DUI Attorney Delaware

Delaware DUI Overview

What is DUI?

When someone drives, operates, or is in physical control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs (whether prescription or illegal) they are Driving Under the Influence. .05% BAC is required for a conviction though police may arrest a driver at .08%. It’s important to understand implied consent. This law states that driving in Delaware voluntarily grants consent to sobriety tests such as a breathalyzer. Refusing a chemical test will cause your license to be revoked for 12, 18, or 24 months depending on if this is your first, second, or third offense.

Consequences of a DUI in Delaware

All the below information is on top of your trial, so you definitely need a good lawyer to defend yourself from these charges. DUI penalties increase with each offense.

  • First DUI Offense: 0-6 months prison, $500-$1,500 fine, license suspended 12-24 months.
  • Second DUI Offense: 2-18 months prison, $750-$2,500 fine, license suspended 24-30 months.
  • Third DUI Offense: 1-2 years prison, $1,500-$5,000 fine, license suspended 24-36 months.
  • Fourth DUI Offense: 2-5 years prison, $3,000-$7,000 fine, license suspended 60 months.
  • Fifth DUI Offense: 3-5 years prison, $3,500-$10,000 fine, license suspended 60 months, class E felony.
  • Sixth DUI Offense: 5-8 years prison, $5,000-$10,000 fine, license suspended 60 months, class D felony.
  • Seventh DUI Offense: 10-15 years prison, $10,000-$15,000 fine, license suspended 60 months, class C felony.

What should I expect if I am charged with DUI in Delaware?

Unless your license is already suspended, the arresting officer will take your Delaware driver’s license and provide you with a temporary 15-day license. You need to request a hearing with the DMV within 15 days of your arrest or you will lose driving privileges for at least three months. This hearing will determine:

  • The Evidence: can the state prove you were in control of the vehicle and can the state prove you were under the influence at the time?
  • Probable Cause: did the arresting police officer have a valid reason to pull you over?
  • Refusal of Sobriety Test: did you refuse to take a chemical test such as a breathalyzer?

If you do not request this hearing or if the hearing does not go in your favor, you will lose your driving privileges for 3, 12, or 18 months depending on if this is your third, second, or third offense. This is in addition to any penalties for refusing the sobriety test and for the DUI itself.

All DUI sentences will remain on your driving records for five years.

State Evaluation of DUI Offenders

No matter where you live in Delaware, everyone from Wilmington to Bethany Beach who are arrested for DUI in Delaware needs to schedule an evaluation with the Delaware Evaluation and Referral Program (DERP). This one hour evaluation includes written and verbal sections along with a one-on-one interview with a certified counselor. The evaluation is used to assess individual needs and may provide the basis for referral into one of the following programs:

  • Education Program: Personal responsibility, taking ownership of the situation you are in, and learning what it will take to turn things around for you.
  • Mental Health Program: For those coping with mental and emotional disturbances that could lead to future DUIs.
  • Outpatient Treatment (Adult): 25 hours of counseling over three months designed to stop the advancement of an individual’s substance abuse problem.
  • Outpatient Treatment (Minor): Family members will be encouraged to take place in this treatment.

First Offense Election

In exchange for reduced penalties, a DUI offender can apply to enroll in this program. Your application is an admission of guilt, waives your right to a speedy trial, and you agree to waive administrative hearings with the DMV. You must meet these qualifications to apply:

  • The offense is your first DUI.
  • The offense must not have injured another person.
  • You were not transporting anyone under 18 years of age at the time of the offense.
  • Your BAC was .14% or lower.
  • You do not have more than two moving violations in the past two years.
  • Your license was valid at the time of the offense.

Ignition Interlock Device

The IID prevents a vehicle from starting unless the driver blows into it and is verified under the BAC threshold. Participation in this program is mandatory for DUI offenders as of February 2015. The IID must be installed in vehicles registered to you and vehicles that you have access to. The IID program does not start until after your license has been reinstated.

Other DUI Considerations

Delaware Residents Accused of DUI Out of State

The offender will go through the Delaware Evaluation and Referral Program’s process normally. Once it’s done, the program will forward the information to the arresting state. Your Delaware license can and will be revoked for DUIs committed in other states.

Out of State Residents Accused of DUI in Delaware

The offender will contact the Delaware Evaluation and Referral Program to set up an evaluation in the offender’s home state. That program must also satisfy Delaware’s requirements.

Minors: Zero Tolerance

One drink makes it illegal for minors to drive in Delaware. Minors with a valid license will have it revoked longer than adults would. Minors without a license pay additional fines.

Call MurrayPhillips P.A.

MurrayPhillips P.A. serves everyone in Delaware and those arrested in Delaware. We can help with you Wilmington, Delaware DUI Defense and your Seaford, Delaware traffic offense. Call for your free consultation on your case at 302-855-9300. 

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