First Offense DUI in Delaware

A first DUI in Delaware will result in both criminal and administrative penalties for the offender. Penalties may differ for drivers under 21, commercial drivers and drivers with high blood alcohol content (BAC), or who drive with minors in their car.

Administrative Penalties

Refusals to submit under Delaware’s implied consent laws results in administrative license suspension of 1 year, which is doubled if the driver is under the age of 21. A first offense DUI in Delaware results in administrative license suspension for 3 months, with suspension periods increasing based on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the offender at the time of the arrest.

Reinstatement during the suspension period, in the form of a hardship/restricted license, is possible for first offenders. However, it will require the use of an ignition interlock device.

Criminal Penalties

How Much Will it Cost?

To get an idea of how much a first offense DUI will cost you, see our article on the cost of a DUI.

First offense DUI convictions in Delaware result in no mandatory minimum period of incarceration, but offenders face maximum potential penalties as follows: 12 months license revocation for BAC less than .15; 18 months license revocation for BAC between .15 and .19; 24 months license revocation for BAC .20 or greater or refusal to submit to a chemical test. In addition, the driver may be subject to a fine of $500.00 to $1,500.00 and a jail sentence for up to 12 months.

Convictions influence charges, penalties faced, and sentencing of subsequent DUI arrests in Delaware for life.

Getting Legal Help

Delaware does not bar a plea option involving a reduction of charges to lesser criminal offenses. However, the specific elements of each case, as well as whether legal counsel is involved, will dictate whether this is feasible or not. For more information, consult with a Delaware DUI lawyer.


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