Delaware Drunk Driving Fines & Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a DUI conviction in Delaware.

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Local Defense Attorney.

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small

What are the penalties for a DUI in Delaware?


1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

4th Offense

Jail

Max. 6 months

2 to 18 months

1 to 2 years

2 to 5 years

Fines and Penalties

$500 to $1,500

$750 to $2,500

$1,500 to $5,000

$3,000 to $7,000

License Suspension

12 to 24 months

24 to 30 months

24 to 36 months

60 months

IID** Required

No

Possible - after 24 months

Possible - after 24 months Possible - after 48 months

 

  • 5th DUI Offense: For a fifth offense occurring any time after 4 prior offenses, be guilty of a class E felony, be fined not less than $3,500 nor more than $10,000 and imprisoned not less than 3 years nor more than 5 years.
  • 6th DUI Offense: For a sixth offense occurring any time after 5 prior offenses, be guilty of a class D felony, be fined not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000 and imprisoned not less than 5 years nor more than 8 years.
  • 7th DUI Offense: For a seventh offense occurring any time after 6 prior offenses, or for any subsequent offense, be guilty of a class C felony, be fined not less than $10,000 nor more than $15,000 and imprisoned not less than 10 years nor greater than 15 years.

 

Lookback Period: Lifetime (Period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing. Also known as a “washout” period.)

**Ignition Interlock Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in Delaware?

Under 21

.02%

21 or older

.08%

Commercial

.04%

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

You may want to try our BAC Calculator, however I wouldn't let any results encourage you to drink and drive.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Delaware?

Delaware has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Delaware’s implied consent law.

 

1st Offense

2d Offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year license revocation (2 years if under 21 years of age)

1 year license revocation (2 years if under 21 years of age)

1 year license revocation (2 years if under 21 years of age)

Disclaimer: We try to keep the information provided here up to date. However, laws often change, as do their interpretation and application. Different jurisdictions within a state may enforce the laws in different ways. For that reason, we recommended that you seek the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in Delaware?

In some circumstances, a plea bargain of "wet reckless" might be accepted by the prosecution in Delaware. A "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, is usually made as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. A plea bargain of wet reckless might occur when the amount of alcohol is borderline illegal, there was no accident, and the defendant has no prior record. But if there is a subsequent drunk driving conviction, the "wet reckless" is usually considered a prior drunk driving conviction; the resulting sentence can be what's required for a second DUI/DWI conviction. If you are interested in trying to make a plea for a wet reckless, you'll need the help of a lawyer.

State of Delaware "First Offense Election"

A driver convicted of their first DUI in Delaware may choose to enroll in the first offender program if they have zero DUI convictions on their driving record. Election in the program allows the convicted driver to apply for an Ignition Interlock Device license. If all conditions are met, and the driver has been under suspension for a period of 30 days, they may be allowed to drive if an Ignition Interlock Device has been installed on their vehicle. The driver must remain on the program a minimum of 5 months from the date if receiving their Ignition Interlock Device license. For more details please use the DUI links at the end of this page.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Delaware

In the State of Delaware a driver is considered legally "impaired" when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or above. In addition, the presence of any drug is enough evidence to convict a driver of a DUI. You can also be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is below the .08 percentage limit if you appear to be impaired enough to pose a threat to others.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Delaware? Unfortunately there isn't one formula that works for all drivers. Every driver has a different physical make-up, and many factors such as weight, body fat percentage, number of drinks consumed within a certain time-frame all play a part in the impaired driver equation. Some studies have suggested that a persons BAC will increase .05 percent for each drink consumed within a short period of time, however this formula is not applicable to all drivers. 

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Delaware has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Delaware, you risk your freedom, finances and your future. If you are arrested for a first DUI your drivers license will be taken at the time of the arrest and you will be issued a temporary permit that will expire 15 days from the time of your arrest. After conviction, your license will be revoked for 1 year. You may receive a reduction in suspension under the "First Offender Program Election". The fine will be from $500-$1,500 and you will be imprisoned for 60 days to 6 months.

A Second arrest for DUI in the State of Delaware and your drivers license will be taken at the time of the arrest and you will be issued a temporary permit that will expire 15 days from the time of your arrest. After your second drunk driving conviction your license will be revoked for 18 months for a BAC less than .16 or refusal to submit to a chemical test. If your BAC was between .16 and .19 percent your license will be revoked for 24 months.

If your BAC is .20 or greater you will receive a 30 month revocation of your drivers license. The fine for your second DUI will be $750-$2,500 and you will receive a mandatory imprisonment for 60 days- 18 months. All second and future DUI convictions are required to have an ignition interlock device on all vehicles registered under the convicted drivers name after the first 12 months of revocation.

The third DUI arrest in Delaware is a Felony if it occurs within 5 years of the two prior offenses. After your third drunk driving conviction your license will be revoked for 24 months for a BAC less than .16 or refusal to submit to a chemical test.

If your BAC was between .16 and .19 percent your license will be revoked for 30 months. If your BAC is .20 or greater you will receive a 36 month revocation of your drivers license. The fine for your third DUI will be $1,500-$5,000 and you will receive a mandatory imprisonment for 1-2 years. All second and future DUI convictions are required to have an ignition interlock device on all vehicles registered under the convicted drivers name after the first 12 months of revocation.

Your fourth drunk driving arrest in Delaware is a Class "E" Felony any time after the first 3 offenses. After your fourth drunk driving conviction your license will be revoked for a time determined by the court. The fine for your fourth DUI will be $3,000-$7,000 and you will receive a mandatory imprisonment for 2-5 years. All second and future DUI convictions are required to have an ignition interlock device on all vehicles registered under the convicted drivers name after the first 12 months of revocation.

Talk to a Lawyer

Start here to find defense attorneys near you.
HOW IT WORKS
how it works 1
Briefly tell us about your case
how it works 2
Provide your contact information
how it works 1
Connect with local attorneys
LA-NOLO2:DRU.1.6.3.20141021.28794