The arrest and prosecution of a DUI case in Nebraska involve specific legal procedures that law enforcement must follow, or a judge might dismiss the charge. These intricacies of DUI law provide valuable opportunities a person can use to fight a conviction.
The initial stop
For an officer to have probable cause to pull you over, he or she must witness a traffic violation or have some other articulable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. If the officer did not have a legal reason to stop you, you or your criminal defense attorney could move to have the court suppress any evidence obtained thereafter.
Field sobriety tests
Field sobriety tests are a couple of roadside exercises that officers use to determine whether a driver is under the influence. These tests are voluntary, and you have the right to refuse them. If you do choose to participate in field sobriety tests, there are provisions that officers must adhere to collect accurate results. They include:
• They must administer the test on a level and well-lit area
• The officer must give clear instructions
• The officer must demonstrate the test
• The officer must give you a chance to ask questions
• The officer must give you sufficient time to complete the test
If the officer did not adhere to these guidelines, any evidence they gathered from the field sobriety test might be inadmissible in court. Also, even if you do poorly on the test, that does not mean you are automatically guilty of DUI.
If an officer arrests you for DUI, they must advise you of your chemical testing rights before administering a breath, blood or urine test. You have the right to refuse all chemical tests, but doing so comes with consequences. A chemical test like breathalyze has a reputation for giving false positive results, for instance, when you have used mouthwash recently. If the machine is not properly calibrated, that can also skew results.
The penalties for DUI are quite harsh. A convict risks facing a jail term, losing their license or paying heavy fines. Further, a record can make it difficult to find a job or maintain their current one, restrict their right to rent or buy a home and influence a judge’s decision during custody battles. So, fighting the charge, if you can, is certainly worth the effort.