Delaware DUI 101
Delaware DUI laws assert that drivers over the age of 21 may be declared legally drunk if their blood alcohol concentration meets or exceeds .08 percent. Drivers under 21 cannot have a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent or higher. As for commercial drivers and school bus drivers, the blood alcohol limit is .04 percent.
Delaware DUI Penalties
After a first offense, the DUI offender must visit the local DMV or the department’s website and request an administrative hearing within 15 days of the incident. If the offender fails to ask for a hearing within the allocated time, he will face at least three months of license suspension.
If the driver opts for an administrative hearing, the court will investigate the claims and the evidence. Those found guilty of a DUI will be punished with a three-month license suspension. Subsequent offenses will lead to longer suspension periods, ranging up to 18 months. A fine may also be imposed, and the amount of that fine will vary depending on the severity of the case or the number of repeated convictions. A sentence of jail time is also possible.
Refusing to take the chemical test will result in severe penalties. Refusing to take the test during a first offense results in a 12-month suspension. Another refusal during the second offense leads to an 18-month suspension. Refusal to undergo testing after three or more offenses results in a 24-month suspension.
Rather than standing trial, first time offenders can enroll in the First Offense Election program, in which the offender admits guilt and begins a one-year license suspension term; however, an opportunity to obtain a restricted license is available after a month within the program.
A first time offender can opt for the First Offense Election – IID Diversion, which allows for limited driving opportunities, despite a suspension sentence. This option is only available if a valid driver’s license is presented and a chemical test was taken after the incident. The driver must also have faced at least one month of license suspension and finished an alcohol education program.
This option is not available if the driver has previous DUI incidents on record (these sentences stay on record for at least five years), had a blood alcohol level of .15 or greater during the incident, had a child under 17 years old in the car during the incident or caused injury to a pedestrian, passenger or another motorist.
If the driver qualifies for the First Offense Election — IDD Diversion, a restricted license will be available and the offender’s car will be suited with an ignition interlock device.
DUI and Alcohol Treatment Programs
Offenders must also submit to the Delaware Evaluation and Referral Program. After paying a fee of $100, the convicted driver will meet with an evaluator, who will examine the driver’s record and background. Based on the evaluation, the driver may be ordered to enroll in an education program, outpatient treatment program or mental health program. These programs come with their own fees. For example, the education program comes with a $250 fee, while the outpatient treatment will require a $750 enrollment fee. The length of Delaware DUI programs will also vary.