Nebraska Drunk Driving Laws

Every Nebraska drunk driving arrest is different. Maybe you were found passed out in your car on the side of the road with an open container of booze. Or maybe you were stopped on your way home from the bar downtown, and you really thought you were okay to drive. If you were charged with a violation of Nebraska drunk driving laws, you’ll want to read the information below to get an idea of the possible penalties and defense options for your offense.

What Nebraska Law Says

Police use a variety of tests to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content — mainly a field-administered breathalyzer test. It is within the right of a driver to refuse to submit to blood alcohol testing; however, this would be grounds for an immediate arrest (Sec. 60-6,197.04). Keep in mind that while there is a “washout period” in Nebraska, it’s quite long at 15 years (Sec. 60-6,197.02(1)(a)).

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits:

  • 21 years and up: BAC limit of 0.08 (Sec. 60-6,196)
  • Under 21 years: BAC limit of 0.02 (Sec. 60-6,211.01)
  • Commercial Drivers: BAC limit of 0.04 (Sec. 60-4,164(5))
  • Highly Intoxicated: BAC of 0.15 or higher (Sec. 60-6,197.03(2))


  • First Offense: Seven to 60 days in jail; $500 fine; six-month license suspension. If the court instead orders probation, your license will be suspended for 60 days; you must install an ignition interlock device; and pay a $500 fine (Sec. 60-6,197.03(1), Sec. 28-106).
  • Second Offense: 18-month license suspension; 30-180 Days in jail; $500 fine; and a one-year license suspension. If the court instead orders probation, you must first serve either 10 days in jail or up to 240 hours of community service (Sec. 28-106).
  • Third Offense: 90 days to one year in jail; $1,000 fine; and a 15-year license suspension. Alternatively, the court may order probation which includes a 30-day jail sentence and a two to 15 year of license suspension (Sec. 28-106).
  • Fourth Offense: Class IIIA felony 180 days to three years in jail; nine to 18 months’ probation; and/or a $10,000 fine; 15-year license suspension (Sec. 60-6,197.03(8), Sec. 28-105). If probation is instead ordered, you will have to pay a $2,000 fine, a 90-day jail sentence, and use of a continuous alcohol monitoring device at all times for at least 90 days (Sec. 6-6,197.03(7)).
  • Fifth Offense: Class IIA felony. Two to 20 years in jail; up to a $25,000 fine; and suspension of your license for 15 years (Sec. 28-105). Alternatively, the judge may order probation with a 180-day jail sentence, 15 years license suspension, and a $1,000 fine (Sec. 6-6,197.03(9)).


  • Refusal to Submit to Breathalyzer Test: punishable as a Class V misdemeanor, punishable by a $100 fine (Sec. 60-6,197.04).
  • Driving With a Suspended License: punishable as a Class IV felony, which means up to two years in prison with nine to 12 months’ probation and/or a $10,000 fine, plus your license will be revoked for 15 years (Sec. 28-105).
  • DUI with Serious Injury: If your DUI causes serious injury, the charge is increased to a Class IIIA felony. That means that you’re looking at up to three years in prison plus nine to 18 months’ probation and/or a $10,000 fine (Sec. 60-6,198, Sec. 28-105).

Read the full text of the Nebraska Revised Statutes for more details.

I’ve Been Charged with a DUI in Nebraska: What’s Next?

There are some common defense strategies that a Nebraska defense attorney might try to use on your behalf. During the initial review of a drunk driving case, a defense attorney will usually look at the facts surrounding the arrest to determine if one of these defenses could apply to your situation.

The first common defense is that police did not have a valid reason for stopping the driver. If there was no valid reason for making the stop, then any subsequent charge of driving under the influence could be invalidated. Another defense is to challenge the accuracy and/or validity of evidence that the prosecution is using to convict you. For example, blood tests, breathalyzer tests, and field sobriety tests are not without their faults and sometimes it can be shown that the test was inaccurate, and/or the test results cannot be trusted.

When blood alcohol concentration test results and other evidence are removed from the prosecution’s arsenal, it could result in the charges being dropped or dismissed, or a verdict of not guilty.