Delaware Drunk Driving Laws
Research indicates that a person's ability to drive becomes impaired once the amount of alcohol in his or her bloodstream reaches 0.08%. Known as blood alcohol content (BAC), this calculation is one of the most influential factors for determining whether a driver should be arrested for DUI. As a result, it is against the law for Delaware drivers to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher—which means even if you show no signs of impairment, you are considered e legally intoxicated once your BAC reaches this level. However, on the other hand, you can be charged with drunk driving if your BAC is within the legal limit, but are driving in a manner that poses a threat to the safety of other motorists.
It is important to know that, under state law, certain drivers are subjected to lower BAC requirements than the recommended 0.08% limit. For example, underage motorists are permitted a BAC of only 0.02%, while commercial vehicle operators must adhere to a 0.04% limit.
Delaware drivers are also required to submit to chemical testing if an officer suspects them of driving under the influence. Known as “Implied Consent,” this legal requirement makes it a crime for a driver to refuse to perform any test that is used for the purpose of calculating BAC (such as a breathalyzer or blood or urine test).
If you are convicted of a Dui in Delaware, or found guilty of violating the state’s Implied Consent law, you can expect a fine of $500 or more, as well as a one-year license suspension and minimum 60-day jail sentence—and that’s just for a first-time offense. If you have a previous conviction, you'll face even tougher penalties, including a larger fine, longer suspension, and/or additional jail time.
Along with your prior record, the penalties for DUI vary based on the driver’s BAC at the time of his or her arrest. Individuals who are have a BAC between 0.16% and 0.19% are shown little leniency in court, and drivers who are arrested with a BAC of 0.20% or higher face the harshest penalties of them all, including a $750 to $2,500 fine, 60-day to 18-month jail sentence, and 30-month license suspension. Repeat offenders may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their automobile—requiring the driver to perform a breath test in order to operate his or her vehicle. If you were found guilty of four prior DUIs, your fifth offense will even be classified as a felony and carry a minimum three-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 fine.
If you were recently charged with violating one or more of the state's drunk driving laws, it is important to obtain legal representation immediately if you want to avoid a life-altering DUI conviction.