Nebraska DUI Laws and Penalties

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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.

Laws are constantly changing and amended, and no one would expect a citizen to be knowledgeable or up-to-date on such statutes. That’s why it is wise and forward-thinking to contact a Fremont, NE DUI attorney who knows how to navigate the law if you are accused of or facing any DUI charges.

Furthermore, if you are currently amidst proceedings and in need of representation or considering better counsel, let a DUI lawyer from Sopinski Law Office take over handling your case in this especially difficult time.

What is Considered a DUI?

In the state of Nebraska, a DUI is a violation in which someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs is found driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle (found sleeping in your car can also be applicable to this). Upon testing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), if the result is 0.08% or over, you will be taken into custody and likely charged with a DUI. If your BAC is 0.15% or over, your offense will be seen as an aggravated DUI.

“Driving under the influence” refers to both alcohol and drugs. The level of drug influence cannot be as easily determined, so specially trained officers called “Drug Recognition Experts” will usually investigate whether impairment from different drugs is present.

No Tolerance for DUI from Minors in Nebraska

There is a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage DUIs. The charge is referred to as a “zero tolerance violation” when a minor (under the legal age of 21) has a BAC of 0.02% or more while operating a vehicle. If your child is a minor, or you yourself are facing a DUI charge, it’s imperative you seek out a juvenile defense attorney.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence

Punishments following a DUI in Nebraska can vary and range depending on several factors. These include prior DUI convictions, whether the offense was aggravated or caused an accident/injury, and what county you reside in.

Penalties can range from straight sentences, a combination of a fine and some jail time, to probation, which also includes a fine and either reduced jail time or extensive community service hours. An ignition interlock in your vehicle and a car insurance premium increase are also potential punishments.

First and second offenses are considered misdemeanors, and anything more than that approaches the felony category. A non-aggravated first-time DUI will result in a 6-month license suspension (1 year if aggravated). Beyond that, your license revocation ranges from 18 months to 15 years.

Going to Court for a DUI in Nebraska

If charged for driving under the influence or while intoxicated/impaired, you will have to attend court at least once and possibly on multiple occasions. The initial appearance in court is usually an arraignment. During this court date, you will be read the charge(s) against you and decide how you want to move forward.

You may pursue a plea agreement, admitting to being guilty of the charges and taking immediate responsibility; the case would promptly be disposed of, and penalties dealt, as well as potential concessions. You may also elect to have a trial and contest the charges or the specifics of the supplied evidence.

FAQs About Nebraska DUI Laws

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 DUI 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.

Charge Straight Sentence Probation License Revocation
DUI 1st Offense 7-60 days in jail and a $500 fine $500 fine 6 months
DUI 1st Aggravated 7-60 days in jail and a $500 fine $500 fine & 2 days in jail or 120 hours of community service 1 year
DUI 2nd Offense 30-180 days in jail and a $500 fine $500 fine & 10 days in jail or 240 hours of community service 18 months
DUI 2nd Aggravated 90 days to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 fine $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail 18 months to 15 years
DUI 3rd Offense 90 days to 1 year and a $1,000 fine $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail 15 years
DUI 3rd Aggravated Felony IIIA 180 days to 3 years, up to $10,000 fine $1,000 fine and 60 days in jail 15 years
DUI 4th Offense Felony IIIA 180 days to 3 years, up to $10,000 fine $2,000 fine and 90 days jail, 90 days CAM 15 years
DUI 4th Aggravated Felony IIA 0 to 20 years, up to $25,000 fine $2,000 fine and 120 days jail, 120 days CAM 15 years
DUI 5th Offense Felony IIA 0 to 20 years, up to $25,000 fine $2,000 fine and 180 days jail, 180 days CAM 15 years
DUI Fifth Aggravated Felony II 2 to 50 years in prison $2,000 fine and 180 days jail, 180 days CAM 15 years

Is Jail Time Mandatory for 1st DUI in Nebraska?

Not necessarily. A straight sentence is 7-60 days in jail and a fine. If the case is granted probation instead, no jail time is assigned. For an aggravated first DUI, BAC is 0.15 or higher, and the sentence is the same as non-aggravated.

Probation for an aggravated first DUI includes a fine and either 2 days of jail time or 120 hours of community service. Whether you can receive probation or even house arrest depends on the county and other case specifics.

Do You Lose Your License Immediately After a DUI in Nebraska?

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles may revoke your license within 15 days of your DUI charge. It’s also possible your license won’t be withdrawn until after your conviction, depending on the specifics of your DUI record. In certain cases, based on your charges, you might qualify to apply for an ignition interlock device, which prevents your car from starting until you’ve passed the attached breath test.

What Is the DUI Limit in Nebraska?

The legal limit can actually vary based on the jurisdiction of the county you live in. Usually, the limit is anything below a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which can be deemed legal. A BAC of 0.08 or higher can get you taken into custody.

A drug DUI can be harder to determine roadside as there isn’t a standard “limit” for the various potential substances. It’s up to the discretion of the officer whether your behavior or appearance suggests drug impairment.

Can You Drive After a DUI Before a Court Date in Nebraska?

If your license has been suspended or revoked, you cannot legally drive to work, court, or anywhere, no matter how short the distance. If you apply for an ignition interlock device, which ensures you are not driving under the influence of alcohol and are approved, you will receive a permit to drive with this device and may only do so after its installation.

Why You Want a Lawyer in a DUI Defense

If you don’t believe there’s much of a case for you against this criminal traffic violation, it’s still wise to get effective legal representation. It would be extremely difficult and taxing for a defendant to successfully represent themself in court following an arrest for drunk or otherwise impaired driving. Even if it’s your first offense, you would likely regret representing yourself in court. There is potential jail time involved, and the charge will likely have impacts on your life for the next several years.

There are several defenses, strategies, and constitutional protections that can be used depending on your specific case, all of which an attorney will be able to foresee and wield accordingly. Even if you can’t fight the charges, a lawyer can help possibly reduce the severity of due penalties and other affected areas like your car insurance. Take the first step by contacting Sopinski Law Office, and give your future a fair shot.


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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