What’s The Difference Between A DUI and DWI in Omaha, Nebraska

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In Omaha, Nebraska, if you’re found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, you’re considered impaired and cannot legally operate a motor vehicle. If you’re under 21 years of age, you can’t have any concentration of alcohol in your system while operating a motor vehicle.

There are several phrases commonly used to describe the criminal act of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These phrases have been shortened to the following acronyms:

  • DUI – driving under the influence
  • DWI – driving while impaired/intoxicated
  • OMWI or OMVWI – operating a motor vehicle while impaired/intoxicated


DUI and DWI are the most commonly used acronyms, and are interchangeable in most states including Nebraska. While people use variations of these acronyms, the Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197.03 refers to the offense as, “Driving under the influence of alcoholic liquor or drugs.” Therefore, the only legal term is DUI.

Being cited or arrested for a DUI or DWI

If you’re suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) in Omaha, there are two laws you can be cited or arrested under: the Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197 and the Omaha Municipal Code, Section 36-115.

The Nebraska Revised statute applies to the entire state of Nebraska. The state law covers cities like (city, city, city) that lack city ordinances for driving under the influence. Section 6,196 of this statute describes the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Section 6,196 begins:

  • It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or be in the actual physical control of any motor vehicle:


  • While under the influence of alcoholic liquor or of any drug;
  • When such a person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram of more by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of his or her blood; or
  • When such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of his or her breath.


  • Any person who operates or is in the actual physical control of any motor vehicle while in a condition described in subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of a crime and upon conviction punished as provided in sections 60-6,197.02 to 60-6,197.08.

The Omaha Municipal Code applies only when you’ve been pulled over within Omaha city limits.

If you don’t understand the law you were arrested under in Omaha, contact your DUI lawyer and ask for a detailed explanation. Your attorney will be able to explain it to you and answer any questions you may have to clarify the details of your situation.

Being arrested under either law produces the same penalties

There isn’t much of a difference between being cited or arrested under either law; the penalties are the same, and if you happen to be charged with a felony DUI, Nebraska’s state statute will apply regardless of where you were arrested.

While there isn’t a difference between a DUI or DWI, there are differences between driving under the influence of drugs and driving under the influence of alcohol.

In both cases, when pulled over, you’ll be asked to exit your vehicle to perform a series of field sobriety tests. The officer is looking for impaired coordination, memory, and to see how well you follow directions. Failing these tests will result in your arrest.

Once you complete the field sobriety tests, you’ll be asked to take a chemical test. This is where drunk driving and drugged driving differ.

Driving under the influence of drugs

While blood alcohol content (BAC) can be detected through a breathalyzer, drugs can’t. When a police officer suspects a driver to be under the influence of drugs, they will require a blood test immediately. If you don’t submit to a blood test, you might get the option of submitting to a urine test instead. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test entirely, you will be immediately arrested.

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Unlike being pulled over for driving under the influence of drugs, driving under the influence of alcohol won’t automatically require a blood test (unless you can’t take a breathalyzer test). Blood alcohol content can be detected in your breath, so the breathalyzer is generally the first chemical test an officer will require you to take when you’re suspected of a DUI in Omaha.

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, or if you can’t perform the test due to medical reasons, you will be asked to take a blood or urine test. If you refuse all of these tests, you’ll be immediately arrested.

Call it what you want – it’s still a crime

Whether you call it a DUI, DWI, or any variation thereof – driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime. One acronym isn’t better than the other. They’re just different acronyms that describe the crime of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol under the Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,197.03.

When you decide to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after drinking or getting high, you’re putting your life and everyone else’s lives at risk. One isn’t safer than the other. Both drugs and alcohol impair judgment and motor coordination – two things that make it unsafe to drive.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts others at serious risk

Until you see the statistics, you may not realize the irreparable damage drunk drivers cause. In the U.S., drunk drivers hit the road more than 300,000 times every day; only 3,200 get arrested. Teenage drunk driving kills 4,300 people per year. About one-third of all drivers arrested for a DUI are repeat offenders. The most shocking statistic is that in 2017, a total of 1,147 kids aged 14 and younger were killed in car crashes involving a drunk driver.

In Omaha, between 2003-2012, 682 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. According to the CDC, 3.4% of people in Nebraska report driving after drinking too much alcohol.

Be prepared to seek help after your case is resolved

When facing a DUI charge in Omaha, you will probably have the opportunity to engage in some kind of recovery program. It’s in your best interest to pursue this program even if it’s not the kind of program you want to participate in. In many cases, you won’t have a choice, and a recovery program will be mandatory.

What happens when your case is resolved is up to you. After you complete a state mandated recovery program, you might want to consider checking into a rehab facility to get 24/7 support. Many modern rehab locations offer wonderful services beyond recovery. For example, many have on-site chefs who prepare fresh, organic meals. Some offer yoga classes, access to a small gym, and other activities to keep you healthy and engaged.

Facing a DUI charge? Take your situation seriously

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Omaha, you’re facing serious criminal charges. Take your situation seriously. A DUI isn’t a charge you can wiggle your way out of, but a good lawyer will know how to get you the lightest sentence possible.

If you haven’t contacted a DUI lawyer already, do so as soon as possible. The court system is far too complex to navigate alone. You need an experienced advocate who knows the system inside and out.