In 2021, Nebraska followed an emerging nationwide trend to rehabilitate rather than punish DUI offenders by expanding its "24/7 Sobriety Program" statewide. Administered at the county level, the program allows qualifying offenders who promise to completely abstain from drugs and alcohol to stay out of jail. Through the 24/7 program, Nebraska aims to:
Advocates claim that 24/7 programs also reduce domestic violence.
Offenders offered the chance to participate in the 24/7 program sign an agreement to stay sober for the duration. In the spirit of "trust—but verify," alcohol/drug testing is the main feature of the program. When allowing an offender to participate, courts structure the testing options based on whether the offense involved alcohol, drugs, or both:
Whatever form of testing the court orders, the participant will be responsible for paying the costs. Everyone pays an enrollment fee, and the costs of testing vary depending on the type of test.
After 30 consecutive days of successful testing, participants can apply for a special 24/7 Sobriety driving permit. However, a subsequent DUI or DUI test refusal while driving with the permit are counted as Class IV felonies.
Participants in the 24/7 program who test positive for drugs or alcohol, don't pay program costs or fees, or break other rules face arrest and penalties. The consequences for violations are:
Participants who miss a test or fail to report will have their bond revoked and will be placed in jail until appearing before a judge.
Although the program varies by county, 24/7 programs are generally for offenders with prior DUI convictions. For those who've been arrested for a DUI offense but not yet convicted, a judge can order 24/7 participation as a condition for pretrial release from jail.
If you've been arrested for a DUI and have questions about the 24/7 Sobriety Program, talk to a Nebraska DUI attorney. A local DUI lawyer should be able to fill you in on the details of the program and let you know if 24/7 is available in your area.