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What are the penalties for a first offense DUI in Delaware?

While many DUI laws in the United States are standardized to some extent, states still retain control of certain practices when it comes to the penalties stemming from a DUI conviction. In Delaware, you will face fines, possible jail time, alcohol awareness classes and license suspension if you are convicted of a DUI, much like any other state.

A viable arrest
In the state of Delaware, any blood alcohol content (BAC) above .05 is considered grounds for a potential DUI arrest. Every state in the country recognizes .08 as the legal limit for a DUI, but you can be arrested if you test for a BAC level between .05 and .79 and officers provide evidence of your impairment.

Delaware also recognizes the implied consent law, like every state in the Union. Under this law, if you refuse a BAC breathalyzer test, you will automatically be arrested for a DUI, and your likelihood of obtaining a restricted license is greatly reduced. Some penalties are often stricter if you refuse a breath test.

What to do after an arrest
When you are arrested for suspicion of DUI, the arresting officers will confiscate your license and issue you a temporary, 15 day driving permit. You have 15 days from the date of your arrest to schedule a hearing with the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to apply for license reinstatement.

At your hearing, a judge will take into consideration the legality of your arrest along with the circumstances and level of your intoxication and decide whether or not your license should be revoked.

In most cases in this state, your license will be revoked. License revocation for a first offense DUI can last up to a year. After 90 days, you are eligible to apply for a conditional license through the DMV. An experienced DUI attorney can help you with the requirements for obtaining this license.

Fees and jail time
Fines for a first offense DUI in Delaware can total up to $1,150, not including court costs and other fees. You may also face up to 6 months in jail for a first offense DUI, though jail time is discretionary and will likely be tied to the circumstances of your arrest. Any aggravating factors in your case, including an excessively elevated BAC or aggressive driving, may increase the likelihood that you will face jail time.

Awareness classes
Like many states, Delaware also mandates that you attend alcohol awareness classes following a conviction for a first-offense DUI.