Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) tests help determine whether a person is driving under the influence of alcohol. However, the accuracy of these tests has been a subject of debate in Nebraska. What’s really concerning is that an inaccurate BAC is not just any other test result — it can ruin someone’s life.
Knowing what to do if your BAC results are inaccurate is critical. It could be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
<h2>What Is the BAC limit in Nebraska? </h2>
In Nebraska, you can be charged with DUI if your BAC is or exceeds 0.08. If you are driving a commercial vehicle driver, your BAC cannot exceed 0.04.
<h2>What Factors Could Influence the Accuracy of BAC Results? </h2>
Many factors could influence the accuracy of a breathalyzer, a tool used by law enforcement to test for blood alcohol content in drivers suspected of driving under the influence. Below are some examples.
<h3>A Lack of Proper Calibration </h3>
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Breathalyzers need regular calibration to ensure accurate results. In this context, calibration involves adjusting and verifying a breathalyzer’s accuracy to ensure the readings obtained from the device are reliable and consistent.
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The calibration process compares results from the breathalyzer to an established standard, usually a solution of ethanol with a known concentration.
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For example, when testing for blood alcohol content, the technician blows a 0.08 BAC gas concentration into the breathalyzer and checks if it records an accurate reading, 0.08 BAC. Ignoring this step could result in inaccurate results when testing a driver for DUI.
<h3>Extreme Temperatures </h3>
When a person’s normal body temperature rises or falls beyond the normal range, so do the BAC results.
<h3>Presence of Alcohol in Mouth </h3>
Some everyday products, such as mouthwash and cold medicines, contain alcohol. So, it’s possible to test for high BAC just by using such products.
<h3>Residual Alcohol in Mouth </h3>
Alcohol can stay in your saliva and breath for up to 24 hours. As a result, you may still have a high BAC test result even if you did not consume alcohol right before driving.
<h3>Certain Medical Conditions </h3>
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Acid reflux is an example of a medical condition that could lead to a false BAC reading. When the alcohol shifts from your stomach into your esophagus, the breathalyzer will likely detect it and display the wrong results. The same may also happen if you vomited or belched before the test.
<h3>Interference From Other Substances </h3>
Substances such as acetone or paint fumes can also interfere with the breathalyzer’s results, leading to false results.
<h2>What Are the DUI Penalties in Nebraska? </h2>
In Nebraska, the penalties for intoxicated driving depend on various factors and increase with each offense. In fact, you could still face jail time even for a first-time DUI.
Here is an overview of Nebraska’s minimum and maximum sentences for intoxicated driving.
Nebraska differentiates DUIs by the assessing the penalty based on the individual’s blood alcohol content. If a person’s BAC is below a 0.15, they will be charged with a Non-Aggravated DUI. First-time Non-Aggravated DUI offenders could face a $500 fine, a 6-month license revocation, and between 7 and 60 days in jail. Second-time Non-Aggravated DUI offenses face a $500 fine, an 18-month license revocation, and between 30 and 180 days in jail. On the other hand, third-time Non-Aggravated DUI offenses could lead to a $1,000 fine, a 15-year license revocation, and between three months and one-year in jail.
If a person’s BAC is a 0.15 or above, they will be charged with an Aggravated DUI. First-time Non-Aggravated DUI offenders could face a $500 fine, a one-year license revocation, and between 7 and 60 days in jail. Second-time Aggravated DUI offenses face a $1,000 fine, an 18-month to 15-year license revocation, and between 90 days and one-year in jail. On the other hand, third-time Aggravated DUI offenses could lead to a $10,000 fine, a 15-year license revocation, and between 180 days to three years in jail.
In addition to these penalties, you may be required to attend a substance abuse class, a victim impact panel, or a behavioral thinking class.
Also, certain circumstances can result in more severe charges for intoxicated driving, regardless of the defendant’s prior driving history or level of intoxication. For example, an accident that leads to catastrophic injuries or even death have harsher penalties.
<h2>Can Someone Under 21 Be Charged With DUI? </h2>
You can be charged with DUI even if you are under 21, per the State’s 02 laws, also known as zero tolerance laws. In Nebraska, anyone under 21 with a BAC of 0.02 faces a 30-day license impoundment and a $100 fine, including court costs. However, this conviction will only stick to the driver’s record at the Department of Motor Vehicles for 90 days so long as you have no additional traffic violations.
<h2>Can I Still Be Charged With a DUI If I Was Not Driving? </h2>
Under Nebraska law, a person in “actual physical control” of a vehicle can be charged with driving under the influence. So, even if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, you can still be charged with a DUI.
<h2>Can I Refuse To Submit to a DUI Breath Test in Nebraska? <h2>
You can refuse to submit to a breath test when pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. However, doing so may have serious legal consequences.
This is because Nebraska has an implied consent law, meaning if you operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway in the State, you consent to submit to a chemical test if suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Additionally, prosecutors may use your refusal to submit to a breath against you in court. For example, they could argue that your refusal implies consciousness of guilt, which could hurt your defense.
<h2>Can I Fight a DUI Charge on My Own? </h2>
Fighting DUI charges on your own can be tempting, but that is not advisable. Here’s why.
Navigating the legal system in Nebraska can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a legal background. Without an attorney, you may not understand the legal procedures and timelines involved in your case. This can lead to missed deadlines or other mistakes that could harm your case.
Secondly, challenging the evidence against you is a key part of any DUI defense strategy. Without an attorney, you may not know how to contest the accuracy of field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, blood tests, or other evidence tabled against you.
Thirdly, a DUI conviction can have significant consequences, such as fines, license revocation, mandatory alcohol assessment or treatment, and even jail time. Without an attorney, you may not know or truly appreciate the potential consequences of a conviction. You may also not know how to negotiate a plea bargain or alternative sentencing options that could minimize the penalties you face.
<h2>How Can a Lawyer Help if I Have Been Charged With DUI? </h2>
Do not underestimate the importance of hiring an attorney if you have been charged with DUI. A skilled DUI defense lawyer can evaluate the facts of your case and develop a defense strategy to minimize the charges against you or get them dismissed altogether. In addition, they can examine the evidence against you, review police reports, and identify any weaknesses or errors that could help challenge the prosecution’s case.
Sometimes, a plea bargain may be the best option for your case. A DUI defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charges against you, minimize the penalties, or seek alternative sentencing options. Your lawyer can also help you decide whether to accept a plea deal or take your case to trial.
<h2>Charged With DUI? Berry Law Can Help </h2>
When it comes to an offense as serious as DUI, you should not take chances. One wrong move could mean losing your license, job, or freedom. The most unfortunate thing about not hiring an attorney to represent you in a DUI case is that you may not realize the full consequences of such a decision until it is too late.
At Berry Law, our attorneys have been fighting for the rights of individuals charged with DUI since 1965.
The difference between an acquittal, a plea bargain, and a conviction can lie in the attorney you choose to represent you. That is why our award-winning attorneys are here to help you. We know that so much is at stake, and your future depends on the outcome of your case.
Time is not on your side; contact us online, call us at 402-704-8180 to speak with one of our DUI defense attorneys.
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