As you probably know, a traffic offense in Delaware could put points on your driving record and result in higher insurance premiums. If this is your first traffic offense within the past five years you may be eligible for Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) PBJ will keep you from getting any points on your record. If you are not eligible for PBJ you may want to consult a lawyer.
Below are some of the more serious traffic violations in Delaware and their associated penalties. You will want to consult an attorney if you are charged with one of the following violations.
- Driving During Suspension or Revocation
- Reckless Driving
- Aggressive Driving
- Insurance Requirements
- Traffic Courts in Delaware
Driving During Suspension or Revocation
The motor vehicle crime of Driving During Suspension can be found in the vehicle code at 21 Del.C. §2756(a). If you drive a vehicle while your driver's license is suspended in Delaware, for a first offense you will be fined between $500 and $1000 AND imprisoned between 30 days and 6 months. You will also lose your license for an additional 90 days. For a second offense within three years, you will be fined between $1000 and $4000 and spend between 60 days and a one year in jail. If you are charged with Driving on a Suspended License in Delaware it is important that you obtain an attorney. You could avoid these penalties entirely by pleading down to a charge of "Driving Without a License" or "Failure to Reinstate" or fighting the case at trial. The lesser charges of "Driving Without a License" and "Failure to Reinstate" are discussed below.
Driving Without a License - in Delaware it is illegal to drive without first getting your driver's license. Driving without a license can be found at 21 Del.C. §2701(a)(1). Fines range between $50 and $200 for a first offense. For a second offense the fine is between $100 and $500 or imprisonment up to six months or both. This offense carries two points on your driver's license.
Failure to Reinstate - the traffic offense of failure to reinstate involves operating a motor vehicle after serving a period of suspension without properly getting your driver's license back. The Delaware DMV has procedures for you to follow to reinstate your driver's license such as paying a fee and re-taking driving tests. The penalties of this offense are the same as the penalties for "Driving Without a License" above.
The exact definition of Aggressive Driving in Delaware can be found at 21 Del.C. §4175A. Aggressive driving involves driving your vehicle in an aggressive manner. An aggressive manner means you commit three or more traffic violations while you are driving. For example, if you were speeding, changed lanes without signaling and tailgating in the same incident this would constitute aggressive driving. If you are found guilty of Aggressive Driving the penalty for a first offense is a fine between $100 and $300 and jail for 10 to 30 days or both. For a second offense the fine would be between $300 and $1000 or jail between 30 and 60 days, or both and your driver's license will be suspended for 30 days. Aggressive driving will put 6 points on your driver's license and you will be required to take a driving course.
If you are charged with driving without insurance in Delaware, if convicted you will be fined between $1500 and $2000 and lose your license for six months. For a second offense, you will be fined between $3000 and $4000 and lose your license for six months. If you had valid insurance at the time the police pulled you over and simply did not have proof of insurance, you should bring this proof of insurance the day of Court and the police will likely drop this charge. However, if you were driving without insurance, you should contact a lawyer. Call my office for a free consultation at (302) 482-4802.
The penalties for speeding are as follows:
- 1-5 mph over = $20 fine; 2 points
- 5-15 mph over = $20 fine + $1 every mph over; 4 points
- 15-19 mph over = $20 fine + $2 every mph over; 5 points
- 20 mph over = $20 fine + $3 every mph over ; 5 points
If you are charged with 15 mph or more over the speed limit you should consult an attorney. If you are charged with speeding and have had a prior traffic offenses in the past three years you may want to consult an attorney. You will be assessed points on your driver's license.
The Justice of the Peace Court and the Court of Common Pleas both have jurisdiction over your traffic case. You can have your case heard in the local Justice of the Peace or you can have your case transferred to the Court of Common Pleas Traffic Court . Common Pleas Judges are all lawyers whereas Justices of the Peace are not required to be lawyers. In the Justice of the Peace Court, you will have to negotiate with the police officer. If you transfer your case to the Court of Common Pleas a Deputy Attorney General from the Delaware Attorney General's Office will be negotiating your case on behalf of police. You will have to show up on the fifth floor of the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington.
If you keep your case in the Justice of the Peace Court and you are found guilty, you have the right to appeal your case to the Court of Common Pleas within 15 days.
Contact my office at (302) 482-4802 for a free consultation if you are charged with a serious traffic offense.