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The mission of the Panhandle Prevention Coalition is to reduce underage drinking, binge drinking and drinking and driving in the Panhandle. Among the most important and effective ways we work toward our mission is seeking policy change at the local and state levels to reduce youth access to alcohol. We then work hard to educate and generate awareness about the dangers of substance abuse and consequences of underage drinking and buying/providing alcohol to minors.

We are fortunate in Nebraska to have several lawmakers who prioritize the issue of underage drinking and work with communities across the state to eliminate it. While there is still much work to be done, we will not give up until underage drinking is eliminated in the Panhandle and is no longer considered a social norm.

Here are just a few of the current Nebraska laws associated with alcohol.

Nebraska legislative bill 675 (effective Jan. 1, 2012), was approved by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor on May 26, 2011. Introduced by Senator Pete Pirsch of Omaha, the bill increases most fines for those placed on probation for drunken-driving convictions and increases penalties for hit-and-run drivers involved in accidents that cause a death or serious injury. The bill makes it:
  • Illegal for an individual convicted of a felony driving under the influence violation to drive with as little as two hundredths of one gram by weight of alcohol per 100 ml of his or her blood or two hundredths of one gram of weight of alcohol per 210 ml of his or her breath. The legal limit for any individual who has not been convicted of a felony driving under the influence charge remains 08 percent of one gram by weight of alcohol per 100 ml of his/her blood or eight hundredths of one gram by weight of alcohol per 210L of his/her breath.
  • Sets a two-year minimum prison sentence for people convicted of driving under the influence for the fifth time.

Nebraska legislative bill 667 (effective Jan. 1, 2012), was approved by the Nebraska State Legislature (46-1) and signed into law by the Governor on May 26, 2011. Introduced by Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk, the intent of the bill was to reduce injuries and deaths related to drinking and driving. The bill includes the following summary provisions:
  • Drivers convicted of a DUI will be required to apply for ignition interlock permits and have the interlocks installed on any car they drive. Ignition interlocks measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath and prevent vehicles from being started by people who have been drinking. Installation of the device ranges from $25-$50 and includes a monthly maintenance fee of approximately $60.The permit to operate is an additional $45.
  • Administrative license revocation period is extended from 90 days to 180 days for first ALR with chemical test but allows defendants to drive 15 days after arrest if he or she waives his or her right to an ALR hearing and then files an application for an ignition interlock system.
  • Creates the new crime of driving under the influence of any drug or alcohol or refusing a chemical test when a child under the age of 16 is a passenger in the car.
  • It is a felony to knowingly and intentionally provide alcohol to a minor whose consumption or impaired condition causes serious bodily injury or death to anyone.
  • The bill also increases penalties for drinking while boating and extends the law to personal watercraft.
  • Makes motor vehicle homicide, including of an unborn child, a separate and distinct offense.
Nebraska revised statute section 53-180 (effective Jan. 1, 2012). Makes providing alcohol to persons under age 21 a violation chargeable as a Class I misdemeanor, which could result in a $1,000 fine or up to one year in jail, or both.

Nebraska revised statute section 53-180.02 States that no one under the age of 21 may sell, dispense, possess, consume or have possession or physical control of alcohol, unless as part of a bona fide religious rite, ritual or ceremony or in his/her permanent place of residence.

Nebraska state laws allow judges the following penalty options for minors 18 years old or younger convicted of the charge, Minor in Possession or Consumption (MIPC):

First offense
  • 30-day impoundment of driver’s license or permit.
  • Attendance at an alcohol education class.

Second offense
  • 90-day impoundment of driver’s license or permit.
  • Attendance at an alcohol education class.
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service

Third and subsequent offenses
  • One year impoundment of driver’s license or permit.
  • Attendance at an alcohol education class.
  • At least 60 hours of community service
  • Alcohol assessment by a licensed drug and alcohol counselor

If the person does not have a permit or license, the court can prohibit such persons from obtaining one for the same amount of time.
Bill summaries

Is supported in whole or part, by federal or state funds received from Region 1 Behavioral Health Authority, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health and Tobacco Free Nebraska Program as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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