Delaware DUI Laws and Penalties

How Delaware defines “driving under the influence” (DUI) and the consequences of a conviction.

In Delaware, a motorist can get a DUI for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:

  • while under the influence (meaning, less able to exercise due care in driving because of alcohol or drugs)
  • with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more, or
  • with any blood content of illicit or recreational drugs.

A driver with a BAC of .08% or more can be convicted without proving actual impairment. This BAC threshold is reduced to .04% for commercial vehicle drivers.

Jail Time and Fines for Delaware DUI Convictions

The minimum and maximum jail time and fines you’ll face for a DUI conviction in Delaware largely depend on how many prior convictions you have. While DUI convictions never “washout” completely, a DUI will be considered a second offense only if it occurs within ten years of the first.

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense (felony)

Jail Time

1-year maximum

60 days to 18 months

1 to 2 years (minimum 3 months before probation can be granted)

Fines

$500 to $1,500

$750 to $2,500

Up to $5,000

As a possible part of the sentence—and as a requirement for license reinstatement—the convicted person must enroll in and complete a rehabilitation and treatment program. A third or subsequent offense requires 90 days of monitored abstinence.

License Revocation for a Delaware DUI

Upon notification of a conviction, the State of Delaware will revoke the driver’s license. Prior to reinstatement, all drivers must complete an approved treatment and rehabilitation program and fulfill the ignition interlock device (IID) requirements. The periods of time for revocations and IIDs are listed below.

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Revocation Period

12 months

18 months

24 months

IID

4 months

16 months

21 months

Drivers with a BAC of .16% or more will receive an additional six months license revocation, and drivers with a BAC of .20% or more will receive an additional one-year license revocation. The IID requirements will also increase with increased BAC levels.

Revoked drivers who are enrolled in treatment can request a limited license that permits driving with an installed IID. In most instances, applicants must serve a certain number of days (30 to 90 days) with a revoked license prior to issuance.

Delaware’ Implied Consent Laws

Delaware’s “implied consent” laws specify that all motorists agree to take a urine, blood, or breath test if lawfully arrested for driving under the influence. In addition to any DUI penalties, a driver who refuses testing will have his or her license revoked for three months for a first offense, one year for a second offense, and 18 months for a third offense.

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