlawful search or seizure. There are a number of possible defenses and strategies depending on the facts of your case.

I wasn’t read my Miranda rights, will my case be thrown out?

Probably not. Miranda warnings are related to statements made by you to the police. If a statement was made by you while you were in custody (not free to leave) and was the result of questioning by the police, such a statement may not be used in court. However, in DUI cases, there is usually other evidence other than your statements, so it is likely the case would still go forward.

I wasn’t drinking but they arrested me for DUI drugs, can they do that?

Yes, a DUI charge can be based on drugs and not just alcohol. The DUI law makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs as well. Since there is no blood alcohol content to measure, there is usually an investigation done by a “Drug Recognition Expert.” These are officers with specialized training that claim to be able to spot impairment based on various drugs.

Can you be arrested for a DUI for being high on marijuana?

Yes, if you have used enough marijuana to be impaired, you can be arrested and charged with dui.

They only tested my breath but not my blood, can they still charge me?

You can still be charged with DUI if they only tested your breath. Nebraska DUI laws allow the police to test either your breath or blood for alcohol.

Do I need a lawyer for a first offense DUI in Nebraska?

You always have the right to represent yourself in a criminal proceeding, but we would not recommend it. A DUI has the potential for jail time and will impact other parts of your life. A lawyer can make sure the charges are legal and will also help you navigate the system and give you peace of mind. Contact us for a free case review.

Can you be arrested for a DUI if you are sleeping in your car?

Yes, it is possible to be charged with DUI even if you are sleeping in your car. The law says that you only need to be in actual physical control of a vehicle. The courts have found that being asleep behind the wheel meets this definition.

Can I see the police reports and videos from when I was arrested?

If you hire a lawyer, most prosecutors will turn over police reports and videos to your attorney as a matter of course. If you do not have a lawyer, you still have a right to most of those materials, but you may have to file a motion with the court depending on the jurisdiction.

Can I have a jury trial on a DUI?

Usually you can have a jury trial on a DUI if you wanted to. State law says you have an absolute right to a jury trial anytime the penalty is a year or more. If it is less than a year, you have to make a demand for jury trial quickly. In some cities in Nebraska, DUI first offense has been codified in the city code which can potentially limit your right to a jury trial.

What is an ignition interlock device and how do I know if I’m eligible?

An ignition interlock device is a thing that is installed on your car that requires you to breathe into a mouthpiece before starting the vehicle. The purpose of the device is to detect alcohol in your body and prevent you from driving if you have been drinking.

What is a Zero Tolerance violation for a minor?

A zero tolerance violation in Nebraska is a charge that results when a minor is driving a motor vehicle and has a blood alcohol content of .02 or more.

Can I be placed on house arrest instead of jail?

Whether or not you can be placed on house arrest for a DUI charge in Nebraska depends on the county you are charged in. Some counties do not allow house arrest in any circumstances, while others require the approval of the court, the jail and or the County Attorney.

ChargeStraight SentenceProbationLicense Revocation
DUI 1st Offense7-60 days in jail and a $500 fine$500 fine6 months
DUI 1st Aggravated7-60 days in jail and a $500 fine$500 fine & 2 days in jail or 120 hours of community service1 year
DUI 2nd Offense30-180 days in jail and a $500 fine$500 fine & 10 days in jail or 240 hours of community service18 months
DUI 2nd Aggravated90 days to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 fine$1,000 fine and 30 days in jail18 months to 15 years
DUI 3rd Offense90 days to 1 year and a $1,000 fine$1,000 fine and 30 days in jail15 years
DUI 3rd AggravatedFelony IIIA 180 days to 3 years, up to $10,000 fine$1,000 fine and 60 days in jail15 years
DUI 4th OffenseFelony IIIA 180 days to 3 years, up to $10,000 fine$2,000 fine and 90 days jail, 90 days CAM15 years
DUI 4th AggravatedFelony IIA 0 to 20 years, up to $25,000 fine$2,000 fine and 120 days jail, 120 days CAM15 years
DUI 5th OffenseFelony IIA 0 to 20 years, up to $25,000 fine$2,000 fine and 180 days jail, 180 days CAM15 years
DUI Fifth AggravatedFelony II 2 to 50 years in prison$2,000 fine and 180 days jail, 180 days CAM15 years


If you have been arrested for DUI, even at the lowest level, the charges can have a serious impact on your life. It’s good to know what your rights are and what your options are as you go into the court system.

If you want to talk to a lawyer and try to get some peace of mind about what comes next, give us a call or hit the chat button and we can give you a free case review.

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