If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Delaware, you need trusted counsel from a Delaware DUI Attorney on your side immediately. A DUI charge can leave a mark on your record and can have unexpected effects on your future. Our Delaware DUI defense lawyers understand what is at stake and want to help ensure you can live the rest of your life worry free.
The criminal defense lawyers at Abram and Hutchison can help you defend your legal rights and driving privileges at every step of the way. Our Delaware DUI lawyers have helped clients just like you clear their names of everything from traffic citations to serious felony charges. Whatever DUI charge you face, we are ready to help you.
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First Time DUI Offense in Delaware
If this is your first DUI offense, you need to know what you're facing in order to make educated decisions about your defense. While there is no mandatory prison time for a first DUI offense in Delaware, at the discretion of the judge, you could face up to 12 months of jail time. If convicted of DUI, your license WILL be suspended for at least 3 months! That amount of time will increase depending on the level of BAC at the time of your arrest.
- BAC less than .15 results in max 12 month license suspension
- BAC between .15 and .19 results in max 18 month license suspension
- BAC greater than .20, or refusing to submit to a chemical test results in max 24 month suspension
- In addition, you could be fined between $500 and $1500.
DUI Penalties in Delaware
Don't take a chance of being convicted of DUI. There is no such thing as a “minor” DUI charge. Whether this is your first run-in with the law or you are looking at multiple DUI charges, we are prepared to help you defend your rights, freedom, and future. A DUI conviction will remain on your driving record forever, and could negatively impact your life for years to come.
Penalties for a DUI conviction in Delaware could include:
- 1st DUI: 1 year jail, a $1,500 fine, and 24 months’ license suspension
- 2nd DUI: 18 months’ prison, a $2,500 fine, and 30 months’ license suspension
- 3rd DUI: 2 years’ prison, a $5,000 fine, and 36 months’ license suspension
- 4th DUI: 5 years’ prison, a $7,000 fine, and 60 months’ license suspension
Put Your DUI Behind You
You deserve to have a skilled Delaware DUI attorney at your side throughout your case, to help you save your driver’s license from suspension and fight any criminal charges you may be facing. When you hire our firm, you will get our DUI attorneys personal attention working with you at every step, providing you with the fully qualified, dedicated representation you need.
We offer FREE and confidential consultations so we can discuss the important details of your arrest. Our Delaware DUI defense attorneys are ready to fight for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does COVID-19 affect my DUI case?
A DUI arrest typically results in a court date within 3 weeks for a misdemeanor or 10 days for a felony, but court dates are significantly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it may seem like this gives you more time to call a lawyer and get your affairs in order, the time frame for signing up for a DUI hearing is only 15 days and the DMV gives no leeway on this. Individuals that fail to sign up for their hearing will lose their license and have to take a DUI class regardless of the outcome of their case. It is very important that you do not wait to sign up for a DMV hearing, and if you are concerned about going to the DMV, we can sign up for a hearing on your behalf.
How can I beat a DUI charge in Delaware?
You can beat a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) by demonstrating that your arrest was procedural defective. This requires an inquiry into each step in the arrest process:
- Did the police have a “reasonable articulable suspicion” to stop the car in the first place?
- Did the police have “probable cause” to make an arrest?
Are field sobriety tests or preliminary breath tests valid?
Police use field sobriety tests (FSTs) and preliminary breath tests (PBTs) to build their case for probable cause. Some field tests are standardized and require specific instructions and results to be considered valid evidence against the accused. FSTs are ultimately considered to be subjective, and police officers routinely make mistakes on these tests.
My PBT reading blew the legal limit – am I guilty?
PBTs also have a specific set of protocols that can be challenged in court. Just because someone has submitted to an intoxilyzer reading over the legal limit does not mean they will be convicted of a crime.
What are the options for a first-time DUI offender?
Delaware has a program that allows first-time DUI offenders to get their charges dismissed for a first DUI offense. This requires you to initially plead guilty to your DUI charge. The judge then holds your plea in abeyance until you complete a DUI class. The first offender program will still count as a predicate offense should a subsequent arrest occur. Depending on the facts surrounding your arrest, it may also be possible to have your DUI further reduced or receive a direct dismissal should the case proceed to trial.
What are the consequences of subsequent DUI offenses in Delaware?
A conviction for a second offense that occurs within 10 years of your first offense may result in 60 days of incarceration, license suspension, probation, DUI class, and an increased fine. Convictions for a third and any subsequent DUI offense is a felony and will result in longer jail sentences. Other less severe options may be available depending on the circumstances of the case. It is important to note that after an arrest, a driver has only 15 days to sign up for an administrative hearing at the DMV or they will lose their license, regardless of the case outcome.
Does Delaware have an ignition interlock device requirement?
Delaware residents who have been convicted for a DUI will be required to use an IID. Typically, a driver is eligible to use the IID immediately on their first conviction. Otherwise, the IID is provided upon completing the jail sentence for subsequent convictions. The IID allows people to continue to drive during their license suspension period. Out-of-state drivers who are convicted of a DUI in Delaware are not eligible for the IID and they will be prohibited from driving in Delaware until their full suspension has elapsed.
What is the difference between the administrative process and the criminal process for a DUI in Delaware?
After your arrest, you will be given an arraignment date for the criminal charges and you will also be required to sign up for an administrative hearing with the Delaware DMV. Criminal proceedings have the authority to revoke of your driver’s license and impose jail time, fines, and probation. Conversely, administrative proceedings only have power over your driver’s license. Both hearings must be addressed to avoid losing your driving privileges.
What happens if I'm arrested for DUI while visiting Delaware?
If you are arrested for a DUI while visiting Delaware, your Delaware DUI attorney may appear in your place for subsequent arraignment dates and your DMV hearing. Your presence in Delaware is not required until your trial date if you received an out-of-state DUI.
Do I have to come back to Delaware for my DMV hearing?
You do not need to personally attend your DMV hearing in Delaware if you have an attorney who can attend on your behalf. Remember, this hearing must be requested promptly – the DMV takes their deadlines very seriously.
Delaware DUI Civil Hearings
Many people are not aware after an arrest in Delaware for driving under the influence that there are actually two proceedings that commence, the criminal, as well as a civil proceeding. While the criminal proceeding can result in fines, points on your license, and potentially jail time, the civil proceeding can only cost you your driving privileges.
What Happens First?
It begins when an arrest is made and the officer hands the driver a temporary drivers license. Upon receipt of this the driver must request a hearing at the DMV within 15 days or their driving privileges will be suspended and they will be required to take a driver improvement class to regain the ability to drive in Delaware. This will happen no matter the outcome of the trial.
An out of state driver may have just been visiting the Delaware beaches and may have no intention of returning and this begs the question, why do they care if Delaware suspends them? The reason an out of state driver should care is that when it becomes time to renew their license in their home state, they may do a check on other jurisdictions and discover the problem in Delaware, and then suspend the driver.
The most important thing to remember about the civil hearing is that you must sign up for the hearing, or have a Delaware DUI lawyer do it for you. This will retain your privilege to drive in Delaware until the case has been decided. What is nice about these particular hearings is that an Delaware DUI attorney can request the hearing, and appear for the driver, saving the driver, especially an out of state driver, the hassle of coming to Delaware for a hearing.
Contact our Delaware DUI attorneys for your free consultation.
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