Wilmington DUI/Drunk Driving Lawyer
If you have been charged with DUI, there’s a good chance that you are scared or unsure what to do next, and understandably so. The consequences for DUI convictions are very serious — jail time, license suspension, probation, fines and substance abuse classes are all potential penalties for those convicted of drunk driving.
A DUI arrest can cost you thousands of dollars in fees and fines, so it’s a good idea to have a Wilmington DUI/drunk driving lawyer on your side. A DUI lawyer will have the legal know how necessary to help minimize the damage your DUI charge could cause. I have successfully handled DUI cases for over 30 years and will aggressively defend you in your case. I have been a speaker lecturing other Delaware attorneys regarding defending DUI cases. I am familiar with virtually every effective defense to charges of DUI, as well as Delaware court decisions addressing DUI laws. I will put that knowledge and experience to work in your case.
DUI Administrative Hearing
When you were arrested for DUI, the officer likely took possession of your license and issued a temporary, paper license to you. You should understand that the temporary license is only good for 15 days from the date of the arrest unless you request a motor vehicle hearing at the Division of Motor Vehicles. When a motor vehicle hearing is requested, the temporary license will be extended for at least 120 days. Therefore, it is paramount that you request a motor vehicle hearing within 15 days from the date of your arrest. You will then be scheduled for an administrative hearing which addresses whether there was probable cause to believe that you were DUI, and whether there was evidence that you actually were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The result of the hearing is important. If you lose the hearing, your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days and you will have to take a DUI course. If you win the hearing, your license will be returned to you. However, you should understand that even if you win the motor vehicle hearing, you will still need to win your trial in order to retain your driving privileges.
After your arrest, the first decision you will need to make is whether to have your case heard in the Justice of the Peace Court or the Court of Common Pleas. For a number of strategic reasons, I often advise clients to transfer their case to the Court of Common Pleas. If the case is transferred, the Court of Common Pleas will set a case review hearing date. At the case review hearing, we will meet with the prosecutor to attempt to resolve your case without the need for trial. If the case is not resolved at the case review proceeding, then the matter will be scheduled for trial at a later date. While the case is pending, I will obtain copies of the police report, and other material, and contact the prosecutor to attempt a favorable resolution of the case.
The penalties for a DUI conviction in Delaware are harsh. A DUI conviction can result in revocation of your driving privileges from 12 –24 months, and include the requirement to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, at your expense, before you are eligible to drive. Penalties may also include incarceration from a minimum 60 day jail sentence up to a maximum 6 year sentence, depending on a person’s prior record. In addition, you will face substantial fines and the requirement to successfully complete a substance abuse class. A third or fourth offense may result in felony DUI charges which expose a person to lengthy mandatory incarceration.
First Offender’s Program
Some individuals charged with DUI will be eligible to elect entry into the First Offenders Program. The benefits of the First Offender’s Program are that it does not result in a conviction, and there is no risk of a jail sentence or fines. Moreover, you are immediately eligible to drive with the Iginition Interlock Device if you are enrolled in the DUI class. However, it will constitute a conviction if you are subsequently arrested for another DUI. We will evaluate whether or not you are eligible for the First Offenders Program, and if so, whether it is an option that you should consider.
Contact a Newark, Delaware, Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense, learn more about how to protect your rights. Contact me online or call 888-672-0082 to schedule a free initial consultation with a Wilmington DUI/drunk driving lawyer.