What to Expect When You Get a DUI in Nebraska – Part I

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Drinking and driving is never a good idea. The consequences of choosing to do it can turn your world and the worlds of innocent people upside down.

If you get pulled over for drinking and driving in Nebraska, there will be a criminal process where you will face financial penalties and possible jail penalties. There will also be a separate Department of Motor Vehicles process that will deal with your ability to keep your driver’s license. This series of articles will cover both processes.

The Stop

The dreaded flashing police lights – it’s how most DUI’s start – the traffic stop, and citation or arrest. If the Nebraska Highway Patrol pulls you over, you’re going to be arrested, no matter what county you’re in.

If, on the other hand, you’re pulled over by Omaha Police or Douglas County Sheriff, you will probably be ticketed and released. They do arrest in some circumstances, however.

Now’s the Time to Get a Lawyer

Get a lawyer right away. Don’t wait until you’ve made statements to the police that could hurt your case.

When the stop happens, as I’ve said in past DUI blog articles, you have the right to keep your mouth shut – so keep your mouth shut. Don’t make any statements that could be used against you. That means don’t answer questions. The officer may still give you a ticket or arrest you, but you won’t be giving them any more evidence to use at trial.

Call a lawyer who knows Nebraska DUI law immediately to help you through the rest of the criminal and DMV process.

Arraignment and Bond

Next in the criminal DUI process is arraignment and bond. If you’ve been charged with a felony DUI, you’ll be arraigned by a judge within a day or two. You’ll have a formal reading of the charges against you and will enter a plea of guilty, no contest or not guilty.

If you haven’t consulted with a lawyer who has advised you otherwise, it’s best to plead not guilty at your arraignment, not to make any statements to police or the judge, and GET A LAWYER RIGHT AWAY before you make any decisions or do anything that could affect the outcome of your case.

If you were arrested on a misdemeanor DUI, you can usually bond out right away without seeing a judge to have a bond set. If that happens, or if you were ticketed and released, you will go to court for your arraignment where you will likely plead not guilty.

Stay Tuned… 

Next time in our Nebraska DUI series: getting ready for trial, plea bargaining and going to the show (trial). Stay tuned.

This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts. 

Teen Arrest: 4 Things to Know if It Happens to Your Son or Daughter

You probably never think your child will be arrested (technically, in Nebraska, with someone under 18, the law calls it “temporary custody,” not arrest). But like any disaster, it’s best to plan for the unexpected and have these discussions with your teen ahead of time should the worst happen.

Even the best kid can make a mistake. And innocent people get arrested. It could happen to your teen. They should be prepared if it does, and so should you.

Here are four things you should know and discuss in case your teen is taken into police custody:

1. Be quiet, but don’t be a jerk.

When an underage person taken into police custody, it’s not the same as when an adult is arrested. The police may not let the child make a phone call, except to call a lawyer. Nebraska law says police “shall” take “reasonable” measures to contact the child’s parents, but the term “reasonable” is subject to interpretation. In practice, parents may not be called right away.

In the meantime, the teen should not tell the police anything except their name, address and phone number and provide their State issued photo identification, if they have one.

It’s best that they stay silent until a lawyer hired to represent their interests speaks to them. No matter what the police say to them, they should tell the officers that they want to talk to a lawyer. Tell your teen to be nice about it though. They can say something like: “I’m sorry, but my parents told me I’m to only give you my name, address and phone number and ask you to call them and tell you that I need a lawyer.”

2. Get a lawyer right away. 

If your teenager is arrested, they have no right to see you and you have no right to see them. They do, however, have a right to have an attorney present during police questioning. Make sure they know that.

So they need to ask for a lawyer. Starting to see a theme? The most important thing you can take away from this article: make sure your teen knows if they are arrested they need to ask for a lawyer and not make any statements whatsoever to police.

3. Don’t think the police officer is your BFF or your teenager’s.

The police officer may be a very nice person who wants to do what’s right, but they are there to close a case. They are not your friend or your teen’s friend. Don’t talk to them and don’t let your teen talk to them without a lawyer. They aren’t going to talk themselves out of trouble, and you aren’t going to talk them out of it either

Also, the police may have you believing that it’s in your child’s best interest to “get help” in the form of criminal prosecution or juvenile court involvement for whatever legal infraction or crime they are accused of. That is usually not the best solution to whatever may be troubling your teen. Remember, the criminal judicial process isn’t therapy. The criminal justice system’s main purpose is to protect society, not help your child.

The juvenile justice system, on the other hand, (which is separate from the adult criminal court) serves a dual role by protecting society and trying to help troubled kids, but many families find that maintaining private control over their family matters is preferable to the State taking over – which is what happens when your teen is involved in juvenile court. Also, depending on your their age, there is no guarantee your teen’s case won’t end up in adult criminal court.

4. Remember it’s not about you.

If law enforcement or social workers start questioning you (the parent) about things involving you, see above. Talking without a lawyer present often does more harm than good. Focus on the issue at hand and get a lawyer.

This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.