Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Aug 21, 2019

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Understanding the laws for DUIs in Delaware is essential if you live or drive in the state. Driving can be a very nerve-wracking experience under normal circumstances.

With the number of cars on the road and the fact that everyone seems to be in such a hurry having an accident is a constant concern for most people.

Add the fact that the person driving next to you might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the road can be a very dangerous place. Here is what you need to know to drive safely in Delaware.

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Will your driver’s license be revoked for a DUI in Delaware?

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles for the state of Delaware, there is a very specific process for someone suspected of a DUI. Anyone can be arrested for a DUI if they are operating a vehicle or moped after drinking or doing drugs.

A person is considered to be legally drunk if their blood alcohol content is .08% or higher, and any type of drug use classifies someone for a DUI.

A police officer can investigate anyone for a DUI if they have a reason to believe they are intoxicated. Since Delaware has what is known as an implied consent law, the driver is required to submit to a chemical test.

This test is used to assess just how intoxicated the driver actually is. If the driver refuses to take the test, their license is immediately revoked. For the first offense the license is revoked for one full year.

Once a driver is found to be intoxicated, they are arrested for DUI and their license is immediately taken away. At this point, the driver will be issued a temporary license that is only valid for 15 days.

It is the driver’s responsibility to request a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days. If they fail to request the hearing in the proper amount of time, their license will be revoked for at least three months.

How long will your driving privilege remain revoked?

The Department of Motor Vehicles hearing only determines how long the driver’s license will be revoked; it does not have anything to do with jail time or other criminal punishments.

If the hearing does not go in the driver’s favor, their license can be revoked for:

  • Three months for their first offense
  • One year for their second
  • A year and a half for their third

If the driver refuses the chemical test, these times are increased to:

  • One year for their first offense
  • A year and a half for their second
  • Two years for their third

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How are the court procedures for a DUI in Delaware handled?

After the drunk driver is arrested, they will be taken to jail and, within a few days, they will be arraigned. Many major decisions will be decided at arraignment.

If this is the driver’s first DUI arrest and they meet the qualifications, they may participate in a program known as First Offense Election.

By choosing this option, the driver will not have to go to trial for the DUI and does not have a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles. This option allows the driver to get their license reinstated after one month with the condition that an ignition device is installed in their car.

To be considered eligible for this program, the driver must have no previous DUIs on their record and cannot have more than three accidents or tickets on their record in the past two years.

They are not eligible for this program if they:

  • Hurt someone during the DUI
  • Were driving without a valid license
  • Had a child under the age of 17 as a passenger at the time of the DUI
  • Had a blood alcohol content higher than 15%

If the driver is not eligible for the First Offense Election program, they must then go to trial. If they are found guilty, the punishments can be severe.

What are the punishments for DUI in Delaware?

For a first offense, the driver can face up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,500.

Their second offense brings a mandatory two months in jail with a maximum sentence of up to a year and a half. This offense also costs the driver up to $2,500 in fines and, depending on the driver’s blood alcohol content, a license suspension of up to two and a half years.

A third DUI conviction is considered a Class G felony and requires:

  • At least one year in jail
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • A license suspension of up to four years

A fourth DUI conviction carries the highest punishment with:

  • A minimum of two years jail time
  • Fines up to $7,000
  • A mandatory license suspension of five years

As you can see, the consequences of being found guilty of a DUI are quite serious. It is best to practice good judgment and not to chance driving if you are under the influence, whether alcohol or illegal, OTC or prescription drug-related.

Not only are you putting your own life at risk, but also innocent lives.

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Related posts:

  1. California DUI Laws
  2. Utah DUI Laws
  3. New Jersey DUI Laws