Today we are going to answer several questions primarily focused on the penalties associated with DUI convictions in Delaware.  These questions are from Tom in Rehoboth, Delaware.

Questions: “My son was attending a friend’s promotion party. He left before anyone else because he had to be at work early the next morning and he really didn’t have that much to drink. He was almost home when a town cop stopped him, allegedly for not using his turn signal. The cop ended up arresting him for DUI. I’m very concerned about this because he had a DUI five years ago. If he’s convicted of this new DUI, what penalties is he facing?  For example, how much will he be fined? Will he have to go to jail? How long will his driver’s license be suspended? Will he be allowed to drive to work? Will he be required to drive with an ignition interlock device? Is he facing stronger penalties since this is his second DUI?”

Answers: First, thank you for your questions, Tom. I appreciate you for allowing me to answer these questions in a public forum on the Internet because they are frequently asked DUI questions, and others too may be looking for answers to these questions. So, in that case, five years ago, if your son was convicted of a DUI, entered the First Offender’s Program, or pled to Reckless Driving Alcohol Related, then he is likely facing a second offense DUI.

The Penalties for DUI 2nd in Delaware

The penalties for a second offense DUI in Delaware are a fine of $750 to $2,500, 60 days minimum up to 18 months in prison, and a license suspension that is dependent upon what his blood alcohol content (BAC) was.

If his BAC was at least .08 but less than .15, there will be an 18-month license suspension. If his BAC was at least .15 but less than .20, there will be a 24-month license suspension.  And finally, if his BAC was .20 or higher, he’s facing a 30-month license suspension. After no driving at all for 60 days, he will be able to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in his vehicle, acquire an IID license from DMV, and drive with the IID in his vehicle for the remainder of his suspension period.

Penalties Increase for Additional DUI Convictions

Furthermore, the current DUI case could have a big impact down the road if he gets another DUI. If he is convicted of this second offense DUI, or if he pleads to reckless driving alcohol-related, and then in the future gets arrested on another drunk driving charge, that future arrest will be treated as a third offense DUI. That’s a big problem because DUI 3rd is a felony and carries a minimum of 90 days in prison. Penalties certainly increase with the number of DUIs a person receives.

My job as a DUI defense lawyer is first to ensure your son’s constitutional rights are protected and that he is not over-charged. The police and prosecutors in Delaware DUI cases sometimes over-charge people with crimes they didn’t commit. My job is to look at the facts, look at the paperwork for the prior case, and make sure that the charges lodged against my client are accurate. Then, I focus on getting the best result possible in the case. This, of course, depends on many factors such as the evidence the state has against you, any defenses you might have, mitigating factors peculiar to you, etc. I tend to take the fine-toothed comb approach to defending DUI cases. Have you heard the old saying that “the devil is in the details”? Well in Delaware DUI cases, many times the keys to the jailhouse door are in the details as well.

Tom in Rehoboth Beach, DE, thank you so much for the DUI questions! If you are reading this little DUI blog and you have a question that you think I ought to answer in this format, please complete the contact form on this website and click submit.

Matt Stiller (“The Delaware DUI Defender”)