Delaware DUI Laws & Penalties

Delaware DUI law states that it is a misdemeanor offense for any person with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Delaware while under the influence of alcohol.  You may also be arrested for DUI if you are under the influence of a controlled substance and your chemical test is .05% or greater.

Delaware also operates under a 'zero tolerance' law for anyone under 21 years of age.  If you are under 21 years of age and are stopped while operating or in physical control of any motor vehicle, you are in violation of Delaware's 'zero tolerance' law and your driver's license will be revoked for two months for a first offense.  A second or subsequent DUI offense for anyone under 21 years of age will face a revocation of their driver's license for a period of not less than 6-months and no more than 12-months.



When you are arrested for a driving under the influence violation in Delaware you will not only be facing the criminal charges of driving under the influence, but you will also be facing administrative actions taken against your driver's license by the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  You must request an administrative hearing within 15 days of your arrest if you wish to retain your driving privileges.

Failure to request an administrative hearing will result in a minimum 3-month revocation of your driver's license.  It is extremely important that you contact a Delaware DUI lawyer who has experience in handling DMV administrative hearings immediately following your arrest if you hope to retain your driving privilege.

Delaware Administrative Hearing Process

When you are stopped and arrested for suspicion of DUI, the arresting officer will take your driver's license and issue you a temporary license that is good for 15 days, you have 15 days from the day of your arrest in which to request your administrative hearing.  A request for an administrative hearing can be filed online or you may also file a request in writing by mail or fax.

What is the purpose of the DMV hearing?

The purpose of the DMV hearing is for the DMV to:

  • To review the evidence against you to determine if the arresting officer had probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • To establish whether or not the evidence provided to the DMV by the arresting officer concludes that you were indeed under the influence.  A chemical test of .08% or greater is sufficient evidence for the DMV to uphold the revocation of your driving privileges.
  • If you refused the chemical test, the DMV must be able to conclude that the arresting officer informed you of the revocation penalty for refusing the chemical test.

An unfavorable ruling by the DMV or failing to request a DMV hearing will result in the following license revocation periods:

  • A first offense will result in a 3 month revocation.
  • A second offense will result in a 12 month revocation.
  • A third or subsequent offense will result in an 18 month revocation.

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The penalties for test refusal are:

  • 12-month revocation for a first offense
  • 18-month revocation for a second offense
  • 24-month revocation for a third or subsequent offense

Obtaining A Delaware Conditional Driver's License

First time DUI offenders in Delaware may be eligible for a conditional driver's license if they elect to apply for enrollment in the first offender program and meet the following requirements:

  • They did not refuse or fail to complete a chemical test.
  • Have completed a minimum of 16 hours in an education/treatment program approved by the state.
  • The revoked license was turned over to the DMV.
  • A Character Background Review was completed if your BAC was .15% or greater.
  • You did not drive while under the revocation period.
  • You pay a $10 conditional license fee.

If you are eligible for the program you will have the chance to apply for the program at your arraignment hearing.  by accepting admittance into the program you waive your right to the administrative hearing at the DMV.  At the time of acceptance you may also elect to participate in the First Offense Election - Ignition Interlock Device Diversion Program or (FOE-IID).

When you elect the FOE-IID Diversion program you must remain on the ignition interlock device license for 5 months from the date of the IID license issuance.  The DMV will require you to pay a $143.75 license reinstatement fee at the end of the 5 months before they will authorize the removal of the ignition interlock device from your vehicle.

You are also responsible for the installation fee of the ignition interlock device and the monthly leasing fee of the ignition interlock.

Delaware First Offense DUI

A first offense DUI charge in Delaware means that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or greater and you have had no prior DUI convictions.  A first offense DUI charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: The jail time for a first offense charge will be between 60 days and 6 months.  The amount of jail time imposed is at the court's discretion.
  • Fines: The minimum fine amount is $230 and can increase up to $1,150 at the court's discretion.
  • Test refusal: A first refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation. If under 21 the revocation will be 2 years.
  • Ignition interlock: First time offenders who had a BAC of .15% or higher may enter the IID Diversion program when they are at their arraignment hearing. This will allow them to drive with an IID equipped vehicle after serving a 30 day revocation period.
  • License revocation: Your driver's license will be revoked for 1-year following a first offense conviction.  You may be granted a reduction in the length of your revocation period with admittance into the "First Offender Program".  You will also be required to file a proof of financial responsibility in the form of Delaware SR22 insurance before the DMV will reinstate your license.

