First Offense DUI in Delaware

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A first DUI in Delaware will result in both criminal and administrative penalties for the offender, unless the case is dismissed or charges are reduced to lesser criminal or non-criminal offenses. Having legal counsel involved immediately following the arrest is an integral component of the DUI defense, as administrative proceedings to suspend a driver’s license will commence prior to any resolution in the criminal case.

Administrative Penalties

Refusals to submit under Delaware’s implied consent laws results in administrative license suspension of 1 year, which is doubled if the driver is under the age of 21. A first offense DUI in Delaware results in administrative license suspension for 3 months, with suspension periods increasing based on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the offender at the time of the arrest.

Reinstatement during the suspension period, in the form of a hardship/restricted license, is possible for first offenders. However, it will entail the use of an ignition interlock device.

Criminal Penalties

First offense DUI convictions in Delaware result in no mandatory minimum period of incarceration, but offenders face potential incarceration of up to 6 months. As of February 2011, fines range from a minimum of $500 to not more than $1500, but fine amounts do not cover costs incurred during completion of other aspects of the sentence, such as alcohol/substance abuse treatment programs, reinstatement of license, or court fees and surcharges. Convictions influence charges, penalties faced, and sentencing of subsequent DUI arrests in Delaware for life.

Getting Legal Help

Delaware does not outright bar a plea option involving a reduction of charges to lesser criminal offenses. However, the specific elements of each case, as well as whether legal counsel is involved, will dictate whether this is feasible or not. For more information, consult with a Delaware DUI lawyer.

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