Booze isn’t the Only Thing That’ll Land you on the Judge’s Naughty List this Holiday Season
There are a lot of urban legends, tall tales and misinformation going around about DUI laws in Nebraska; it’s a timely issue during the holidays. While it’s never a good idea to drink or take drugs and drive, it can be helpful to have an understanding of what the law really says on the topic.
In this two part series, Hightower Reff Partner Attorney and criminal law guru Susan Reff debunks some popular DUI myths. This installment focuses on something other than alcohol that has a lot of people buzzing this holiday season. “Drunk” driving isn’t the only thing that’s on the naughty list. Many people will be pulled over during the next few weeks after drinking at a holiday party. But drinking isn’t the only thing that may leave you in a jail cell feeling less than festive. Drugged driving can also land you in trouble with the law – or worse. Nebraska law prohibits not only driving under the influence of alcohol, but also under the influence of any drug – “drugged driving.” Some people think that police can’t tell if you are on drugs. If you get pulled over high, you’ll quickly learn otherwise.
A prescription isn’t a free pass.
Illegal street drugs or a legitimate prescription from your doc can both land you a DUI if they impair “to any appreciable degree” your ability to operate a motor vehicle “in a prudent and cautious manner.” So that prescription is far from a get out of jail free card.
The breathalyzer isn’t the only trick in a police officer’s bag.
The police usually start with breathalyzer if they suspect you are under the influence of something that is impairing your ability to drive. If that is negative, or if they suspect you are under the influence of something other than alcohol, they will start a testing process that is recognized by the courts, using one of Nebraska’s specially trained drug recognition expert (DRE) law enforcement officers. If the officer who pulls you over isn’t a DRE, he or she can call one to the scene.
The DRE drill.
The nationally recognized DRE process identifies seven categories of drugs. Drug Recognition Experts are specially trained to recognize the physical signs and behaviors that indicate someone is under the influence of any of these seven categories of drugs – and even what kind of drug they are likely on. The specially trained DRE officer will take you through a step by step procedure to find out what drugs you might have used. The system involves the officer making thee determinations:
- That you are impaired and that the impairment is not consistent with alcohol intoxication;
- Whether there are medical causes that could account for your signs and symptoms;
- What type of drug is responsible for your impairment
The DRE will use a breathalyzer along with an interview and physical exam to form his or her opinion. The final step is to use toxicology to determine the presence of drugs in your system.
Don’t Go It Alone
Hightower Reff knows DUI law. If you or a friend needs help, call us. A DUI can be devastating and you shouldn’t go it alone.
Call the office at 402-932-9550, or contact us online and make an appointment to come visit with us about your case during an initial consultation. Don’t go it alone. This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.