Beginning January 1, Nebraska will have a new drunk driving law that forces offenders to choose an administrative license revocation hearing or apply for an ignition interlock permit. Through the passage of LB 667, we have found a way to ensure public safety with effective monitoring of individuals convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), by allowing them to install an ignition lock device in their vehicles. The ignition interlock device prevents an offender from driving while intoxicated. Although LB 667 is a stricter law, it will allow offenders to drive to work, school and other specific locations in a sober manner that is safe to themselves and to other Nebraskans on the road.
Choosing an ignition interlock device is the difference between keeping the ability to drive to specified locations and losing the privilege to drive until the court sentencing date. Ignition interlocks save lives and prevent alcohol-impaired driving, resulting in increased public safety for all motorists, including the driver.
If an individual chooses installation of the ignition interlock device, instead of an administrative hearing, first-time offenders will be required to use an interlock device for six months. For second and subsequent DUI offenses, there will be a 45-day suspension of driving privileges and the offender will be required to use an ignition interlock for one year.
The goal of this new program is straight forward -- No Interlock, No Keys. It's that simple.
Offenders who choose interlock will have four steps to complete. First, they must verify their eligibility for an interlock system to DMV. Once their eligibility has been established, they must have an ignition interlock device installed by an approved provider on each car they plan to drive. Third, they must submit an Ignition Interlock Permit Application to the DMV. Fourth, the permit is issued.
A first time offender can accomplish these steps within the 15-day temporary driving permit period that starts the day of the DUI arrest. The permit provides for limited driving privileges, specifically, to and from work and school, substance abuse treatment program, probation or parole appointments, continued health care appointments, or the continued health care of someone dependent upon them and court-ordered community service responsibilities.
Offenders who choose to pursue an administrative license revocation hearing will have to petition for the hearing within 10 days of the arrest and will have the burden to prove to the DMV hearing officer that he or she was not the driver of the vehicle or that he or she was not over the legal blood alcohol limit of .08.
An offender that does not meet the burden of proof at the administrative hearing will not be granted an Ignition Interlock permit. The offender may be granted access to Ignition Interlock by the court, but that would take place at sentencing in the criminal DUI trial, which could take up to six months.
Highway safety is a partnership. It is vital that drivers and passengers commit to staying safe, sober, focused and buckle every time they are in a vehicle. This law is an important part of our continued efforts to make Nebraska roads safer and I encourage every Nebraskan to do whatever it takes to help ensure the safety of their families and fellow travelers during this holiday season and all year long.