What are Traffic Violations and Infractions in Nebraska?
Traffic violations and infractions in Nebraska constitute an infringement of state traffic laws that all road users must adhere to. These offenses jeopardize highway safety by defying the laws enacted and enforced to create a safe environment for motorists and pedestrians alike. Traffic violations in the state vary from minor infractions such as speeding or running a redlight to serious criminal violations that may result in property damage or even fatality. Penalties of these offenses also range from small fines and point assessments to drivers’ license suspension/revocation and possible incarceration. Under the Nebraska Court system, traffic infraction cases are handled in the County courts while the more severe offenses are addressed in the District court.
What are Felony Traffic Violations in Nebraska?
Felony traffic offenses are the most grievous breaches of the Nebraska traffic laws. According to Nebraska Three Strike Law, they are criminal offenses punishable by at least one year in prison and the possibility of life imprisonment. The most common felony violations in the state are traffic offenses involving alcohol or drugs, repeat misdemeanor crimes, and violations where the offender has caused severe bodily injuries or death. When an individual is convicted of these offenses, the harshest and most severe consequences may be invoked. Most penalties include long jail or prison terms, expensive fines, probation, etc. Convicted felons may even lose the right to vote or to practice certain professions, such as teaching and law. Nebraska law classifies felonies, from Class I to Class IV, with each class having subcategories and maximum sentences. The court penalizes felony traffic offenders using the classifications as a guide, as well as considering the circumstances surrounding the case and the individual’s criminal history.
Felony traffic-related convictions in Nebraska always result in a license suspension or revocation, and occasionally, lifetime revocation. Other implications of a traffic felony conviction in Nebraska include the addition of points to the driver’s history, impounding the vehicle used when the crime was committed, and typically, a permanent mark on the individual’s criminal record state does not allow expungement of felony conviction records.
Examples of Felony Traffic Violations in Nebraska?
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Fleeing law enforcement
- Aggravated offenses, such as racing or reckless driving that resulted in injury or property damage
- Particular DUI offenses, involving repeat offenders (three or more subsequent offenses) or cases of accidents as a result of DUI
- Vehicular homicide or manslaughter
- Repeatedly driving without a license.
What are traffic misdemeanors in nebraska?
Traffic Misdemeanors are traffic violations that are less dangerous or grave in comparison with felony traffic violations. They are generally punishable by a fine or incarceration in the county jail for less than one year. Incarceration sentences for misdemeanor convictions are less severe than sentences for felony convictions. As a general rule, other potential consequences of misdemeanor convictions are also generally less harsh. Traffic misdemeanors are considered to be crimes and are addressed in a Nebraska criminal court. Although the defendants have the constitutional right to attorneys, most traffic misdemeanor cases in Nebraska are resolved through plea bargaining. When the defendant is found guilty, the judge decides the appropriate penalty within the law range as provided in the state statutes. The law classifies misdemeanors into seven categories and each class with its maximum fine and sentence. In cases where the defendant agrees to admit guilt pursuant to a plea agreement, the court sentences the defendant according to the terms of the agreement.
In addition to substantial fines and the possibility of jail time, traffic misdemeanors in Nebraska also have license-related penalties, such as loss of driving privileges and demerit points. Individuals convicted of felonies in Nebraska lose certain civil rights and privileges. However, they may retain many rights, such as professional and voting privileges. Most traffic misdemeanors in the state are offense related to driving under the influence(DUIs). Nebraska DUI laws state that it’s illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs as it impairs the person’s ability to drive safely.
In most states, repeat DUI offenses are treated as felonies; in Nebraska, the first, second, and third DUI offenses are classified as Class W traffic Misdemeanors. The penalties for this category of misdemeanor varies based on the number of offenses, but the maximum sentence ranges from 60 days to one year in jail and a $500 to $1,000 fine. The Criminal statute of limitations for misdemeanors punishable by jail time is eighteen months. For Class IV and V misdemeanors that are non-jailable offenses, the time limit is one year. Cases brought to court after the time limit has expired will be dismissed.
