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Delaware DUI Law

It is against Delaware state law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. The standard for operators of commercial vehicles is a BAC of .04 or greater.

Penalties

First Offense:

- Fine: $230 - $1,150

- Up to six months of jail time

- Submit to an alcohol evaluation and comply with the treatment recommendations.

- License Suspension: 12 Months

o If BAC was .15 - .19: 18 Months

o If BAC was .20 or greater: 24 Months

Second Offense:

- Fine: $575- $2,300

- 60 days – 18 months in jail. 60 days is a mandatory minimum and may not be suspended.

- License Suspension: 24 Months

o If BAC was .15 - .19: 24 Months

o If BAC was .20 or greater: 30 Months

Third Offense:

- This is a Class G Felony

- Fine: $1000 - $3,000

- 1 – 2 years in jail. 3 months is a mandatory minimum and may not be suspended.

- License Suspension: 24 Months

o If BAC was .15 - .19: 30 Months

o If BAC was .20 or greater: 36 Months

Fourth Offense:

- This is a Class E Felony

- Fine: $2,000 - $6,000

- 2 – 5 years in jail. 6 months is a mandatory minimum and may not be suspended.

o License Suspension: 60 months

Under 21

It is illegal to drive with a BAC of between .02 - .08 if you are under the age of 21.

First Offense:

2 month license suspension

Subsequent Offenses:

6 – 12 month license suspension

DUI with a Minor in the Vehicle

If the DUI conviction occurs with a minor under the age of 17 in the vehicle, the fine will increase by $230 - $1,150 and the court will require 40 hours of youth related community service. For the second and subsequent offenses with minors in the vehicle, the court will add a fine of $575 - $2,300 and 80 hours of youth related community service.

First Offender Diversion Program

Delaware offers a first offender diversion program. In this case, the court will not consider the guilt of the accused and immediately place the accused on probation. Upon completion of the terms of probation, the court will dismiss the charges.

Qualifications:

- No prior DUIs

- No more than 3 moving violations in the last 2 years

- Your DUI did not cause an injury to someone else

- BAC was below .15 at the time of arrest

- There were no minors in the vehicle.

Conditions

- License revocation for one year

- Payment of court fines

- Completion of alcohol assessment and treatment

Requesting a Conditional License

You may request a conditional license from the Department of Motor Vehicles. You must demonstrate extreme hardship and then adhere to the terms of the conditional license. Failure to comply will result in a fine of $28.75 - $230 and the revocation of your license for the rest of the suspension time.

Ignition Interlock Program

You may be eligible for an ignition interlock device in lieu of a suspended license. This device prevents the car from being started when the driver has a BAC of greater than .02. There are a variety of costs associated with the device.

Eligibility:

If your license was suspended for 12 months via the first offender program, you may obtain the ignition interlock after the first month and it will stay on for 12 months.

If your license was suspended for 12 months not under the first offender program, you may obtain the ignition interlock after the second month and it will stay on for 12 months.

If you have more than one conviction, you may not obtain an ignition interlock device until your license has been suspended for at least 12 months.

Drinking While Driving

It is also illegal to consume alcohol while driving in Delaware. The first conviction results in a fine of $25 - $200. Each subsequent conviction results in a fine of $50 - $400.