DUI Defenses in Nebraska
There are several ways to defend against a DUI charge in Nebraska. One is to challenge the probable cause or reasonable grounds of the arresting officer. An officer may arrest someone for DUI because the person was driving too fast, driving too slow, erratically changing lanes, running a red light, stopping at a green light, or constantly changing speeds. Those are just some examples that an officer and the prosecution may rely on to establish probable cause. A defendant who was driving 7 or 8 miles under the speed limit, staying in the same lane, and who did not run a red light would likely be successful in claiming the arresting officer had no probable cause for stopping them. A defendant can argue other explanations for behavior that are not attributable to alcohol or drugs. A defendant can contend that he or she was driving the vehicle in an appropriate manner.
An officer may also testify to a defendant’s behavior at the time of arrest. The officer will claim that the defendant’s behavior is consistent with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer may rely on behavior such as incoherent speech, bloodshot eyes, pupil enlargement, or inability to walk in a straight line. Defenses to these observations include any alternative explanations that can be offered for the arrestee’s behavior. Defenses can include lack of sleep, stress, nervousness, or anything else besides alcohol or a drug that might have caused the defendant to act the way they did.
A defendant may also challenge the validity of chemical tests. A defendant can challenge whether a breathalyzer was properly used and maintained. In addition, a defendant can also challenge whether the person that conducted a breath, blood, or urine test was qualified to perform the test. A defendant should never assume that any chemical test done was performed correctly. Instead, a defendant can challenge the validity of the tests. For example, urine samples that are not properly preserved are inadmissible as evidence. In Nebraska, if a police officer refuses to let a suspect have independent chemical tests done at their own expense, any tests administered by the police then become inadmissible because a DUI defendant has that right to have the additional tests performed.
A defendant can challenge field sobriety tests as well, as field sobriety tests can be inaccurate. People who are old, injured, or significantly overweight may have problems performing field sobriety tests even if they are completely sober and not under the influence of any drug. If a breath test is done, the breath-testing device must be on the Federal List of Approved Breath Evidential Instruments for the results to be admissible. An arresting officer’s disciplinary record may be used to attack their credibility. Weather conditions such as strong winds, fog, rain, or snow can also explain poor or seemingly erratic driving behavior. Defenses to DUI in Nebraska include lack of probable cause by the arresting officer, weather conditions, alternative explanations for unusual behavior, and challenges to the validity of chemical tests that are performed.
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