What happens when I get pulled over for DUI in Omaha?

Getting a DUI in the State of Nebraska sends you down several distinct paths: Civil, criminal and personal repercussions. So what actually happens when you get a DUI in the City of Omaha and State of Nebraska? (Note: This is not legal advice).


Getting Pulled Over

When you get pulled over for DUI, you have probably committed some type of traffic violation that caught an officer’s attention and gave the officer probable cause to stop you. Maybe you left a bar district and didn’t use a turn signal. Maybe you were drifting in and out of a lane, speeding up and slowing down. Maybe you rolled through a stop sign without making a complete stop. Maybe you were speeding. Whatever the reason, the officer has probable cause to initiate a traffic stop.

When the officer lights you up, be sure to pull over immediately. You could do nothing worse than running from the police. They may not chase you immediately but they have all the advantage. They have radios, a helicopter and more numbers than you. They have your license plate number and know where you live. You only make the situation worse by running from the cops.

Turn your dome light on, keep your hands on the steering wheel and obey the officer’s commands. You have the right to know why they pulled you over, the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney with you during any questioning. Keep in mind, complying with officers requests will keep the situation safe for all parties involved. Not complying with officer requests only escalates the situation.

If the officer asks you how much you’ve had to drink, he/she probably already suspects you are impaired. You may be asked to submit to field sobriety tests and/or a preliminary breath test. This is the officer building a case against you and it is being recorded on camera and audio. If you show signs of impairment during your field sobriety tests, the officer will request that you submit to a preliminary breath test. You do have the right to refuse this breath test, BUT refusal of this breath test is a violation. You can read more about Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197 here.

If your breath sample tests over .08 BrAC (breath alcohol content) you will be placed under arrest, searched, put in the back of a cruiser and taken for an evidentiary breath test. You do have the right to refuse this breath test, BUT refusal of this breath test is a violation AND your driver’s license will automatically be revoked by the state for a minimum of one year. After your official test you will be released to find a safe way to your destination. This is the end of your night but just the beginning of a six month to one year DUI journey.


Civil Repercussions: Administrative License Revocation

Operating a motor vehicle is considered a privilege, not a right. You are granted the privilege to operate a motor vehicle legally when you obtain and renew your drivers license from the State of Nebraska.

If you test over .08 BAC while operating a motor vehicle, your driving privileges will be revoked under Nebraska’s Administrative License Revocation law. You may be issued a temporary 15 day permit, but your license is confiscated and revoked for six months (180 days – first offense) or for one year for any subsequent offense within a 15 year time period.

If you refuse to take a DUI breath or blood test, your license is automatically revoked for one year… no questions asked, no appeals, final word.

You may apply for an ignition interlock permit and have (at your cost) an ignition interlock system installed on your car.

Criminal Repercussions: Probation, fines, maybe jail

Driving under the influence in the State of Nebraska is a crime. You will need to hire a lawyer, go to court, and stand in front of a judge.

The most likely repercussions for a first offense DUI is probation, a $500 fine and 6 month drivers license revocation. You will need to see and report to a probation officer. The court may also require you to get an ignition interlock. Depending on the circumstances, the court may sentence you to 7-60 days in jail.

You may also be required to see (at your expense) an alcohol treatment counselor, attend a certain number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and attend (at your expense) an alcohol awareness class. At this class you will be lectured about the dangers of drinking and driving, be shown grizzly pictures of car wrecks and you will hear emotional stories from DUI victim’s families.

Personal Repercussions

A DUI has many personal repercussions. It is costly. You will need to pay out of pocket for:

  • Lawyer
  • Any court associated fines
  • Ignition interlock system
  • Alcohol awareness class
  • Alcohol treatment counselor

Your ability to drive is probably is a huge part of  your personal, educational and social life; all of those will be affected in some way. Your job may depend on you having driver’s license. You may depend on driving to get to school, work or just to get around in your daily life. It is hard to comprehend the effects of a loss of driving privileges to your life until they are gone. One night of too much to drink can have far reaching personal consequences for months and years to come.


Conclusion

DUIs are very common in Omaha and Nebraska and they are easily avoidable. Use a designated driver, a cab or a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber. That one $20-$30 fare can save you a years worth of headaches and may save your own or someone else’s life.

Just remember, the worst part about drinking and driving is the MOURNING after…

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