DUI Legal Process in Nebraska
A DUI in Nebraska results in two different proceedings against a defendant. One is a criminal prosecution that is conducted by the state of Nebraska. The other is an Administrative License Revocation hearing that is conducted by Nebraska’s Department of Motor Vehicles. The police in Nebraska confiscate a person’s driver’s license when a person is arrested for DUI. The police issue the arrestee a temporary driving permit that is valid for 30 days following the arrest. A defendant has the right to appeal their license suspension and must do so by requesting a hearing with the DMV. The request for the hearing must be made within ten days of the arrest. Otherwise, the defendant loses the right to appeal and the license will be suspended. If the defendant does make a prompt appeal, the DMV will schedule a hearing that will take place within 20 days of receiving the request.
The administrative license revocation hearing is conducted by an officer of the DMV. The issue to be decided at the hearing is whether the offender did refuse or fail a chemical test. At the hearing, the offender must successfully persuade the officer through testimony and evidence that he or she either did not fail the chemical test or did not refuse the test. After the hearing, the Director of the DMV will send a notice that states whether the license suspension was upheld or overturned. If the defendant wins and it is determined that they did not fail or refuse a chemical test, the defendant’s license will be reinstated and they will have their driving privileges back.
With regard to criminal proceedings, a person arrested for DUI in Nebraska will appear before a judge who will set bail and decide what is necessary for the defendant to be released. If the judge sets bail, the defendant will remain in custody or until the day of trial or until the bail is posted. Whether or not bail is required depends on many factors that include things like ties to the community, family life, the person’s record, and whether the defendant poses a flight risk. A judge who does not think a defendant is a flight risk may require no bail or a very small bail amount.
Following a DUI arrest, a defendant must appear in court at an arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge reads the charges against the defendant and the defendant must enter a plea. If a person pleads guilty, the judge will then give the sentence. If a person pleads not guilty, a trial for the DUI charges will be scheduled. Prior to trial, there may also be pretrial hearings before the judge as well as pretrial conferences between the defense attorney and the prosecutor. The pretrial hearings with the judge are to update the judge on the status of the case and to discuss any other issues. Prior to trial, the defense and prosecution may agree to a plea bargain. If no plea bargain is agreed to, the case goes to trial.
Nebraska law grants a person accused of driving while impaired the right to a jury trial. At trial, the defense and prosecution will present their arguments, evidence, and witnesses. The prosecution must prove the defendant committed a DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury must agree on a unanimous verdict. If the jury finds the defendant guilty, the defendant will then be sentenced. A defendant who is found not guilty by the jury will have all charges against them dismissed. A defendant who is found guilty in Nebraska does have the right to appeal.
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