Over the past several decades a concerted effort has been made by both governmental entities and private advocacy groups to raise public awareness to the dangers of drinking and driving. As a result of those efforts, most states have strengthened their alcohol related driving offense laws as well as increased penalties for a violation of those laws. The State of Nebraska is among the states that now have tougher DUI laws and correspondingly harsher sentences for a conviction of those laws. If you are convicted of a DUI that caused an accident the penalties you face will be among the most serious, including potential jail time and a loss of driving privileges. If you have been charged with a DUI that included an injury accident you should consult with an experienced Nebraska DUI attorney right away. In the meantime, it may also be beneficial to know little more about the situation in which you find yourself.
DUI Penalties in General
Alcohol related driving offenses are governed at the state level, meaning each states determines what, precisely, is illegal and what the potential penalties are for a violation of those laws. Though there can be significant differences in the wording of state driving under the influence (DUI) statutes as well as noticeable differences in the penalty ranges imposed by different states, there are also some similarities. Every state makes it illegal to drive while “under the influence” or “while intoxicated.” All states also have a presumption within the law that basically says if you have a blood alcohol concentration above a specific percentage (0.08 percent in most jurisdictions) you are presumed to be driving under the influence. In addition, most states include a potential period of incarceration along with a loss of driving privileges for a conviction of the state’s DUI laws. More and more states are also implementing penalties that include the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) or other similar technology that attempts to prevent an offender from re-offending.
Nebraska’s Driving under the Influence with Serious Bodily Injury Law
Section 60-6,198 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes governs the crime of driving under the influence that results in serious bodily injury, stating as follows:
“Any person who, while operating a motor vehicle in violation of section 60-6,196 or 60-6,197, proximately causes serious bodily injury to another person or an unborn child of a pregnant woman shall be guilty of a Class IIIA felony…”
For purposes of Section 60-6,198, the term “serious bodily injured is defined as “bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, or a temporary or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body.”
Penalties for Violating
Generally, a first-time DUI in the State of Nebraska is charged as a misdemeanor with the maximum possible period of incarceration being one year. If, however, you cause serious bodily injury as a result of driving under the influence the offense is elevated to a Class IIIA felony. As such, you face up to three years in jail with an 18 month period of post-release supervision and/or a $10,000 fine. In addition, your driving privileges will be revoked for a minimum of 60 days and a maximum of 15 years. In Nebraska, you will lose your driving privileges the moment you are arrested for a DUI pursuant to the state’s Administrative License Revocation (ALR) law.
Motor Vehicle Homicide
If you are charged with causing an accident that resulted in the death of another person you will likely be facing a charge of motor vehicle homicide in Nebraska. Although motor vehicle homicide starts as a Class I misdemeanor, the charge is elevated to a Class IIA felony if you are also in violation of a DUI law at the time of the death. The maximum penalty for a Class IIA felony, if convicted, is 20 years in prison.
DUI Isn’t Limited to Alcohol
Keep in mind that although most DUI accidents are the result of the driver being under the influence of alcohol, the offense is not limited to alcohol. The DUI statutes make it clear that the same penalties apply if you are under the influence of drugs, prescription or illicit, at the time of the offense and/or accident.