What Is a Felony DUI in Delaware?

How a DUI can become a felony in Delaware.

A person can be convicted of "driving under the influence" (DUI) in Delaware for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or with any amount of an unlawfully consumed recreational or illicit drug. A Delaware DUI is generally a misdemeanor but can be charged as a felony depending on aggravating circumstances and criminal history.

Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony DUI charges in Delaware.

Third DUI Conviction Is a Felony

A third or subsequent DUI conviction is a felony in Delaware. In some states, only recent prior convictions (such as those within the past ten years) are counted. But in Delaware, all prior convictions—regardless of how long ago they occurred—are counted. Also, prior convictions that are counted include out-of-state DUI convictions, DUI diversions, and wet reckless convictions.

Generally, here are the penalties you'll face for a third or subsequent DUI conviction.



License Penalty

3rd Offense (Class G)

1 to 2 years

Up to $5,000

24 months

4th Offense (Class E)

2 to 5 years

Up to $7,000

60 months

5th Offense (Class E)

3 to 5 years

Up to $10,000

60 months

6th Offense (Class D)

4 to 8 years

Up to $10,000

60 months

7th or Subsequent Offense (Class C)

5 to 15 years

Up to $15,000

60 months

The jail time minimums above are somewhat misleading because there are circumstances where the actual amount of time in jail can be less than the listed minimum. However, for a felony DUI, the offender can still expect to spend at least three months in jail for a third offense, six months in jail for a fourth offense, and so on.

All violators must complete a drug and alcohol abstinence program, which includes 90 days of alcohol monitoring and random testing. A judge can also order an offender to complete inpatient substance abuse treatment.

Manslaughter Under the Influence

A driver charged with DUI can also be charged with vehicular manslaughter if his or her negligence caused the death of another person. A conviction will generally be a class D felony and carry up to eight years in prison (minimum one year of prison without probation). The driver's license will also be revoked for three years. If the driver showed "reckless disregard for the life and safety of others," the charge will be a class C felony and carry up to 15 years in prison.

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