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Higher BAC leads to enhanced DUI penalties

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Dui |

To be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Nebraska, your blood alcohol content (BAC) level should be at least .08% during the traffic stop test. Studies say that it takes at least four alcoholic drinks to hit a BAC of .08%.

But what if you’ve had more than four drinks? If your BAC hits or goes beyond .15%, you face enhanced penalties if convicted of DUI.

More severe DUI penalties

A BAC of .15% generally means longer prison sentences and heavier fines when convicted of DUI. And while normally you could apply for an ignition interlock permit after a DUI conviction, the rules slightly change if your blood alcohol levels exceed the limit.

The enhanced penalties are:

  • First DUI offense with BAC of .15% or more: A maximum fine of $500 and jail time of up to 60 days. The six-month license suspension for a regular first-offense DUI gets enhanced to a whole-year revocation period. Drivers with BACs below .15% normally can apply for an ignition interlock permit immediately, but those with BACs .15% and above must wait 45 days first before applying.
  • Second DUI offense with BAC of .15% or more: $500 maximum fine gets enhanced to up to $1,000. Jail time of up to 180 days gets enhanced to a maximum of one year. The driver must also wait 45 days before applying for an ignition interlock permit. The license revocation period of 18 months is enhanced to 15 years.
  • Third DUI offense with BAC of .15% or more: Maximum fine of $1,000 enhanced to up to $10,000. Maximum jail time of one year enhanced to three whole years. The 45-day waiting period before a convicted driver can apply for an ignition interlock permit also applies. The license revocation period remains untouched at 15 years.

In addition to these penalties, a court might order convicted drivers to use an alcohol-monitoring device and abstain from drinking liquor for at least 120 days.

And while the first and second DUI offenses for a BAC of .15% are still considered criminal misdemeanors, a third offense is enhanced to a Class IIA felony. Typically, a DUI for a driver with a BAC between .08% and .15% only becomes a felony by the fourth offense.

In summary, having a very high BAC during a roadside test can spell trouble for you should your DUI charge stick. Consider consulting a legal professional if you plan to fight the charge in court.