Examples of traffic misdemeanors in nebraska
- Driving without insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
- Refusing to stop at the scene of an accident,
- Driving without a valid driver’s license,
- Reckless driving
- Repeat DUI offenses (first, second and third offense)
What Constitutes a Traffic Infraction in Nebraska?
The majority of Nebraska driving offenses are traffic infractions, which are generally less severe offenses than felony traffic violations and traffic misdemeanors. They are non-criminal acts punishable by fines and demerit points but no possibility of jail time. These petty infractions allow the convenience of paying traffic fines electronically or via mail without the necessity of appearing in court. A court appearance may be necessary if the individual chooses to contest the ticket or plead for lower traffic fines. Typically, only cases involving traffic infractions are dealt with in a traffic court. In contrast, some traffic misdemeanors and felony violations may be addressed in the criminal court because they are criminal offenses. Demerit points assessed to traffic infractions stay on your driver’s record, and accumulation of these points over time may lead to driver’s license suspension or revocation. Some examples of these misdemeanors include:
- Distracted driving such as texting
- Running stop signs and red light
- Refusing to stop
- Failing to acknowledge or use signs
- Operating a vehicle with faulty parts such as driving with a tail light or headlight that does not work
- Seat belt violations.
- Driving too close to another vehicle
- Driving too slowly on the highway
- Improper turn
- Improper passing
- Making an illegal U-turn
How Does a Traffic Ticket Work in Nebraska?
Motorists in Nebraska are issued traffic tickets or notices when they disobey state traffic laws. These tickets commonly result in fines and points being assessed to the motorist’s driving record, depending on the specific traffic violation or infraction that was committed. If the driver accumulates too many points, the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can suspend or revoke the driver’s license or make the individual complete a driver improvement course.
A convenient option for resolving a traffic ticket is by paying the stipulated fine. However, this option is legally construed as an admission of guilt to the ticket’s offense. As a result, the driver will be burdened with the legal consequences that come with committing the violation or infraction.
The driver may also negotiate a plea bargain to a lesser charge advisedly with an attorney’s help. Most traffic offenders in Nebraska go with this option of resolving traffic tickets to reduce traffic fines. An experienced attorney may negotiate a lesser violation or infraction with smaller fines and lesser points assignment.
Finally, the driver may plead ” not guilty ” and prepare for trial because of ticketed drivers in the state reserve the right to contest the charge or ticket in court. If the individual can execute a successful defense against the ticketed charge and is found not guilty, the fines will be nullified with no points assigned to the driver’s record. If the driver is found guilty, there is a higher risk of accruing additional fines and court costs and point assessment.
Are Driving Records Public In Nebraska?
Access to personal information available on Nebraska driving records managed by the Department of Motor Vehicles is governed by the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and by the Nebraska Uniform Motor Vehicle Records Disclosure Act.
These laws mandate that all driving records are protected and unavailable to the members of the public. The department may only grant access to the driver, vehicle, and personal information under the statutes’ conditions.
Personal information such as name, address, driver’s license number, vehicle certificate of Title Number, and vehicle license plate number cannot be released without the record holder’s written consent. The department may only release sensitive personal information such as photographs and Social Security numbers, to Federal, State, or Local Law Enforcement Agencies, the United States Selective Service System, and Nebraska Department of Revenue. Other entities or individuals must provide the record holder’s written approval or consent to access these records.
For all other driving record requests by entities or individuals not stated above, the DMV may only grant access if the reason for requesting the information is one of the exempted uses allowed by the act. The requester must also provide the appropriate application and proof of identification.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How To Find Driving Records In Nebraska
Driving records in Nebraska are official repositories of an individual’s driving offenses. They carry personal identifying information such as name, contact information, hair, and eye color, etc. They also have driver’s details such as license number, license status, traffic tickets, history of accidents, traffic convictions, and points against the record holder’s driver’s license.
The Nebraska DMV manages three different types of driving records, including:
- 5-year record,
- The complete record, and
- A clearance letter.
The 5-year record provides the record holder’s driving history over the last five years, and the complete driving record provides a glimpse of the individual’s entire driving history in the state. A clearance letter grant’s former residents of the state access their driving records when applying for a different state license.
