DUI Laws in Delaware

Laws and penalties for DUI in Delaware.

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In Delaware, you can get a DUI if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. 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 blood alcohol content (BAC)?

In Delaware, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC within 4 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 blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is .02%. Penalties include a 2 month revocation of license (first offense) and 6 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 jail

1 year jail

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/DWI offense) for good.

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

In some circumstances, a plea bargain of "wet reckless" might be accepted by the prosecution in your state. A "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, is usually made as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. A plea bargain of wet reckless might occur when the amount of alcohol is borderline illegal, there was no accident, and the defendant has no prior record. But if there is a subsequent drunk driving conviction, the "wet reckless" is usually considered a prior drunk driving conviction; the resulting sentence can be what's required for a second DUI/DWI conviction. If you are interested in trying to make a plea for a wet reckless, you'll need the help of a lawyer.

If you are interested in contacting a lawyer, you can find a DUI lawyer in your area in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

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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