In the state of Delaware, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. There is also a condition that makes it illegal to drive if you register a blood alcohol test at .05 percent or greater. This would involve taking any kind of prescription drug or illegal drug that would alter the ability to drive. Although drinking and driving in the state is a serious offense, it is currently only considered a misdemeanor unless there are other charges involved. If you are pulled over for a DUI, you will face criminal charges as well as actions taken by the state DMV. A hearing must be requested within 15 days of being arrested if you wish to keep your license. If you do not request a hearing, then the DMV will consider the charges valid, and your license will be suspended for three months under Delaware DUI Laws for a first offense.
The state has stricter laws for those under the age of 21 who are drinking and driving. This is called the Zero Tolerance Policy. If you are under 21 and simply found to be operating a vehicle while intoxicated, then you will be charged. The first offense is a revocation of your license for two months while a second offense would result in a six- to 12-month suspension.
Upon your arrest, the officer will automatically take your license and give you a temporary license that will last for 15 days. If you don’t contact the DMV within this time frame, then you will not be issued another license until the suspension period is over. At the hearing, someone from the DMV will look over the evidence against you. One of the factors that will be considered is whether or not you consented to take a field test to detect blood alcohol or chemical content. The state has an implied consent law, which means that drivers are required to take a test if they are suspected of driving while intoxicated. If you refuse, then you could face fines and jail time as well as the suspension of your license. The minimum test percentages are enough evidence for the DMV to revoke your license. After three offenses, you will lose your license for 18 months.
Officials in Delaware understand how important it is for residents to have a license. This is why they have enacted the First Offender program. If you have no other DUI driving charges, then you can apply to get a conditional license. There are requirements that must be met, including 16 hours in a treatment program, not driving while your license is suspended and paying a small fine. An ignition interlock device will be placed in the car for five months. This is a device that will not allow you to start the car if your blood alcohol content is over the legal amount.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Delaware?
In Delaware, like all states in the U.S., the legal alcohol limit is .08 percent. If law enforcement establishes that a motorist has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above this level, the state can file driving under the influence (DUI) charges. Charges may also be brought if a driver demonstrates signs of impairment with a BAC of .05 percent or higher.
Select classes of drivers are subject to stricter BAC limits. For instance, operators of commercial vehicles must have a BAC below .04 percent. People who are under 21 must observe a BAC limit of .02 percent.
Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence face severe penalties, potentially including:
- Loss of driving privileges for one to two years
- A fine of between $230 and $1,150
- Imprisonment for up to six months
Harsher punishment may be directed at motorists with a BAC of .15 percent or higher. For instance, there may be a revocation period of up to five months, a fine of $2,300 and a jail sentence of 18 months. Enhanced penalties typically also follow repeat offenses committed within five years of a conviction.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Delaware
An ignition interlock device (IID) is issued to people who have a driver’s license reinstated following a conviction for driving under the influence. This device prevents a person from starting a vehicle without a passing breath test.
Conditions of ignition interlock law include:
- The person convicted of DUI must pay installation and maintenance fees.
- Failed breath tests may be grounds for additional penalties.
- The device must be installed by a dealer authorized by the state.
While carrying drawbacks, most people eligible for IID use elect to have a device installed given it is the only way to have driving privileges reinstated.
Delaware DUI Penalties
In the state of Delaware, it is illegal to drive, operate or be in physical control of a vehicle when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a chemical test indicates that a person has a blood-alcohol content, or BAC, of .08 percent or more, or a test indicates the presence of prescription or illegal drugs, a driver could be charged with DUI. A person who is under the age of 21 and found to have a BAC of .02 percent or more and commercial drivers with a BAC of .04 percent or more can also be charged with DUI
Delaware Zero Tolerance Law
Delaware has a .02 percent zero tolerance law that applies to minors under the age of 21. Minors will have their driver’s licenses suspended for 2 months for a first offense and between 6 months and 1 year for each subsequent offense. If a minor does not have a driver’s license, a $200 fine will be imposed for a first offense and between $400 and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.
Penalties regarding Delaware Implied Consent
Delaware has an implied consent law regarding the chemical test for impairment. According to the law, a person who is driving in the state has voluntarily agreed to take the test. If a driver refuses a required chemical test, that person’s driving privileges may be suspended for a period of time depending on the number of times a person has refused the test in the past. For the first refusal, the suspension will last for 12 months. A second refusal results in suspension for 18 months. Third and subsequent refusals result in a 24-month suspension.
Penalties for a 1st and 2nd Delaware DUI offenses
First-time offenders may enroll in a First Offense Election program rather than stand trial if they have a BAC of less than .15 percent. Enrollment is an admission of guilt that will result in a license suspension for one year. However, a driver enrolled in the program may obtain an IID license that permits the use of an ignition interlock device after one month of license suspension.
Otherwise, a first conviction includes a maximum of 6 months prison time, a fine of between $500 and $1,500 as well as a license suspension of from 1 to 2 years based on BAC levels. A second conviction includes from 60 days to 18 months prison time and a fine of between $750 and $2,500. There is a 24 to 30-month license suspension based upon the level of BAC, the option of using an ignition interlock device.
Penalties for a felony Delaware DUI offenses
A third conviction is considered a class G Felony. It includes from 1 to 2 years of prison time and a fine of no more than $5,000. There is a 2 to 3-year license suspension based upon BAC, the option of using an ignition interlock. A fourth conviction is considered a class E Felony and it includes from 2 to 5 years of prison time, a fine of up to $7,000 and a 5-year suspension regardless of the level of BAC. In addition, the convicted driver has the option of using an ignition interlock device after 4 years. A fifth conviction is a class E felony, punishable by a fine not more than $10,000 and 3 to 5 years prison time. A sixth conviction is a class D felony punishable by a fine not more than $10,000 and 4 to 8 years prison time. A seventh conviction is a class C felony punishable by a maximum fine of $15,000 and 5 to 15 years prison time.