This Is My First DWI. What Should I Expect?

Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O.
Driving while intoxicated written on board with law books and gavel in the background

If you're facing a DWI charge for the first time in Nebraska, it's completely normal to feel overwhelmed and scared. The state takes this offense seriously, and it's crucial to understand what you can expect throughout the process—especially if you've never been through it before. 

As a first-time offender, it's important to stay calm and informed about what's ahead. This may include an arrest, automatic revocation of your driver's license, an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, an arraignment, and other legal procedures. Navigating these complexities can be challenging, but hiring an experienced attorney can make all the difference. A skilled attorney can guide you through each stage of your case and protect your rights. 

At Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O., our DWI attorneys represent clients facing drunk driving charges in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the surrounding communities. We understand how difficult this experience can be, and we're here to provide knowledgeable and reliable representation. If you're facing your first DWI charge, don't hesitate to reach out to our firm. 

DWI Charges in Nebraska   

DWI, which stands for "driving while intoxicated," refers to the operation or physical control of a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Nebraska, a person can be charged with DWI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher, or if their ability to safely operate a vehicle is impaired due to drugs or alcohol. 

It's also important to be aware of Nebraska's implied consent law, which requires drivers who are suspected of DWI to submit to chemical testing (such as blood, breath, and urine tests) if law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe they are under the influence. Refusing to submit to testing violates this law and can result in the administrative revocation of your driver's license. For a first-time refusal, the revocation period is one year. 

Understanding these laws is crucial for all drivers in Nebraska to stay safe and avoid legal consequences. 

Navigating Nebraska's DWI Laws: Chemical Testing, Administrative Hearings, and Ignition Interlock Permits  

Chemical Testing 

If you've been arrested for DWI in Nebraska, the arresting officer may order you to submit to chemical testing. It's important to note that you cannot refuse this test under the state's implied consent law. If you refuse or fail the test, the officer will take your license and provide you with a yellow temporary license that's valid for 15 days from the date of your arrest.  

While the arresting officer will provide you with a temporary license that is valid for 15 days, the length of the license revocation period may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. For a first-time offense, the revocation period is generally six months, but it can be longer for subsequent offenses or if there are aggravating circumstances, such as a high BAC or causing an accident. 

Administrative License Revocation Hearings 

If you believe you have been wrongly accused of drunk driving, you can file a petition and challenge the accusations within 10 days from the date you received your temporary license. If you file a petition, you will have to attend an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing to contest the revocation of your license. If you do not request an ALR hearing, your license will remain revoked for a period applicable to your offense. 

Ignition Interlock Permits 

You should also know that you have the option to waive your right to an ALR hearing and instead apply for an Ignition Interlock Permit (IIP). An ignition interlock is a device that connects to your vehicle's ignition system and prevents you from starting the engine if it detects a certain level of alcohol in your breath. 

If you choose to request an ALR hearing, the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles will appoint a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The hearing officer's responsibilities include administering oaths, taking testimony, examining witnesses, ruling on preliminary motions, and making a recommendation to the DMV's director as to whether your license should be revoked or the revocation should be dismissed. The officer who arrested you may also appear at the hearing if you subpoena them. 


Finally, when facing DWI charges, you'll attend an arraignment where you'll have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. During the arraignment, the court will read the charges against you. It's strongly advised to have a skilled attorney on your side to prepare for the arraignment. Your attorney will help you protect your rights and advise you on your plea options.  

Possible Penalties for First-Offense DWI 

Facing a DWI charge in Nebraska can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, especially if it's your first time. It's important to know that there may be both civil and criminal penalties associated with a first-time DWI offense in the state. Criminal penalties can include fines, license revocation, and even jail time. 

But the penalties don't end there. For a first-time DWI offense, there are additional possible consequences that can impact your life significantly. You may be required to undergo an alcohol assessment and treatment, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Your vehicle may also be immobilized, leaving you without reliable transportation. Additionally, you may be mandated to install an alcohol monitoring device, which can be an added expense and inconvenience.

It's crucial to understand the potential consequences of a first-time DWI offense in Nebraska so that you can make informed decisions about your legal options. If you're facing a DWI charge, it's recommended that you seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and work to minimize the impact of these penalties on your life. Remember, you don't have to face this alone. 

Strong & Dependable Legal Representation   

Dealing with a DWI charge for the first time can be an emotionally taxing and challenging experience. That's why it's essential to have a compassionate and experienced attorney on your side who can offer guidance and help you navigate the complex legal system. At Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O., our DWI attorney team understands the difficulties you may be facing and is committed to working closely with you to provide personalized representation. We will explain all of your options, guide you through the legal process, and tirelessly advocate for you to minimize the penalties you may face. 

Get strong and dependable legal representation by contacting our office in Lincoln, Nebraska. We proudly represent residents of the nearby areas, including Saunders County, Saline County, Gage County, Lancaster County, Otoe County, Cass County, and Seward County.