Nebraska DUI Penalties Clickable Infographic – Your Freedom and Your License On the Line

If you’re facing a DUI and want to know what you may be in for, look no further. I know the legal penalties of a Nebraska DUI are one of the first concerns when someone gets a pulled over for DUI, because it’s most often the first thing clients ask when they come to see me for an initial consultation on their DUI case. Their freedom and their driver’s license are on the line. Below is a handy Nebraska DUI Penalties Clickable Infographic.


Hightower Reff Law is a team of confident, clear, committed attorneys representing clients in the Omaha metro and surrounding areas in family law and criminal defense/dui.


Each infographic frame is clickable, with links to resources like the the Nebraska statute that lays out the DUI penalties, Nebraska DMV ignition interlock info., Hightower Reff’s DUI defense practice, and more information about me.

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I’ve been a criminal defense/DUI attorney for more than 15  years. I know good people make mistakes. I get it.

If you’re one of them, don’t compound the mistake of getting a DUI by going into the Nebraska DUI court process or the Nebraska DUI DMV process without knowing the score. Educate yourself and enlist the help of an experienced Omaha DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

If you’d like a PDF of the Nebraska DUI Penalties Clickable Infographic to print or download, click here.

 

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. 


For details about the author, Hightower Reff Partner Attorney Susan Reff, visit her profile page at our main website.

You can learn more about Hightower Reff’s DUI defense practice at our main website.

If you need help with a DUI case, contact Hightower Reff Law today and arrange a time to visit with Susan by phone or at the Omaha office.

Three Things You Should Know if You’re Charged with a Misdemeanor in Nebraska

Our criminal defense team at Hightower Reff Law helps good people in bad situations. We’ve done it for many years. We get it. When youthree things you should know misdemeanors‘re charged with a misdemeanor in Nebraska, the scariest part can be not knowing what to expect. That’s why we try to make things as clear as we can for our clients. One of the things that helps is filling them in on some of the legal basics.

No article can replace the advice of a good criminal defense attorney, and it isn’t intended to do so. However, this article may give you some information to consider while you search for the right lawyer for your case.

1. Charged with a Misdemeanor Doesn’t Always Mean Jail

The first thing you should know – if you’re going to be charged with a misdemeanor in Nebraska, you aren’t always arrested and taken to jail. Law enforcement may issue a ticket and release you on your own recognizance instead. Regardless, always remain silent until you talk to a lawyer. It’s smart to hire an attorney or ask for court appointed counsel as soon you can.

If you’re taken to jail to be processed after you’re arrested, you may be able to bond out right away without seeing a judge.

Next, there will be an arraignment hearing at which the court will read the charges against you, and advise you of your rights.

2. You Could have a Chance to Keep the Charges Off Your Record…Maybe 

The second thing you should know if you’re charged with a misdemeanor – if it’s your first offense, you may qualify for pre-trial diversion. This may happen for cases like minor in possession, possession of marijuana under an ounce, shoplifting and, in Sarpy County, DUI.

Diversion program requirements and lengths vary by county, but if you qualify and complete the program successfully, the criminal charges will be dismissed and no conviction will show on your record.

3. You Might Have to Be Patient – This May Take Awhile

The third thing you should know if you’re charged with a misdemeanor – if diversion isn’t an option and the case moves forward, your attorney will start preparing your case for trial. He or she will talk to law enforcement and prosecutors will evaluate the evidence against you, but it may take a while to get to trial.. if you get there.

Your attorney may also try to negotiate a plea deal for you, depending on the strength of the evidence against you and the other circumstances of the case.

If you aren’t able to reach a plea agreement, or your lawyer advises you not to take a plea deal, there may be pre-trial hearings or motions hearings before your case gets to trial.

If you’re found not guilty after a trial, the case will be dismissed and it’s over.

On the other hand, if the prosecution is able to prove the charges “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and you’re found guilty, you will be convicted of the misdemeanor offense. Your sentencing will happen at a later hearing, after a completion of a pre-sentence investigation.

The entire process from citation or arrest to sentencing can take up to six months, so you might need to be patient and let your attorney do his or her job. If you rush into a decision that isn’t in your best interest just to get the case over with, you may have to deal with the consequences for a long time.

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. 


For details about the author, Hightower Reff Partner Attorney Susan Reff, visit her profile page at our main website.
To learn about Hightower Reff’s misdemeanor and felony criminal law practice, visit our main website.

DUI Myths Debunked – Part I

shutterstock_241535338-thumb-400x267-65292-thumb-400x267-65293There are a lot of urban legends, tall tales and misinformation going around about DUI laws in Nebraska. In other words, DUI myths.

