Various Nebraska police agencies have noted that they are planning a strong crackdown on drunk driving as part of several initiatives that have seen widespread citations and warnings. Around St. Patrick’s Day, Papillion police distributed 35 citations, and 10 days later, La Vista police announced three DUI arrests within one four-hour period. Law enforcement spokespeople have commented in media interviews and social media posts that they view drunk driving as a major danger on the roads.
Over the years, drunk driving statistics have gone down significantly as the laws have changed; the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) has been lowered, penalties have been increased and ignition interlock devices are now installed on the vehicles of repeat offenders. In Nebraska, car accidents related to alcohol have dropped by more than half since the 1980s and 1990s. However, prosecutions are perhaps more intense than ever. While at one time police may have called a relative for a ride when they found a drunk driver, today there is a clear no-tolerance policy.
While arrests have gone down, people are far more likely to be prosecuted for DUI than they were in the past. In Sarpy County, DUI arrests fell from 907 in 2007 to 501 in 2016. However, conviction rates are on the rise. In 1995, 42 percent of people accused of drunk driving were convicted, but in 2016, 90.2 percent of people facing DUI charges were convicted. Police said that they have a major focus on drunk driving education, with public awareness campaigns focusing on young people about the dangers of drunk driving.
When people are accused of drunk driving, they could face serious consequences such as license revocation, hefty fines and even jail time for a first offense. If necessary, a criminal defense lawyer can provide strong representation to a client facing DUI charges.