Delaware Attorney Update I am Delaware attorney Ronald D. Phillips Jr. On January 1, 2015, I returned to the full time practice of law concentrating once again on criminal defense and family law. For those that don’t know, five years ago I was asked to help develop a private school as their Dean of Students and ultimately became the Executive Director. After fifteen years doing DUI’s, divorces and a variety of other legal matters, I felt it was a good time to take a break from being an attorney. In addition, I would be able to work in the school […]
Transfers and Appeals from Alderman Court to Court of Common Pleas A dollar makes a big difference in the Alderman Court depending on whether one wants to transfer a criminal case to the Court of Common Pleas before trial or appeal a conviction after trial. The difference of one dollar has been a source of confusion for lawyers, defendants and even the Alderman Court themselves. The confusion comes when a defendant charged with a town offense in Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach or Bethany Beach wants to transfer a case from the Alderman Court to the Sussex County Court of Common […]
Delaware DUI First Offenders Program (FOP) Effective February 1, the Delaware DUI First Offenders Program (FOP) has changed. The essential change is that the Delaware DUI First Offenders Program now makes the installation of an ignition interlock device mandatory for all first offenders. Although the ignition interlock or Delaware FOE- IID program has been available for several years, this change effectively eliminates the former DUI First Offenders Program. Delaware DUI Laws Regarding the FOE-IID Previously, a person eligible for the first offenders program could choose between the traditional first offenders program and the FOE-IID program. Under the traditional first offenders […]
Warrantless Searches of Cell Phones In June of 2014, The United States Supreme Court announced that the police may not perform warrantless searches of cell phones without a warrant. Riley v. California; U.S. v. Wurie, 573 U.S ___, 2014. The Court’s holding is a victory for privacy rights and Constitutional traditionalists. Specifically, the Court stated that “the police may not, without a warrant search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested.” Although it certainly seems that there is nothing private anymore, the Supreme Court recognized that there are still privacy interests that should […]
Juvenile Sex Offender Registration in Delaware Juvenile Sex Offender registration is a topic that has been highly debated. In most circles juvenile sex offender registration is a controversial topic which pits the benefits of community and victim protection against the severe consequences juvenile sex offender registration has on the future opportunities of a registered child. 11 Del.C. Section 4123 outlines the juvenile sex offender registration requirements. Unfortunately, even minor sex offenses that may have in previous generations been viewed as childhood curiosity, can result in sex offender registration. In addition, because of Delaware’s mandatory reporting laws, any parent who has […]
The U.S. Supreme Court changes the law on DUI blood tests in Delaware DUI cases. The United States Supreme Court appears to have modified its position on whether a police officer needs to obtain a warrant before subjecting a Defendant to a blood test in DUI cases. Previously, the Supreme Court decided in Schmerber v. California, that it was permissible to obtain a DUI blood test without a warrant. Where an officer believed that he was facing an emergency situation and the delay caused by getting a warrant threatened the destruction of evidence, a police officer was permitted to take […]
January 2, 2015 Lowering the Delaware DUI Limit to .05 The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that Delaware and other states consider lowering the DUI BAC (blood alcohol content) limits from .08 to .05. To put this in perspective, under the current threshold, on average, a female weighing 140 pounds could have two drinks in an hour before reaching the threshold before reaching the Delaware DUI limit. Under the new threshold, she could have only one. Meanwhile, a 180 pound man could have slightly less than four drinks and still be under the current Delaware DUI limit, while […]
For the first time in my 20 years as a lawyer, I spent this Christmas Eve in Family Court. I am a trial lawyer, so I am used to having my personal schedule determined by an unsympathetic Court that needs to process an incredible number of cases in a short period of time. Since I practice both family law and criminal defense, I am also used to the spike that occurs in Court activity around the Christmas holiday. This however, was a first. It seems that with each passing year the number of holiday filings increase and the accusations get […]
A Seaford-area man was arrested Monday on attempted murder and arson charges after he allegedly torched a rental home in Delmar, Md., while the tenants were inside sleeping. Andy Modeste, 42, of the 24000 block of Snug Harbor Drive, was charged by the Maryland State Fire Marshal and Delmar police with four counts of attempted first-degree murder and reckless endangering, said Oliver Alkire, senior deputy fire marshal. Besides arson, other counts included burglary.
Beginning today, state and municipal police officers in Delaware will be cracking down on drivers who talk or text on their handheld cellphones while driving. The “Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other” driving campaign aims to reduce distracted driving, said Alison Kirk, spokeswoman for the state Office of Highway Safety.