The quickest way to access driving records in Nebraska is via the department’s online service, where the record may be viewed and purchased immediately at $3.00 per record. The individual must provide a full name, driver’s license number, date of birth, and a valid email address. After purchasing the record, the requester will receive it via mail.
Driving records may also be obtained in person or via mail. The inquirer must complete and submit the Application for Copy of Driving Record along with a $3 fee for each record requested to;
Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver and Vehicle Records Division
301 Centennial Mall South
PO Box 94789
Lincoln, NE 68509–4789
Individuals or businesses requesting multiple records must provide specific reasons for the request according to the exempted uses stated in the act. They must also submit paper requests along with all required information stated in the form and a $3 fee for each record requested.
Proper identification of record holders and inquirers is required to process these requests; hence, inquirers must provide the following;
- Name of the record holder(s), date of birth, and Nebraska Driver’s License Number.
- Full name of the requester (individual or business)
- Requester’s complete address and signature.
- The signature of the person requesting the record:
If the request is sent via mail, the inquirer’s signature must be notarized at the bottom of the application.
The only way to access to other individuals’ driving records is with a signed, notarized consent form provided by the owner of the record. Hence, the record requests application for other individuals must have the record holder’s name, address, and signature. The record holder must also complete the section authorizing the individual to obtain the record.
Lastly, individuals may request clearance letters from the state of Nebraska by submitting a written request with the following details;
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Out-of-state mailing address
- Check/money order ($3)
- A self-addressed stamped envelope. The envelope must be marked “ATTN: Clearance Desk.”
Can Traffic Violations and Infractions Be Expunged or Sealed in Nebraska?
Expunging records of traffic violations and infractions in Nebraska essentially means making them unavailable for public inspection or duplication. The state judiciary only allows expungements of traffic violation arrests that did not result in conviction or incarceration. As a result, records of traffic violation convictions can only be “set-aside” and not expunged according to Nebraska laws.
The set-aside order is a discretionary decision of the judge that “nullifies” an individual’s conviction and restores lost civil rights that were forfeited on conviction for a felony.
The judge only grants the order on the premise of good conduct and also when it is consistent with public welfare or in the individual’s best interest.
Nebraska allows individuals to file a Motion to ‘set-aside’ records of misdemeanors and felony traffic convictions, including DUIs. The motion is filed with the sentencing court that then schedules a hearing to determine if the order will be granted. The following evidence that shows the individual’s current lawful behavior will be required;
- Past criminal records, especially records of offenses that occurred after the conviction sought to be set aside.
- Letters of recommendation affirming good conduct and character since the conviction.
- Details of employment or jobs since the conviction
- Community service and volunteering
The court considers the individual’s behavior after the conviction and the likelihood that the offender may commit other offenses. It is advisable to note that eligibility for the process does not guarantee approval.
Individuals require the following to complete a set-aside process:
- Detailed copies of criminal history that may be acquired on request from the court, the Nebraska State Patrol, or online.
- A filed petition using the forms provided in the self-help section of the Nebraska Judicial branch web site , or a written one.
- A copy of the petition that will be served to the prosecutor
- Court hearing
- A Court order to be signed by the judge if the order is granted.
The petition has to contain relevant details such as the date of the offense or conviction, the actual traffic violation offense or charge, the outcome of the charge, and the sentence (fine, probation, or jail).
Expungements are only available in Nebraska if the arrest was an error by law enforcement, or if the arrest did not lead to a conviction. According to Section 29 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes, any individual arrested due to the error of a law enforcement agency may file a petition for expungement with the district court in the county where they were arrested. The court will grant the petition if the petitioner provides legitimate and convincing evidence that the arrest was a mistake.
If the arrest did not result in a conviction, the records might be automatically sealed by the court. However, if that’s not the case, the individual seeking expungement may petition the court after the waiting period has elapsed. Different waiting periods apply to different situations. For example;
- The individual has to wait one year if an arrest did not result in prosecution,
- Two years if a pre-trial diversion program was finished successfully, and
- Three years if the charge was eventually dismissed.