Finding yourself under arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) is usually a frightening experience in today’s day and age. Gone are the days when a defendant could expect nothing more than a stern lecture and a fine for a DUI conviction. Now, even a first-time offender could spend time in jail, have his/her driving privileges revoked for a significant period of time, and spend months under the court’s supervision. If you already have a previous conviction for DUI, the penalties can be even more severe. What if that conviction is from another state though? Will a DUI conviction from another state count against you if you are arrested for DUI in Nebraska?
Second (or Subsequent) DUI Penalties in Nebraska
Like most states, Nebraska has strengthened the state’s DUI laws and increased the penalties for violating those laws in recent decades. The impetus for those changes was largely to keep repeat offenders off the roadways. As a consequence of those changes, you can expect to face additional penalties if you are convicted of a second, or subsequent, DUI in the State of Nebraska. For example, if you are convicted for a second DUI in Nebraska, you face a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum of 90 days in jail compared to a mandatory minimum of seven days and a maximum of 60 days in jail for a first-time DUI conviction. Your license revocation period also increases from six months to 18 months. The penalties for a third or subsequent DUI conviction are respectively harsher than those for a second conviction.
What If the Previous DUI Conviction Was in Another State?
Just as the days of lenient sentencing for a DUI conviction are in the past, so are the days when one state won’t discover a criminal record from another state. Yes, a defendant occasionally gets lucky and a DUI conviction from another state fails to show up; however, both criminal and driving records are now shared electronically among the states, meaning you certainly cannot count on a previous conviction slipping through the cracks. Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,196 et seq. governs the offense of driving under the influence in Nebraska. Sentencing guidelines and penalties for a DUI conviction can be found in 60-6,197.02 and 60-6,197.03. The statutes make it very clear that a defendant will be subject to additional penalties if the defendant has a previous conviction within the last 15 years. A “prior conviction” is defined in 60-6,197.02(1)(a) as follows:
(a) Prior conviction means a conviction for a violation committed within the fifteen-year period prior to the offense for which the sentence is being imposed as follows:
(i) For a violation of section 60-6,196:
(A) Any conviction for a violation of subdivision (3)(b) or (c) of section 28-306, subdivision (3)(b) or (c) of section 28-394, or section 28-1254, 60-6,196, 60-6,197, or 60-6,198;
(B) Any conviction for a violation of a city or village ordinance enacted in conformance with section 60-6,196 or 60-6,197; or
(C) Any conviction under a law of another state if, at the time of the conviction under the law of such other state, the offense for which the person was convicted would have been a violation of subdivision (3)(b) or (c) of section 28-306, subdivision (3)(b) or (c) of section 28-394, or section 28-1254, 60-6,196, 60-6,197, or 60-6,198; (emphases added)
In essence, the statute dictates that you will be subject to additional penalties if you have a previous conviction for DUI, or a similar offense, in any state within the previous 15 years. If you are currently facing DUI charges, and you do have a previous conviction in another state, be sure to tell your criminal defense attorney about the conviction. The worst thing you can do is try to ignore that conviction and have it pop up down the line during a sentencing hearing.
Contact a Nebraska DUI Defense Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you are facing DUI charges in Nebraska, it is always in your best interest to consult directly with an experienced Nebraska DUI defense attorney about the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Contact the Nebraska DUI defense attorneys at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced defense lawyer.