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Drivers will face serious charges in Delaware for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Disobeying DE DUI laws will bring motorists harsh penalties for drinking while driving. For instance, some consequences include accumulating demerit points on your driving license, high traffic fines and car insurance rates, driver’s license suspension or revocation and jail time. Facing drunk driving fines may require drivers to hire attorneys who will help them win the case in court. Find out more about Delaware DUI laws by reading the following section.

DUI Citations and Convictions in Delaware

Drivers will have drunk driving charges added to their driving records for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI charges will be raised against you when you are pulled over by a police officer and found to be under the influence while driving your motor vehicle. As a result, you will face various penalties which have varying severities. These depend on the number of previous traffic offenses you have committed and your age. The first four DUI offenses are considered traffic violations. However, committing a fifth, sixth or seventh DUI violation in Delaware will be considered as Class E, D or C felony, respectively.

Delaware DUI Violations and Penalties

DUI convictions in Delaware have varying penalties that can change based on the motorist’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level and on the number of previous DUI charges and convictions. Continue reading below for more information about the different DUI charges and the penalties that go with them.

First DUI Offense

Committing a first DUI offense in Delaware will suspend your driving privileges for a period of 12 months for a BAC level below .15 percent, or 18 months for a BAC level between .15 and .19 percent. A 24 month driver’s license revocation will be issued to drivers who show a BAC level of .20 percent or more, as well as if drivers refuse to take the BAC test. In addition to the penalties for a first offense, drivers will also be required to participate in the ignition interlock program.

Second DUI Offense

The DUI penalties in Delaware for a second offense are stricter and may cause you to lose your driver’s license for a period of 18 months for a BAC level of less than .15 percent, or for 24 months for a BAC level between .15 and .19 percent. Drivers will lose their driving privileges for a period of 30 months if they refuse to take the BAC test, or if they submit to it and show a BAC level of .20 percent or more. In addition, drivers may face several other penalties given by the court, such as: driving fine between $750 and $2,500 and imprisonment for a period from 60 days to 18 months.

Third DUI Offense

A third DUI offense in Delaware will cause you to lose your driving privileges for:

  • 24 months for BAC level of .15 percent.
  • 30 months for BAC level between .15 and .19 percent.
  • 36 months for a BAC level of .20 percent or more.
  • 36 months for refusing to submit to a BAC test.

Additionally, the penalties imposed by the court will require drivers to pay driving fines of up to $5,000 and to spend time in jail from one to two years.

Fourth DUI Offense

Committing a DUI offense for the fourth time will result in you losing of your driver’s license for a period of 60 months, regardless of the BAC level. The consequences determined by the court for a fourth DUI offense include paying a traffic fine of up to $7,000 and a prison sentence of two to five years.

Fifth DUI Offense

A fifth DUI offense in Delaware may result in a driver’s license suspension for a period of 60 months, regardless of the BAC level. The fifth DWI conviction is considered a Class E felony by the court and it may require drivers to pay driving fines of up to $10,000 and spend time in jail for three to five years.

Sixth DUI Offense

The penalties for a sixth offense include loss of your driving privileges for a period of 60 months, regardless of the BAC level. Additionally, the court may impose more severe DUI charges, since a sixth DUI violation is considered as a Class D felony. Drivers will also receive a traffic fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of four to eight years.

Seventh DUI Offense

A seventh DUI offense in Delaware will result in the loss of your driver’s license for a period of 60 months, regardless of the BAC level. The seventh drunk driving conviction is considered a Class C felony by the court, which will prompt them to give offenders additional punishment, such as a traffic fine of up to $15,000 and a jail sentence of five to 15 years.

Delaware DUI Attorneys

A Delaware drunk driving lawyer is a legal representative who specializes in DUI citation laws and who will defend you in court when needed. Drivers charged with a DUI are encouraged to hire the best DUI lawyer to represent them in court. In order to get help, motorists need to conduct background checks for several DUI attorneys in order to select the most suitable one for their specific situation.

Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in Delaware

Drivers will get a driver’s license suspension when they disobey state laws and operate their motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The license reinstatement process may vary depending on the severity of the DUI offense and the number of previously committed traffic violations. Motorists must satisfy the reinstatement requirements prior to regaining their driving privileges. In certain situations, drivers who are charged with a DUI may enroll in traffic school in order to improve their driving habits and to become more responsible motorists.

Note: Although the license reinstatement process in some states requires drivers to provide proof of car insurance, also known as SR-22 insurance, Delaware does not require any SR-22 documentation.

Delaware Alcohol Awareness Classes

Drivers with drunk driving charges in Delaware may be required to complete an alcohol awareness program after committing an offense. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a serious offense which may bring you both criminal and administrative penalties. These penalties can include:

  • A license suspension or revocation.
  • Hefty traffic ticket fines.
  • Time in prison.

Delaware Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI

The DUI laws in Delaware determine the allowed blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level for drivers who are operating motor vehicles. The Implied Consent Law requires drivers to submit to a BAC test when requested by a law enforcement official. Therefore, harsh DUI consequences, such as driver’s license revocation, will be given to drivers who fail or refuse to take the BAC test. Additionally, the Delaware laws include the Zero Tolerance Law that does not allow drivers younger than 21 years of age to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs. Minor drivers will face the following DUI penalties if found with any intoxicants in their system:

  • Driver’s license revocation.
  • Traffic fines.
  • Mandatory completion of a Delaware Evaluation and Referral Program.

Note: Unlike in most states, in Delaware it is not illegal to operate a motor vehicle with an open container of alcohol present in the vehicle. However, the driver is not permitted to drink and drive, although passengers of legal drinking age are free to consume alcoholic beverages in the vehicle.

Delaware Hardship License

Motorists who have had their license suspended may apply for a hardship or occupational license, which will allow them to drive a motor vehicle to work or school and back. Drivers who are charged with a DUI must contact a local DE DMV office in order to check their eligibility for hardship licenses. The occupational license will be issued only to drivers who:

  • Have not had two previous suspensions on record with the DMV in the last three years.
  • Have not accumulated more than 15 demerit points on their driving records in a period of 24 months.
  • Have not been issued a hardship license in the last 12 months.
Last updated on Monday, September 24 2018.

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