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What Are the Delaware DUI Laws?

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious criminal offense. In some states this offense is referred to as "driving under the influence (DUI)" while in other states it is called "driving while intoxicated (DWI)." This article provides a brief overview of Delaware's DUI laws.

Code Section

Delaware Code section 4177: Driving a Vehicle While Under the Influence

What's Prohibited?

Driving a vehicle:
  • While under the influence of alcohol
  • While under the influence of any drug
  • While under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs
  • With an alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more
  • When the driver's alcohol concentration is, within four hours after the time of driving, 0.08 or more (without regard to the driver's alcohol concentration at the time of driving), or
  • When the driver's blood contains, within four hours of driving, any amount of an illicit or recreational drug that is the result of the unlawful use or consumption prior to or while driving

Penalties

First offense: Punishable by a fine of $500 to $1,500, and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months.

Second offense within 10 years: Punishable by a fine of $750 to $2,500, and imprisonment for 60 days to 18 months.

Third offense: Punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, and imprisonment for one to two years.

Fourth offense: Punishable by a fine of up to $7,000, and imprisonment for two to five years.

Fifth offense: Punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, and imprisonment for three to five years.

Sixth offense: Punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, and imprisonment for four to eight years.

Seventh offense: Punishable by a fine of up to $15,000, and imprisonment for five to 15 years.

In some instances these penalties will be modified based on the offender's completion of a drug and alcohol abstinence program, a drug and alcohol treatment program, and whether the offender is less than 17 years old,

The court may also require DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock device.

Revocation of Driver's License

Any offender convicted of a DUI offense in Delaware will have their driver's license revoked for a period of:

  • First offense: At least 12 months.
  • Second offense: At least 24 months.
  • Third offense: At least 24 months.
  • Fourth offense: 60 months.

Drinking While Driving Prohibited

In Delaware, it is illegal to consumer an alcoholic beverage while driving. Under this law "consuming an alcoholic beverage" means ingesting alcohol while operating a motor vehicle in the presence of, or in the view of, a police officer.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Delaware's DUI laws contact a local DUI attorney.

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