Recently Gov. Jack A Markell signed two new bills into law to create stricter DUI penalties for people convicted of a DUI offense in Delaware.
House Bill 152: Increased Fines and Jail Time
House Bill 152 increases DUI fines for subsequent offenders, especially drivers with five previous DUI convictions. The bill also called for increased jail time for subsequent DUI offenders and creating a felony DUI for drivers with six and seven DUI convictions.
Last year there were approximately 6,916 DUI arrests, of which 59 people had been previously arrested at least five other times for drunk driving. Since January of this year, 3,213 drivers have been arrested for DUI, with 40 of those people having five or more previous DUI arrests.
House Bill 177: Strict Penalties for First DUI Offense
The second bill signed into law strengthens penalties for a first time DUI offense if the driver has a blood alcohol level of .15% or higher.
If convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .15%, the period of hard revocation for those who are mandated to have an ignition interlock device is increased from 30 to 45 days.
The driver’s license is suspended for six months instead of three, and the ignition interlock device must be used for six months.
The bill limits driving authority of an ignition interlock device licensed driver to work, home, school, alcohol treatment programs and interlock service provider appointments.
Source: Sussex Countian
Carnegie Mellon Professor Jeffrey Hunker was charged with three DUIs within an eight-day period between Sunday, August 17 and Sunday, August 24.
According to police, Hunker drove into his neighbor’s yard and hit their house in the first DUI. His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
Although police officers asked that Hunker be place in jail, the judge felt that the 28-day treatment program the professor entered into on Wednesday, August 27 was sufficient for the time being.
The University hasn’t announced any disciplinary action it will take at the moment. Hunker’s court date is scheduled for September.
A Kansas legislative committee is considering a proposal to impose longer license suspensions on drunk drivers whose BAC exceeds certain levels.
Under the proposal, a first DUI offense would receive twice the standard license suspension if his blood alcohol level was .16 or greater. Three offenses at the higher level would result in permanent revocation of driving privileges.
The Kansas Court of Appeals recently affirmed that the state can suspend a driver’s license even if he has not had a DUI conviction.
Questions often arise as to how long the “look back” period is for purposes of enhancing DUI penalties or elevating DUI charges to felony status.
There’s no easy answer to that question and not only because state laws vary. The number of DUI convictions and the time period considered for enhanced penalties or felony DUI does vary from state to state. However, the realities are even more complex.
In some states, the period runs from date of charge to date of charge–in others, from date of conviction to date of charge. Further, some states have alternate time periods during which a different number of prior convictions qualifies for enhanced penalties or felony treatment.
For instance, in Ohio a drunk driver can be charged with a felony based on four offenses in six years or six offenses in twenty years, meaning that two separate calculations apply to every case.
If you’ve been charged and this is not your first DUI offense, make sure that you talk to a local DUI lawyer and fully understand how the repeat offender statutes apply in your case.