Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Delware

An arrest for drunk driving in Delaware can be truly frightening, especially if it is the first time you’ve faced such charges. The penalties for driving under influence can be severe, so it’s best to make sure you understand your rights, the charges and the possible penalties before you appear in court.

How Does Delaware Define Driving Under the Influence?

If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are operating, driving or otherwise in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, you can be arrested for DUI. If you take a chemical test that shows .08 percent or greater blood alcohol concentration, or there is the presence of any drug, illegal or prescription, you may be convicted of DUI. You might also be arrested if a chemical test shows your BAC is more than .05 percent.

Delaware’s Implied Consent Law

Implied consent means that if you are suspected of driving under the influence in Delaware, you agree to provide a sample of your breath, blood or urine to determine what your blood alcohol concentration is. If you refuse to take the test, then your driving privileges will be suspended for one year. For the second offense of failure to take the test, your driving privileges will be suspended for 18 months. For the third and subsequent offense of failure to take the test, your driving privileges will be suspended for 24 months. This is all in addition to any suspension handed down.

Can I challenge my DUI under Delaware DUI Law?

Yes. At the time of a DUI arrest, a police officer will take your Delaware driver's license and issue a 15 day temporary license, unless your driver's license has already been suspended or revoked. You must personally request an administrative hearing at DMV within 15 days of your arrest or your driving privilege will be lost for a minimum of 3 months. All DUI sentences are carried on the driving record for a minimum of 5 years

There are 3 situations where you may request an Administrative Hearing:

  1. If you are challenging a Chemical Refusal Charge, or
  2. If you are challenging whether the policeman had probable cause to pull you over for DUI, or
  3. If you are challenging your BAC level.

Can I avoid a trial after being charged with DUI in Delaware?

You may, at the time of arraignment, elect to apply for enrollment in a First Offense Election program in lieu of standing trial. If you elect to apply, the application will constitute an admission of guilt and a waiver of the right to a speedy trial. You also agree not to request an administrative hearing at the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or to withdraw any request previously made for this violation. The court will notify DMV of your decision. DMV will revoke your license and/or driving privilege for a period of one year for the First Offense Election and any applicable period of revocation for the administrative action of probable cause or refused chemical test.

What is Delaware's Ignition Interlock Program?

Individuals eligible for the program are:

·         First Offense Election ­ IID Diversion ­ Election must be made at Court
·         Refused Chemical Test Offenders
·         2nd or Subsequent DUI Offense

This is a voluntary program that is paid for solely by the offender. The cost is $70.00 for installation and $55.00 per month plus tax to rent the equipment. An offender must apply through DMV for this program. The IID license authorizes the holder to operate a vehicle with full Class D operators driving privileges only when the vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock device. The IID license is not available for CDL class vehicles. A Delaware registered vehicle must be used for the ignition interlock device program.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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