In this two part series – DUI Myths Debunked, Hightower Reff Partner Attorney and criminal law guru Susan Reff sets the record straight about some popular DUI myths.

While it’s never a good idea to drink or take drugs and drive, it can be helpful to have an understanding of what the law really says on the topic of driving under the influence.

 DUI Myth #1: Everyone gets at least one DUI. It’s no big deal.

False. Even one DUI can be devastating. You can lose your driver’s license for up to one year, pay a $500 fine and may spend up to sixty days in jail.

If your job requires you to drive, this could mean you can’t work. Also, many employers do background checks on prospective employees, so even one DUI conviction could make it more difficult to find employment.

If you are convicted, Nebraska law says you will also have to pay for an alcohol assessment before your sentencing. If it recommends treatment and the judge orders it, you have to pay for that too – and it won’t be cheap. Alcohol treatment programs can cost several thousand dollars.

DUI Myth #2: If the car isn’t moving or I’m not actually driving when the police officer sees me, they can’t give me a DUI.

False. You can be convicted of driving under the influence if you are driving a motor vehicle or are “in actual physical control” of a motor vehicle.

Most often these DUI without actually driving cases happen when someone is asleep at the wheel in a parked car.

DUI Myth #3: Using breath mints or mouthwash or sucking on a penny can fool a breathalyzer.

This is also false. There is an urban legend that the copper in a penny can fool a breathalyzer but it isn’t true. Of course, this is a moot point anyway since today’s pennies are made mostly of zinc, not copper.

Regarding mouthwash and mints: mouthwash or certain breath mints containing menthol can actually cause a false fail of a breathalyzer test because they can be read as mouth alcohol.

The breathalyzer is meant to measure the alcohol on your breath coming from inside your lungs, but it can also pick up alcohol in the mouth – or other substances that can read as alcohol in the mouth. For this reason, police officers always check the inside of your mouth before administering the breathalyzer test so they can make sure nothing is in your mouth that can be misread on the test.

DUI Myth #4: If I refuse to take sobriety tests, police can’t arrest me.

This is also not true. Nebraska law says that by driving a car, your consent is implied to a chemical test or test of your blood, breath and urine to determine if you are driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance.

A police officer with reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving or in the actual physical control of a motor vehicle can require you to submit to sobriety testing.

You can refuse the field sobriety tests without being charged, but not the preliminary breath test (at the scene) or the test at the station. If you refusethat testing, you can be charged with a separate crime and the officer must advise you of that – or the State can’t bring separate charges. The refusal to submit to testing can also be used as evidence against you regarding the DUI charges.

Don’t Go It Alone.

Hightower Reff knows DUI law. Don’t base your decisions if you get a DUI on what you think the law says, or you may fall victim to DUI myths. If you or a friend needs help, contact us. A DUI can be devastating and you shouldn’t go it alone.

Call the office at 402-932-9550, or contact us online and make an appointment to come visit with us about your case during an initial consultation. Don’t go it alone.

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.

Domestic Violence and the Military: What to Know if It Happens to You

shutterstock_363338615-thumb-500x334-68160Sara Palin’s son Track’s recent arrest for domestic violence related charges has put the issue of veterans and domestic violence in the headlines. The Palin camp says that the army vet’s service in Iraq resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which contributed to the issues that led to the incident.

Whether PTSD or something else is truly the major contributing factor to Track Palin’s problems, one thing is clear. Domestic violence among our active military and veterans is a problem…and an underreported one at that.

Getting help in a domestic violence situation can be frightening and humiliating for anyone. For members of our military and their significant others, the stakes are high and the issues can be even more complicated.

Reasons Military Domestic Violence May Go Unreported

In military domestic violence cases, it could be the abuser’s career at stake, which makes some victims reluctant to report. In many military families, the service member is the sole source of support for the family, so the fear of losing that income can be daunting.

Also, military life is unique. Many families move from base to base, sometimes in foreign countries. This can lead to a feeling of isolation that adds to the fear of reporting for survivors.

Get Help and Know Your Options 

The military offers its own set of resources to address domestic violence, including the Family Advocacy Program (FAP). Family advocates are specifically trained to help survivors deal with domestic violence.

There are two options for reporting domestic violence to the military during service: restricted and unrestricted. In restricted reporting, military command and law enforcement are not notified. A restricted report starts with contacting an FAP supervisor, clinician, victim advocate or a health care provider and requesting a “restricted report.” However, those that may be considered at “imminent risk of serious harm” cannot use the restricted report option and it can’t be used in child abuse cases.