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Delaware Second Offense DUI

A second offense DUI charge in Delaware means that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or greater and you have been convicted of one prior DUI offense.  A second offense charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: The minimum jail sentence for a second offense charge will be 60 days and the maximum jail time is 18 months.
  • Fines: The fines for a second offense charge will be $750 up to the maximum of $2,500 and is at the court's discretion.
  • Test refusal: A second offense refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation. If under 21 the revocation will be 2 years.
  • Ignition interlock: A second or subsequent offender will be required to have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they will be driving after the first 12 months of their revocation period.  You will be responsible for all the installation and monthly fees associated with the ignition interlock device.
  • License revocation: If your blood alcohol concentration was below .16% or you refused a chemical test your license will be revoked for 18 months. If your blood alcohol concentration was .16% to .19% your license will be revoked for 24 months.  A blood alcohol concentration above .20% will result in your license being revoked for 30 months.  You will also be required to file a proof of financial responsibility in the form of Delaware SR22 filing before the DMV will reinstate your license.

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Delaware Third Offense DUI

A third DUI offense within 5-years of your two prior offenses is a felony offense in Delaware.  A third offense charge carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: The mandatory jail sentence for a third offense charge will be 1 to 2 years in jail.  The length of the jail sentence will be at the court's discretion and will be based upon the circumstances surrounding your case and the previous convictions.
  • Fines: The minimum fine for a third offense DUI charge is $1,500 and can go as high as $5,000 at the court's discretion.  The fine amount will be based upon the circumstances surrounding the offense, plus your previous offenses.
  • Test refusal: A third refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation. If under 21 the revocation will be 2 years.
  • Ignition interlock: A second or subsequent offender will be required to have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they will be driving after the first 12 months of their revocation period.  You will be responsible for all the installation and monthly fees associated with the ignition interlock device.
  • License revocation: If your blood alcohol level was .16% or less or you refused or failed to complete any part of the chemical test your license will be revoked for 24 months.  If your blood alcohol concentration was between .16% and .19% your license will be revoked for 30 months.  If you blood alcohol concentration was .20% or greater your license will be revoked for 36 months.  You will also be required to file a proof of financial responsibility in the form of Delaware SR22 insurance Filing before the DMV will reinstate your license.

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Delaware Fourth Offense DUI

A fourth DUI offense in Delaware is a felony charge at anytime following your three previous charges.  There is no time limit on the look back period.  A fourth offense charge carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: The mandatory jail sentence for a fourth offense charge will be 2 to 5 years in jail.  The length of the jail sentence will be at the court's discretion and will be based upon the circumstances surrounding your case and the previous convictions.
  • Fines: The minimum fine for a fourth offense DUI charge is $3,000 and can go as high as $7,000 at the court's discretion.  The fine amount will be based upon the circumstances surrounding the offense, plus your previous offenses.
  • Test refusal: A fourth refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation. If under 21 the revocation will be 2 years.
  • Ignition interlock: A second or subsequent offender will be required to have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they will be driving after the first 12 months of their revocation period.  You will be responsible for all the installation and monthly fees associated with the ignition interlock device.
  • License revocation: The length of revocation will be determined by the court and will be based upon the circumstances surrounding your case and your previous convictions.  You will also be required to file a proof of financial responsibility in the form of Delaware SR22 insurance filing before the DMV will reinstate your license.


Delaware SR22 Requirements

Before the Delaware DMV will reinstate your license following your revocation period or before issuing you a conditional license, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 filing for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your Delaware SR22 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Delaware DMV of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Delaware DMV will immediately suspended your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the DMV before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Delaware and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't be able to find a SR22 insurance policy in Delaware for any less. Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.

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Other Delaware DUI Resources

  • Delaware First Offense DUI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • Delaware Second Offense DUI - Second offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • Delaware Third Offense DUI - Third offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • Delaware Fourth Offense DUI - Third offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • Delaware SR22 Insurance Filings - We have compiled everything you need to know about Delaware's SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Delaware Drinking Driver Programs - We offer a complete listing of state approved DUI drinking driver programs.

  • Delaware Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of Delaware bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.