Getting pulled over for impaired driving in Nebraska can be a terrifying experience. People often wonder about their rights during such an interaction, especially since field sobriety tests can often be somewhat subjective. After all, anything from anxiety to pre-existing medical conditions could make someone appear impaired when they are not actually.
It is totally normal for someone in that situation who wants to avoid doing anything to further incriminate themselves. That could extend to refusing chemical testing requested by an officer during a stop. Before you attempt to assert your rights by refusing chemical testing during an impaired driving traffic stop in Nebraska, you should familiarize yourself with the laws and legal precedent related to doing so.
There are penalties for refusing to take a chemical test
If there is probable cause for law enforcement to request a chemical test from you, such as a failed field sobriety test or questionable driving practices, you have theoretically already consented to the test.
Nebraska has an implied consent law that states that all drivers provide consent to chemical testing by law enforcement during traffic stops. Simply driving on the public roadways in Nebraska is considered an act of implied consent to chemical testing.
If you refuse, there are penalties for refusing the test that go beyond the potential impaired driving charges. There will be an immediate suspension of your license related to refusing the chemical test. You will also likely still find yourself arrested for impaired driving charges, and the officer could actually testify against you during later proceedings because you refused the chemical test.
Law enforcement may draw blood without permission or a warrant
Chemical blood testing is often a complex area of law at both the state and federal levels. Many people view this kind of testing as inherently invasive. In some ways, legal precedent supports that belief. The United States Supreme Court has previously found that law enforcement cannot compel someone accused of a crime to submit to a blood draw without a warrant.
However, the Nebraska state Supreme Court has found the opposite, that law enforcement have the right to draw blood without a warrant. In other words, depending on the officer and the situation, you could refuse a chemical test and still find yourself subject to a blood draw, even without a warrant.
This is a very complex legal issue, and it is not one that you should attempt to navigate on your own. If you have refused chemical testing or found yourself compelled to provide a blood sample against your will and without a warrant, you definitely need to further educate yourself about your rights and your options as you move through the legal system.