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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. Understanding how your state handles drunk driving can help you find a knowledgeable Delaware DUI defense attorney to help resolve your case.

Delaware Drunk Driving Laws

Delaware law criminalizes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with a BAC of .08% or more, or with any amount of illegal or recreational drugs in the driver’s bloodstream. This includes being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. This means you could be charged if you consumed alcohol and were found sitting in the driver’s seat of your car with it running.

For commercial drivers, there is a lower threshold of .04%. However, Delaware has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, which means any measurable amount of alcohol in your system for an underage driver could result in an underage drinking and driving charge.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC over .15%; driving under the influence with a child under the age of 17 in the vehicle; causing an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death; prior convictions

first-time offender of this misdemeanor may be subject to imprisonment of not more than 12 months; a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,500;  and be required to attend an alcohol evaluation or treatment program. Other penalties are based on the BAC level of the driver.

Second-time offenders may face penalties for this misdemeanor of imprisonment of not less than 60 days nor more than 18 months: a fine of not less than $750 nor more than $2,500. The mandatory minimum sentence may be suspended if you complete the “Common Pleas Driving Under the Influence Treatment Program” in which the offender shall complete a minimum of 30 days of community service.

Three or more DUI convictions give rise to a Class G Felony charge. This includes penalties of up to 1-2 years imprisonment; a fine of not more than $5,000; and a requirement to attend an alcohol evaluation and treatment program.

What Is a DUI in Delaware?

If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and driving, 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.

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 your blood alcohol concentration. If you refuse to take the test, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year.

For a second offense of failure to take the test, your driving privileges will be suspended for 18 months. For the third and subsequent offense, your driving privileges will be suspended for 24 months. Even if you don’t take a chemical test, you can still be convicted of a DUI.

What is Delaware’s Ignition Interlock Device Program?

The ignition interlock device (IID) license authorizes the driver to operate a vehicle with full Class D operator driving privileges only when the vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock device. A Delaware-registered vehicle must be used for the IID. The IID license is not available for CDL class vehicles.

Legal Help from a Delaware DUI Attorney

Fortunately, those arrested for drunk driving in Delaware have a chance to fight against the harshest penalties. Your DUI defense attorney can investigate the circumstances behind the chemical testing and arrest to ensure your rights are protected. In many cases, your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the DUI penalties.

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