When you are facing a DUI in Delaware, you may underestimate its impact on your life. You may believe it easier to go through the legal motions to get the process over with and move on.
However, doing so can have far-reaching consequences in all areas of your life. Once you are familiar with them, you may realize the importance of having a criminal defense attorney by your side to try to reduce the effects of a DUI.
What are the basic penalties?
First-time offenses typically result in a temporary loss of license for three months. If you refused to comply with taking a chemical test, that duration increases to a year. It continues to increase with the number of offenses. You have the opportunity to fight for the retention of your driving privileges through an administrative hearing, but you have a short window of time to do so and must convince the presiding official of certain points.
Driving privileges aren't the only thing DUI allegations can endanger. A criminal conviction on first-time DUI charges can lead to a range of consequences, including:
- A five-year record
- A fine of $500 to $1500
- Up to six months in jail
- An ignition interlock device
Penalties are more severe for extremely high BAC levels and repeat offenders.
What qualifies as a first offense?
First-time offenders may have alternatives to jail time, such as outpatient treatment, education classes and mental health programs. Before you think you found the easy way out, you must meet the requirement of a first offense. This entails more than not having a previous DUI. You must also have had a valid license, a BAC below 0.15 percent and fewer than three moving violations in the past two years. You cannot have caused injury to anyone, had a minor in your vehicle or refused the chemical test. If you qualify, you may end up only losing your license for a month.
What are other consequences?
A DUI conviction can stand in the way of employment, housing and education. It could prove better to fight the charges than to seek an expungement later.