DUI Laws in Delaware

Laws and penalties for DUI in Delaware.

In Delaware, you can get a DUI if, within four hours of driving, you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher or your blood contains any amount of an illegally ingested drug, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. However, you can also get a DUI for driving while impaired if—as the result of ingesting alcohol, drugs, or a combination of these—you were “less able” to drive safely than you ordinarily would’ve been. Delaware law defines “drive” to include driving, operating, or having actual physical control of a vehicle.

(For estimate of how many drinks it takes to hit the legal limit, check out our BAC table.)

And the law in Delaware says that if you are driving a vehicle, you have given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in Delaware and other details about Delaware DUI law.

In Delaware, what are the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) when suspected of DUI?

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in Delaware, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

1 year license revocation (2 years if under 21 years of age)

1 year license revocation (2 years if under 21 years of age)

1 year license revocation (2 years if under 21 years of age)

In Delaware, when do police have to measure your BAC?

In Delaware, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC within four hours of driving. However, prosecutors may be able to prove your culpability for DUI even if your BAC is taken later than this time.

What is the maximum BAC for drivers under 21 in Delaware?

In Delaware, the maximum BAC for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is .02%. Penalties include a two month revocation of license (first offense) and six month revocation (second offense). If a person is convicted of DUI while under 17 years of age, additional penalties apply: 40 hours community service and a fine of $500 - $1,500 (for first offense). Subsequent convictions for DUI while under 17 will incur more penalties (80 hours community service and $750 - $2,500 in fines).

What are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Delaware?

Here are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Delaware, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

No minimum jail time required

60 days

1 year

How long will prior DUI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in Delaware?

In Delaware, prior DUI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another DUI offense) for good.

Can a DUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Delaware?

In Delaware, it’s possible for a motorist who’s accused of driving under the influence to “plea bargain” for a lesser charge. When such a plea bargain is for a reckless driving charge, it’s sometimes called a “wet reckless.”

(Read more about plea bargaining in Delaware DUI cases and the consequences of a reckless driving conviction.)

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DUI offenders in Delaware?

They aren't required for any particular offenses, but it is within the discretion of the court to order any person convicted of a DUI (including a first conviction) to use an ignition interlock device. If the court chooses to require an IID, the court must require the use for at least one year Alternatively, a person convicted of DUI may request an interlock device in lieu of license revocation.

Where can I get more information about DUI laws in Delaware?

Nolo's DUI/DWI topic has many helpful articles, including a Drunk Driving, DUI, and DWI FAQ. For more help after a DUI arrest, see Nolo's Lawyer Directory, where you can view in-depth profiles of Delaware DUI attorneys in your area.

Last updated on 09/01/2010.

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