Delaware DUI Penalties

Delaware DUI law and penalties

Each State in the United States is given the authority to write their own laws on Driving Under the Influence, or better known as DUI. Withing this article, we will explore the different DUI laws within the specific State of Delaware, and their penalties. To begin with, there is what is known as a "Lookback Period" of a lifetime. Meaning, that all prior DUI's become relevant to the sentencing you are now facing with your current DUI. This is also known as a "washout" period. 

What constitutes a high BAC for a DUI in Delaware?

  • Under 21: .02%
  • 21 or Older: .08%
  • Commercial: .04%

There is never an acceptable time to drink and drive, as your vision, reasoning, along with your mental capacity to make quick and important decisions and judgments are severely hindered and are not capable of bouncing back to what you are able to perform without alcohol in your system. Each person is different, and their tolerance level for alcohol is severely unpredictable making it impossible to say how many drinks are "normal" or not. This is what requires law enforcement to perform chemical testing on suspected DUI offenders. If you are pulled over and requsted to take a chemical test to determine your BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content, Delaware has an implied consent law. This means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. For refusal to take the chemical test, the penalties are as follows:

  • First Offense: 1 year license suspension (2 years if under 21 years of age)
  • Second Offense: 1 year license suspension (2 years if under 21 years of age)
  • Third Offense: 1 year license suspension (2 years if under 21 years of age)

What are the penalties within the Delaware DUI laws?

There are several penalties within the Delaware DUI laws, and we will explore them in this section. Should you be pulled over and found guilty of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol within the boarders of the State of Delaware, the following are the consequences that you will be facing:

Penalty of Jail:

  • First Offense: Maximum 6 months
  • Second Offense: 2 to 18 months
  • Third Offense: 1 to 2 years
  • Fourth Offense: 2 to 5 years

Penalty and Fines:

  • First Offense: $500 to $1,500
  • Second Offense: $750 to $2,500
  • Third Offense: $1,500 to $5,000
  • Fourth Offense: $3,000 to $7,000

Penalty of License Suspension:

  • First Offense: 12 to 24 months
  • Second Offense: 24 to 30 months
  • Third Offense: 24 to 36 months
  • Fourth Offense: 60 months

Penalty of Ignition Interlock Device:

  • First Offense: No
  • Second Offense: Possible, after 24 months
  • Third Offense: Possible, after 24 months
  • Fourth Offense: Possible, after 48 months

Additional Penalties:

  • Fifth DUI Offense: for a fifth offense occuring any time after 4 prior offenses, you will be guilty of a Class E Felony, fined not less than $3,500 and no more than $10,000, and imprisoned no less than 3 years and no more than 5 years. 
  • Sixth DUI Offense: for a sixth offense occuring any time after 5 prior offenses, you will be guilty of a Class D Felony, fined no less than $5,000 and no more than $10,000, and imprisoned no less than 5 years and no more than 8 years.
  • Seventh DUI Offense: for a seventh offense occuring any time after 6 prior offenses,or for any subsequent offense, you will be guilty of a Class C Felony, fined no less than $10,000 and no more than $15,000, and imprisoned no less than 10 years and no greater than 15 years.

Conclusion

It is important to note that laws change, as well as their interpretation and application of them. Due to the fact that there are multiple jurisdictions within a State, and each may choose to enforce the laws in different ways, it is very important to prepare for the unexpected. For this reason it would be in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced and professional lawyer who is well versed in Delaware DUI law, and is capable of giving you the direction you need for your specific case, along with being fully aware of the current laws pertaining to DUI. 

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