Supreme Court Ruling Having An Impact On Drunk Driving Sentences

Supreme Court rulings affect people every day, but there’s one Supreme Court ruling that was passed down recently that has the potential to impact drunk driving sentencesdrunk driving sentences all across the United States.

The case, Birchfield v North Dakota was the consolidation of three drunk driving cases. The men were prosecuted for refusing a blood or breath test, and the court found in a 5-3 decision that while police officers can require a breath test without a warrant, they need a warrant to require a blood test.

The decision was widely publicized, and the biggest concern from anti-drunk driving advocates was that it would give drunk drivers fighting their own drunk driving sentences a way out. Turns out, that’s a valid concern.

A man charged with drunk driving in Perkins County, Nebraska has taken that Supreme Court ruling and asked his own court to take another look at his case. He was pulled over right after Christmas in 2015, and although it was his fourth drunk driving conviction, he stated that the police officers took his blood without his consent.

The blood draw showed that he was driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15, double the legal limit, but he’d like to have the blood evidence suppressed. That might be because drunk driving sentences in Nebraska get really stiff when you’re a repeat offender. Fines can be as high as $25,000, you could spend up to 5 years in prison, and you spend receive a 15 year driver’s license suspension.

What Nebraska doesn’t have are ignition interlock laws. If you’re convicted of a repeat drunk driving offense, you may be allowed to have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle instead of a lengthy driver’s license suspension, but it’s not required. Maybe if this drunk driver was required to install an ignition interlock after his first offense, he wouldn’t have become a four time offender in Nebraska.

Let’s hope this Supreme Court ruling doesn’t result in the flood gates opening and drunk drivers everywhere stepping up to challenge their own drunk driving sentences.

One Reason To Feel Happy You Have An Ignition Interlock Device

ignition-interlock-anti-theft-deviceAn ignition interlock device may be considered a penalty for the crime of driving under the influence (DUI), but if you really think about it, having one is a privilege offenders receive in order to get their lives back on track. Without that ignition interlock device, someone who made the choice to drink and drive wouldn’t be able to drive to work, school, or for family obligations. It’s not a bad trade off.

If you need more of a reason to be happy you can drive with an ignition interlock, you might want to talk to Gary Wrenn of Omaha, Nebraska. He has a few DUIs on his record, and since Nebraska DUI law allows a judge to require an ignition interlock for repeat offenders, he installed one in his SUV. When thieves came to try to steal his SUV, they couldn’t start it because of the ignition interlock device.

The thieves attempted to blow into the device, but the car wouldn’t start. During their attempts to start it, the ignition interlock took photos of the thieves, and those photos are now with the police. Incredibly, the thieves returned for a second time to try to steal the vehicle, and in the process more photos were captured.

Unfortunately for Wrenn, the images of the thieves are of little comfort as he works to pay off a huge repair bill; they did approximately $3,000 worth of damage to his vehicle during the break ins. The good news? He might have to repair it, but at least he still has his SUV.

An ignition interlock as an anti-theft mechanism? That’s definitely not its intended purpose, but you can believe that Gary Wrenn is happy he had the privilege of installing one now. After all, without the ignition interlock device he might not have a car to drive at all.

Ignition Interlock And DUI Laws In Nebraska

ignition interlockPeople who drive while intoxicated (DWI) or drive under the influence (DUI) in Nebraska will face penalties including high fines, license suspension, and jail time for all offenders, and that includes first offenders without a previous DWI or DUI on record.

Although the blood alcohol limit in Nebraska is .08 as it is in all states, if you are driving a commercial vehicle you can be charged with DUI or DWI if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC)of .04. If you are under the age of 21, you can be charged with DUI if you have a BAC of .02 or higher. And don’t think about refusing the BAC test either – if you are stopped by a police officer for suspected drunk driving and you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you’ll automatically receive a license suspension of one year.

When you are arrested for first DUI or DWI in Nebraska and fail the BAC test, the police officer may immediately seize your driver’s license and you could receive a driving suspension for 180 days. If you have a drinking and driving conviction on record, you will lose your license for 1 year.

In addition to the loss of your driver’s license for a period of 6 months, you will receive the following penalties for a first DUI/DWI offense in Nebraska:

  • You may spend up to 60 days in jail
  • You’ll be required to pay $500 in fines

For a second DUI/DWI offense in Nebraska, you’ll receive the following penalties:

  • You may spend up to 90 days in jail
  • You’ll be required to pay $500 in fines
  • Your driver’s license will be revoked or suspended for up to 1 year

Although Nebraska does not require ignition interlock devices a penalty upon first or second DUI/DWI conviction, you may apply for an ignition interlock if you’d like to receive restricted driving privileges during your suspension. In order to apply for the ignition interlock program, you’ll be required to contact the Nebraska DMV directly.

Ignition interlock devices and strict penalties work together to reduce the likelihood someone will drive under the influence, and that will keep roads safe for all drivers in Nebraska.

Call Now Button800-499-0994