Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in the State of Delaware is considered a very serious offense and the penalties are harsh. DUI penalties are much more severe than those for other traffic related offenses and can affect you for the rest of your life.
There are many aspects of a DUI arrest and charge that can be tackled by a knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney and it is possible that your charge could be dismissed completely or reduced to a charge of reckless driving.
Why you Can be Charged For DUI
You are most likely to be stopped by a police officer if you have been driving erratically. You could also get stopped if there is something wrong with your vehicle. You can’t just get stopped for no particular reason. If the officer thinks you have been drinking, he or she may ask you some questions, ask you to do some sobriety tests and blow into a portable breathalyzer. You could refuse to do any of these as they can be very subjective, but you are most likely to be arrested anyway.
You may then be asked to have a chemical test for blood alcohol. Delaware has an implied consent rule which means that it is a separate offense if you refuse to take a test and your license will be suspended as well. If your test shows you have more than 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (or more than 0.02%, if you are under 21 or 0.04%, if you have a commercial license) you will be charged with DUI.
The Penalties for DUI in Delaware
The immediate penalties if you are convicted of DUI in Delaware are a fine, possible jail and a license suspension. These all depend on how much alcohol you were alleged to have had and how many previous convictions you might have had. A first offense would mean a fine of between $500 to $1500, a possible jail sentence of up to 6 months, but no minimum time and a 12 month license suspension. If you have a second conviction, you will be looking at mandatory time in jail of 6 months and a license suspension of 24 months
These examples are minimum amounts. So, if your test results show you had more alcohol in your blood, the fines are steeper, the license suspensions are longer and the jail time longer.
Why you Need a DUI Lawyer
The penalties for DUI in Delaware are severe and the effects of fines, license suspension and possible jail time could have a long term effect on your family, job and future prospects for getting promotion or another job. You do not have to accept the charge of DUI. You are much better off fighting the charge with the help of a DUI lawyer. A good lawyer knows how to critically examine every step of your DUI arrest from the moment you stopped for a police officer to the point you are officially charged. There are many reasons why a lawyer can use the weaknesses in the arrest process to your advantage and help you get your damaging charge dismissed, reduced or your sentence deferred or changed.