The Most Asked Question
I’ve been practicing criminal defense for nearly 15 years, consulted with thousands of people charged with criminal offenses and personally represented thousands charged with DUI. Most often, each person is worried about losing their driver’s license.
Will I Lose My Driver’s License
There are two separate proceedings that result from one dui arrest. Each is filed by different government offices and they have different procedures, standards and penalties. One is the civil side; the other is the criminal side. Each separate case involves the possible license suspension.
The Civil Side: The Administrative License Revocation (also called the ALR) is initiated by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Since driving is a privilege and not a right, the DMV can take your privilege easier than say taking away your freedom. In fact, the DMV will automatically take your license for six months or a year unless you contest it! Then they shift the burden to you to show that you were not driving or not drinking.
However, we do not contest the ALR revocation in every case. You can drive during the suspension period after installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. In 2012, Nebraska law changed taking away the right to use the ignition interlock if you file a petition and lose.
The Criminal Side: The second case is through the country criminal court. The court, as part of any sentence, must take your license as follows:
First Offense – 60 days with probation, or 6 months if you are sentenced to jail.
Second Offense – 1 year with probation and the same if you are sentenced to jail.
Third Offense – 2 to 15 years with probation and 15 years if you are sentenced to jail.
Fourth Offense – 15 years if you are sentenced to probation or jail.
However, you may be able to drive for all purposes if you have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. This is a portable breath-testing device that tests you for alcohol consumption each time you start your car and periodically while driving. Its cumbersome and intrusive, but it does allow you to drive.
So how do the two fit together? If you win the ALR, your license is mailed back to you. When you go to court, you’ll have a suspension, but may be able to drive with the ignition interlock. If you lose your license to the ALR, the court-imposed suspension is credited with the time you were suspended under the ALR. They run at the same time.