Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

What to Expect with a Delaware Case as a Habitual Offender


From the terminology alone, you can guess that a habitual offender is someone who has been arrested and convicted on multiple criminal charges. The specific definition under Delaware’s statute on habitual criminals varies based upon the number of prior convictions and type of crime, with the focus being on violent felonies and certain drug offenses. As you might expect, the punishment for a habitual offender is harsh if you have been convicted in the past. However, you might not realize how severe.

The Delaware habitual criminal law is a key reason to get legal representation from the very first time you are arrested. When your prior convictions add up, you could be spending life behind bars for the next one. A solid legal strategy is critical, so trust a Wilmington habitual offender attorney to help obtain a favorable outcome. Some information on what to expect is also helpful.

Title 11 Violent Felonies: The habitual criminal laws aim to punish those who are repeatedly arrested and convicted of violent offenses, and the statute designates a long list of felonies that are covered. Examples include:

  • Assault in the First or Second Degree
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide and Manslaughter
  • Murder in the First or Second Degree
  • All degrees of Unlawful Sexual Contact and Unlawful Sexual Penetration
  • Kidnapping and Sexual Abuse of a Child
  • First and Second Degree Robbery and Burglary
  • Possessing a Deadly Weapon or Firearm During Commission of a Felony
  • Arson in the First or Second Degree

Title 16 Drug Crimes: Delaware’s habitual offender laws also apply to numerous drug offenses, regardless of whether there is violence involved with the crime. Simple possession of smaller amounts of controlled substances does not trigger habitual criminal status, but other offenses do, such as:

Manufacture/Delivery/Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance

Drug Dealing – Aggravated Possession

Distribution of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia to a minor

 Note that any attempt to commit any of the felonies in Title 11 or Title 16 is also considered a violent felony for purposes of habitual offenders.

Punishment Structure: From the first conviction on the offenses listed in Title 11 and/or Title 16, the habitual criminal statute tracks activity. Your prior convictions for nonviolent felonies may also play a role, so:

  • If convicted for a third Title 11 felony, you could be sentenced to life in prison.
  • A fourth conviction of any felony charges may also lead to imprisonment for life.
  • If you have three prior convictions for any type of felony, a fourth conviction for a Title 11 offense means your sentence is half the maximum presumptive sentence. First Degree Assault is punishable by up to 25 years, so your minimum is 12.5 years in prison.

Speak to a Delaware Habitual Offender Lawyer About Defense Options

 Considering the harsh punishment, you need an experienced defense attorney with in-depth knowledge of the habitual criminal laws and penalties. Even if you do not have a complete defense, there may be ways to minimize the harshest punishment. To learn more, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica in Wilmington, DE. You can set up a consultation by calling 302.600.1262 or checking us out online.



MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2017 - 2024 Michael W. Modica, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved.
This law firm website is managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab