If a driver faces a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) in Nebraska, a conviction doesn’t immediately lead to a felony on record. A DUI only becomes a felony on the driver’s third and subsequent offenses.
But one surefire way for a driver to land a felony charge is if their inebriated driving led to another person suffering grievous injuries.
State law on DUI resulting in serious bodily injuries
Per Nebraska law, anyone who operates a vehicle while drunk and causes serious bodily injury to another person or an unborn child of a pregnant woman can be charged with a Class IIIA felony. This felony level is the same criminal charge levied on those accused of reckless vehicular homicide.
What counts as a serious bodily injury? It can refer to any potentially fatal, disfiguring, or impairing injury. For instance, if a drunk driver causes an accident that results in a pedestrian nearly losing their leg, the driver can face a charge under the law.
Harsh penalties for felonies
The penalties for a Class IIIA felony conviction include a maximum $10,000 fine and up to three years in prison. The convicted must also undergo an 18-month post-release supervision period.
In addition to the above punishments, the court will prohibit the driver from operating any motor vehicle for up to 15 years from a date set by the judge. The judge will also order the revocation of the driver’s license for the same period.
State law also adds that a conviction for a DUI causing serious bodily damage is treated as a separate and distinct offense from a regular DUI. So, a court can separately convict the driver of DUI, and the motorist will have to deal with the punishments for both crimes.
DUIs can be intimidating enough to handle, but facing another separate charge for causing serious injury is overwhelming. Drivers who face these multiple charges will want to consider legal counsel.