Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I was arrested for my first Delaware DUI last night. I generally understand the DUI laws in our state, but I was wondering if you could give me more information and tell me exactly what I need to know.”
Delaware DUI overview
In the State of Delaware, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) if you are operating or you are in actual physical control of a motorized vehicle. And although you can be immediately arrested after a chemical test if your blood alcohol concentration is .08% or greater, you may also be arrested for DUI with a chemical test less than the legal limit if the state believes they have sufficient evidence that you were not able to safely operate your vehicle.
Implied consent- what you need to understand
Drivers in the State of Delaware have given their implied consent to submit to a chemical test if they are arrested for DUI. If you refused to take the chemical test after an arrest you will immediately lose your license and/or driving privileges for a period of one year for a 1st offense, 18 months for a 2nd offense and 24 months for the 3rd subsequent offense. Keep in mind, these penalties are administrative not criminal penalties and can be imposed regardless of whether you are eventually charged with DUI.
Drivers have 15 days to request an administrative hearing following their DUI arrest. Written requests must be made at a state DMV facility. After the request is made a hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing the court will review whether there was probable cause for the DUI arrest and whether there is a preponderance of evidence that the driver was driving, operating, or in actual physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The court will also determine if the driver refused to submit to the chemical test.
Penalties for First-time Delaware DUI
Like all states, Delaware considers a DUI charge to be a serious offense. Penalties and fines if convicted of a first-time DUI include the following:
- Jail time between 60 days and six months
- Minimum fines of $230 which can increase up to $1,150 at the court’s discretion
- Ignition interlock device may be required if the driver chooses to participate in the IID Diversion program
- License suspension up to 30 days with participation in the IID program
- License suspension up to one year, although a reduction in length may be granted with admittance into the “First Offender Program”
- Mandatory proof of financial responsibility and purchase of SR22 insurance
How long with the DUI conviction remain on my record?
States have implemented what is termed a wash-out or look-back period to determine how long a prior DUI arrest and conviction will remain on a driver’s record and be considered relevant for sentencing for all future DUI convictions.
Although most states have a five or 10 year DUI look back period, in the State of Delaware a DUI conviction will stay on your record and can be counted against you for future DUI sentencing forever.
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