Have you been charged with a DWI? Delaware acknowledges someone is driving while intoxicated when they have a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. Speaking with an attorney will help you understand your rights and examine the facts of the case that may rectify the situation. If you have been stopped for a DWI in Delaware, it is important to recall the details of the DWI stop. You will be an important resource for the attorney when they form a defense. The police have a specific report where they write everything down. Sometimes, they gloss over or omit significant details.
If an officer suspects any kind of alcohol use, they will often ask you to take a roadside sobriety test. You will be examined following directions while doing physical activities. If you have anything that would impede you in taking an agility test, make sure that you tell the officer. If you have a bad knee or suffer from any type of illness that causes you to be unsteady, you want to make sure to inform the officer. If the officer asks you questions, you may answer them or invoke your right to not to answer any questions. The officer can still go forward with a driving under the influence charge, but won’t have statements to use against you.
I’m often asked whether or not an individual should take a breathalyzer test when they’re stopped by the police. It depends upon what your motor vehicle record is. If you refuse to take the test, you could lose your license for a year. If it is a second offense, you’re going to go to jail if your blood alcohol level exceeds a .08 and you’re convicted of driving under the influence.
In fact, you don’t know what your blood alcohol reading is going to be. If it’s going to be high and there was plenty of probable cause for the officer to have stopped you, then you should take the test. If you have had very little to drink and believe that the officer had little cause to pull you over, then you might want to refuse the test. You don’t want the breathalyzer to be used against you. You may have arguments that could be raised that there was no basis for the stop and no test to support a DWI charge. It’s a very difficult choice.
In Delaware, if you are charged with your first DWI offense with a blood alcohol level under 0.15, you may be eligible to enroll in a program called the First Offender Election. You’ll lose your license for a short period of time, but you’ll be able to get what’s known as a conditional license. If you fulfill the requirements of the program, you may be able to avoid a conviction on your record.
If your blood-alcohol level is above 0.15 on your first offense, Delaware will install an ignition interlock device, where you blow into a machine that won’t start your car if you have alcohol in your system. You have to have that for at least 13 months on your car, but you will be able to drive and you won’t need the conditional license. If you are found with a BAC of 0.20 and higher on your first offense, it constitutes an actual loss of license for a year and hefty fines, possible jail time. There is no opportunity to use the ignition interlock device and no conditional license.
Under the Delaware statutes, a second offense is any offense within ten years of a first offense. A second offense requires a mandatory period of imprisonment of 60 days, along with a very severe fine. The jail time is mandatory. The Department of Corrections has programs in effect to release low-risk individuals after seven to ten days, depending on the crowding situation in the prison. There is no guarantee that that will take place. In addition, you’ll still lose your license for at least a year and pay a very significant fine. A third DWI offense is a felony and you will have your license revoked for two years. Speak with an attorney at Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C. to discuss your case and secure the best possible outcome.