Delaware DUI Laws

Delaware DUI laws state that no driver over 21 can operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. This drops to 0.02% for drivers under 21.
Written by Michelle Ballestrasse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Delaware DUI laws state that any driver over the age of 21 cannot have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. Drivers under 21 cannot have a blood-alcohol level exceeding 0.02%.
Each year, over 10,000 people in the US are killed on the road as a result of drunk driving crashes.
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a dangerous crime and penalties vary by state. Even a first-time offense can cost drivers up to $10,000 in fines and legal fees—and it will most certainly impact your
Delaware car insurance costs
, too.
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What is a DUI?

A DUI is considered to driving under the influence while a DWI means driving while intoxicated or impaired. Each state determines the difference between the two.
With a DUI, the charge could mean that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination. Drugs, in this instance, do not mean specifically illegal substances and can include marijuana, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medicines. If taking these drugs impairs you in any way while driving, you may be charged with a DUI.
Some states use a different terminology altogether, favoring OUI (operating under the influence) or OWI (operating while intoxicated) instead.

DUI in Delaware

In Delaware, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of:
  • 0.08% or higher if you’re 21 or older
  • 0.02% if you’re under the age of 21
If you’re pulled over for a suspected DUI, your blood alcohol does not necessarily have to exceed the minimum threshold for you to be convicted of driving under the influence. If you demonstrate impaired behavior—regardless of your BAC—you may still be convicted of a DUI.
Every state has an implied consent law stipulating that you consent to be tested if you’re suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you’re lawfully arrested for a DUI, you must submit to a urine, blood, or breath test. Delaware drivers who refuse to do so are subject to a license revocation of one year at least. You do not have a right to consult with a lawyer before completing the test.

Penalties for DUI in Delaware

Penalties for DUIs are severe in Delaware. The conviction will remain on your driving record and criminal record for 5 years. It cannot be expunged.

First conviction

$500 to $1,500
6 months maximum
License suspension
1 to 2 years
Ignition interlock device required
SR-22 requirement
You also must enroll in a treatment or rehabilitation program before you can request a restricted license. With a restricted license, you will be permitted to drive, but your car must be fitted with an ignition interlock device (IID), which prevents you from starting the car if it senses any alcohol on your breath.
First offenders are immediately eligible for a restricted license upon enrollment.

Subsequent convictions

After your first conviction, the threshold for blood alcohol level for each subsequent DUI is reduced. If you are convicted of a DUI again, you’ll be subject to increased penalties, including longer license suspension.
Repeat offenders will be eligible for a restricted license, but unlike first offenders—who are immediately eligible upon enrollment in a treatment program—those with multiple offenses must wait a certain number of days, depending on how many previous convictions they have, to apply.
Key Takeaway Every state has minimum penalties for a DUI, which are often increased if you had a high blood-alcohol concentration or if you’ve had previous offenses.
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Does a DUI impact car insurance in Delaware?

Yes, insurance companies take DUIs very seriously and you’ll be classified as a
high-risk driver
With a DUI on your record, you can reasonably expect that insurance carriers will charge you significantly higher rates or may refuse to insure you entirely. That’s where
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Delaware is one of six US states that does not require an
after a DUI conviction.

Other effects of a DUI

Beyond the conviction penalties and higher insurance rates, DUIs can have some other lasting impacts on your life.
License revocation: After a DUI, you run the risk of having your license revoked if you’re charged with other serious offenses.
Ignition interlock device: All states have some type of ignition interlock program requiring drivers convicted of a DUI to install an interlock device in their vehicle to disable the engine if alcohol is detected on their breath.
Background checks: Your DUI will show up on a background check for up to five years after the conviction, which can cause issues for future employment endeavors.

How to find cheap insurance after a DUI

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