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Delaware DUI Laws

The State of Delaware imposes penalties for any individual driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol above a level of eight hundredths of one percent.  Penalties for an individual driving under the influence (DUI) range from alcohol education classes to imprisonment for ten years. Additionally, penalties require payment of fees and may require the installation of an ignition interlock device. Typically, individuals must drive a vehicle while under the influence.  However, an individual may not be driving at the time an individual is arrested for a driving under the influence offense. Thus, officers must adhere to specific procedures to secure a DUI arrest and conviction. The absence of adhering to proper procedure and guidelines may dismiss a DUI arrest and conviction.

Typically, an individual arrested for a DUI offense is driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Driving under the influence offense states that no individual shall drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any drug. Further, the state defined driving as driving, operating, or having physical control of a vehicle. Also, the state concluded that a vehicle includes any vehicle that is self propelled as well as an off-highway vehicle, and moped. Additionally, Delaware defined under the influence as when an individual is less able than the person would ordinarily have been, either mentally or physically to exercise clear judgment in driving a vehicle. However, Delaware imposes an additional element to allow police to arrest an individual for a DUI offense. Delaware arrests and convicts individuals under the influence within four hours after the individual drove a vehicle.

Thus, proper procedure and policy must be followed to arrest an individual, collect evidence, and convict an individual. Specifically, blood collected by a Forensic Chemist or State Police Forensic Analytical Chemist must sign a report adhering to the test results. Typically, individuals using the roads consent to testing. Thus, failure to consent will result in consequences. However, collection of evidence must follow a specific process and procedures. Thus, the evidence collected by authorized personnel must sign the report indicating that the blood obtained was properly tested, the procedures were legally reliable, the blood was delivered, and that the blood contained the amount of alcohol specified. Further, the chain of physical custody of test results must be signed by each successive person in the chain of custody.

Additionally, law enforcement officers are authorized to arrest any individual for a DUI without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to arrest the individual. Also, the authority to arrest extends to any hospital or medical treatment facility as well as any place within four hours of the alleged driving. Once an individual is arrested he or she is brought before a magistrate without delay. The magistrate will try the case, dispose the case, or inform the defendant of the complaint and his or her rights to a preliminary hearing.

An individual brought before a magistrate may enter a plea but will be advised that the plea may be held against the individual. Individuals arrested for a DUI offense are entitled to a preliminary examination. An individual may waive his or her preliminary examination. An individual waving his or her right to a preliminary examination he or she must answer to the Superior Court. An individual not waving his or her right to a preliminary examination will schedule the preliminary examination with the magistrate. However, a preliminary examination will not occur if an individual is indicted by Superior Court before the date of the preliminary examination. Typically, preliminary examinations examine the evidence and decide whether enough evidence exist to move forward with a formal trial.

Proceedings of a formal trial lead to convictions or dismissal of a driving under the influence charge. Also, individuals will receive their penalties from the trial phrase. Typically, first offenders will be fined not less than five hundred dollars and not more than one thousand and five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than six months. First time offenders may receive both and required to complete an alcohol course and/or rehabilitation. However, first time offenders may suspend their penalty with probation and entrance into a rehabilitation course. Also, the court will not enter a judgment of guilt for first time offenders. However, first time offenders must adhere to certain requirements to enter into the first time offender program.

Subsequent DUI convictions lead to an increase of fines and imprisonments. Repeat DUI offenders receive fines from seven hundred and fifty dollars to fifteen thousand dollars. Also, imprisonments for repeat driving under the influence offenders receive imprisonment ranged from sixty days until fifteen years. The amount of fines and imprisonment depends upon the number of prior offenses.

A driving under the influence offense requires an individual to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The use of Delaware roads requires individuals to chemical testing. However, individuals may refuse to chemical testing but will receive consequences. Also, the collection of the chemical testing must adhere to specific procedures. Failure to adhere to proper process may eliminate certain evidence or dismiss charges. Also, police officers and medical assistance may arrest individuals without warrants but require probable cause. Individuals arrested for a DUI offense obtain a preliminary examination or may waive the preliminary examination. Once an individual waives a preliminary examination the individual will be placed on trial. Additionally, once an individual is placed on trial he or she will then be sentenced and receive a penalty. Finally, penalties range from probation to long time imprisonment and large fines.


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