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Drug impairment and DUIs: Alcohol isn’t the only intoxicating substance

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Criminal Defense, Dui |

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Nebraska; serious enough that a conviction will leave a person with a criminal record. While most people associate DUI with alcohol, it’s important to realize that drug impairment can also lead to DUI charges.

Drugs that can impair drivers

A variety of substances can impair your ability to drive safely, including:

  • Illegal drugs: These include substances such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.
  • Prescription medications: Medicines such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and sleep aids that can cause drowsiness or distraction.
  • Over-the-counter medications: Some medicines that can be easily purchased such as antihistamines or cough syrups may cause dizziness or sleepiness.

It’s crucial to understand that any substance that impairs your ability to drive could lead to a DUI charge.

State law on drug DUIs

Under Nebraska law, it’s unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug. This definition includes both illegal drugs and legal medications for as long as they can impair your ability to drive properly.

The penalties for drug-impaired driving

If a Nebraska court finds you guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, you could face several penalties. These include:

  • First offense: Up to six months of jail time, a $500 fine and a six-month driver’s license revocation.
  • Second offense: Up to six months of jail, a $500 fine and an 18-month license revocation.

If a court convicts you of a third DUI within 15 years, any subsequent conviction automatically becomes a felony offense with more severe penalties, such as up to three years of jail, $1,000 in fines and a 15-year license revocation.

Nebraska is as strict on drivers impaired by drugs as it is on driver drunk on alcohol. The penalties can be extremely severe and will leave a person with a criminal record that will follow them wherever they try to apply for a job or loan. If you face charges, a legal professional may be able to fight for your case. An attorney may also provide you with guidance if you feel lost or intimidated by the court process.