Nebraska Amending Ignition Interlock Penalities for Sober Drivers

ignition interlockFirst DUI offenders in Nebraska are not required to have ignition interlocks installed, but the court can require them after a second DUI charge and offenders are required to follow all rules and regulations to do with the device.

Penalties for violating the ignition interlock requirement are severe in Nebraska. In the situation where a sober driver does not drive with their ignition interlock, they could be charged with a Class IV felony. It’s recently come to the attention of Nebraska lawmakers that this penalty may be too harsh for sober drivers who violate due to unique situations such as a vehicle breakdown, and that’s why lawmakers are working on Legislative Bill 998.

If Bill 998 passes, there will still be a strict penalty for sober drivers who violate their ignition interlock requirements but the penalty will be slightly reduced. Without Bill 998, these individuals would be charged with a Class IV felony, and that can come with up to 5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and other penalties such as losing their voting rights for two years and being barred from some jobs. With the Bill in place, they would be charged instead with a Class I misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail and $1000 in fines.

Nebraska DUI laws are as strict as any you’ll find in the USA. In 2012 new DUI laws were put forth that increased the look back period between convictions from 12 years to 15 years, created a specific offense of drunk driving with a child in the vehicle, and made the homicide of an unborn child while driving drunk a crime that is separate from the DUI itself. Nebraska also put forth a new 15-day temporary drivers license for those arrested for DUI or those who refuse a chemical test, adding an ignition interlock component to allow them to continue driving to work, school, or events like health care.