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Fifth DUI Charges for Delaware Woman


A simple traffic violation led to an arrest on multiple offenses for a Lewes, DE woman, but among the most serious charges is a fifth offense for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol. Delaware Online reported on the January 2, 2018 incident, as the woman ran a red light at an intersection and was immediately pulled over by Delaware State Police. Officers found her in possession of crack-cocaine, and she was unable to provide registration and insurance information. Drunk driving charges generally share some basic concepts no matter what your history, such as the requirement that officials prove impairment or a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. However, a fifth time offense for DUI in Delaware is different in a number of ways, such as:

A Fifth DUI is a Felony 

As with many crimes, the classification and penalties for drunk driving are more serious with subsequent offenses. If you are charged and convicted for DUI a fifth time, the crime is a Class E Felony according to Delaware’s system for categorizing criminal activity. First and second DUI offenses are both misdemeanors, while three or more convictions in your history will always be a felony. 

Lifetime Lookback Period 

Unlike a first or second conviction on DUI, the lookback period for subsequent drunk driving related offenses is a lifetime. This means that, for a fifth-time offense, the court will review your entire life history for prior:

  • Drunk driving convictions;
  • A DUI First Offender Election;
  • Zero tolerance for underage DUI;
  • “Wet” reckless driving convictions; or,
  • Any combination of these.

Penalties for a Fifth DUI Conviction in Delaware 

On the fifth time you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence, the mandatory minimum prison term is three years; all but 18 months of the jail sentence can be suspended. However, the law allows a judge to sentence you up to five years in jail based upon the facts in your case. In addition, the minimum fine is $3,500 and you could be ordered to pay up to the maximum of $10,000 in fines.

A fifth drunk driving conviction also impacts your driving privileges, so your license will be revoked for 18 months. Plus, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle that you will use during the first year of your driver’s license revocation. All installation and monthly fees are your responsibility. 

Expungement DUI Convictions 

Expungement is a legal process that allows you to remove a prior conviction from your criminal record, so long as you meet the necessary requirements. The benefit is that the crime will not appear in your history for purposes of an employment background check and similar situations. In Delaware, it is not possible to expunge a drunk driving conviction from your record, so it becomes part of your permanent record.

Trust a Delaware Criminal Defense Attorney with Your DUI Case

Whether it is your first, fifth, or subsequent drunk driving charge, it is important to retain an experienced lawyer to represent your rights in a DUI case. The stakes are high if you are convicted, with lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, and implications for your driver’s license. If you would like to hear more about your defense options, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica in Wilmington, DE.



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