After the restricted report is started, the survivor can access victim advocacy services including help in developing a safety plan to prevent further abuse, information about military and civilian protective orders, an escort to meetings, medical and court appointments and information about military and civilian medical, legal and community resources.

The other option is unrestricted reporting, which includes investigation of the abuse and military command involvement. This option can mean added support and protection to the reporting survivor. It can also mean military administrative action against the offender.

If a victim decides to make an unrestricted report, a FAP advocate will help them make a report to civilian law enforcement.

Military spouses who are victims of domestic violence also have all of the traditional means of help available to them – they can report to civilian law enforcement or they can get help at any of the civilian options available to non-military families.

Don’t Go It Alone

If you have questions about your legal options in any domestic violence situation, having an initial consultation with a lawyer trained in this area of the law can be a very helpful support.

When looking for an attorney, be sure they know family law and are aware of the special legal issues involved in military cases of domestic violence and family law.

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. 

Nebraska Domestic Violence Law – What You Should Know if You’re Accused

dv arrestHightower Reff Law has years of experience helping clients on both sides of Omaha Nebraska domestic violence cases – survivors and offenders. Whether you’re a victim needing a protection order or someone accused of domestic violence, the domestic assault lawyers at Hightower Reff in Omaha, Nebraska, believe it’s helpful if clients understand the basics of Nebraska domestic violence law and penalties.

An understanding of the law and processes is important if you’re accused of domestic assault, as you could face serious penalties that affect your family, job and your future.

When you face domestic assault charges, having an attorney experienced in domestic assault cases who knows the law and the court in your county and will zealously represent you and help you make the best decisions during your case is also crucial.

Intimate Partner Assault 

It’s important to start by understanding who Nebraska law considers an intimate partner. Intimate partners can include:

  • a spouse
  • a former spouse
  • someone with whom you have children
  • someone you are dating or have dated in the past

Criminal Penalties and Protection Orders 

The penalties for domestic violence offenses in Nebraska can be steep. Along with criminal charges, you will likely have a protection order filed against you immediately.

The protection order will be addressed separately from your criminal case. You can usually use the same attorney for both, however.

If you’re convicted of a felony domestic assault you could spend up to 50 years in prison. Nebraska law also allows for enhanced penalties if the victim is pregnant.

Nebraska law provides for restitution as well. You could be ordered to pay money to the victim to reimburse them for the cost of medical treatment or to fix or repair property you damaged.

One of the Most Important Things to Remember 

One the most important things you can do if you are charged with a domestic violence criminal offense is to exercise your right to remain silent.

Nebraska law provides for stiff penalties in intimate partner assault crimes and there is a lot of risk in talking to police without the advice of a lawyer experienced in domestic violence law.

Get a Good Lawyer on Board Right Away

The faster you get a lawyer on board, the faster they can start investigating your case and interviewing witnesses — and perhaps find reasons why the case may be able to be dismissed.

Or, the attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain before the case gets to the trial phase.

Domestic violence convictions can stick with you for a long time. There are no guarantees, but sometimes, especially on a first offense, it may be possible for an experienced attorney to help you prevent damage or lessen the impact of these serious charges on your future.

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. 

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

shutterstock_384250570-thumb-300x200-69902Drinking 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.

In Part I of this series on Nebraska DUI, Hightower Reff Partner Attorney and DUI law guru Susan Reff  talked about the first steps of the DUI criminal court process. In this second part, she covers preparing for a plea or your trial and going to court for adjudication of your charges in your trial.

To Plea or Not to Plea

To plea or not to plea…that is the question. It’s crucial to have an experienced DUI attorney who has reviewed the State’s evidence advise you when you make your decision.

Before your attorney gives you a recommendation, he or she will have access to all evidence the State plans to present at the trial against you. Your attorney may also try to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor.

Based on the strength of the evidence and the outcome of the plea negotiations, your attorney will offer you his or her best advice as to whether to enter into a plea agreement with the State or take your chances at trial. The final decision, however, is always up to you.

Going to the Show (Trial)

If you choose to go to trial, you can also choose whether your case is heard by a judge or by a jury. Your attorney will help you make that decision also, along with designing the best defense strategy for your case.

In some cases, your trial may happen quickly – within a month or two – but if the courts are busy or your case is complicated, it could take up to a year. In the meantime, depending on how you handle the separate DMV administrative process dealing with your driving privileges (more on that in separate blog articles to come), and the severity of your DUI and prior offenses, you may or may not be able to continue to legally drive.

The trial itself usually takes a day or less, depending on the amount of evidence to be presented by you and the State.

Stay Tuned… 

Next time in our Nebraska DUI series: after the trial.

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.

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

shutterstock_251600833-thumb-320x205-69378-1

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.