Q. What will happen if I'm charged with a DUI?

A: Driving Under the Influence
Delaware Motor Vehicle Laws concerning the arrest and disposition of driving while under the influence violations provide that:

It applies to anyone who drives, operates or has actual physical control of a vehicle, off-highway vehicle or moped while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. All such persons, by so doing, shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or test of blood, breath and/or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol and drugs.

A person who drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs is subject to both criminal and administrative penalties.

A person convicted of driving under the influence in another state will have his/her driving privileges revoked in Delaware.

Administrative Procedures
The driver's license will be taken by the police officer at the time of arrest and a temporary license good for 15 days will be issued. The driver will have 15 days to request an administrative hearing in writing by mail or fax, or in person at an office of the Division of Motor Vehicles. The temporary license may be extended at this time if eligible. The license will be revoked at the end of the 15-day period if no hearing is requested.

The Motor Vehicle Administrative Hearing will be held to determine:

  1. Whether a police officer had probable cause to believe that the driver was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  2. Whether a preponderance of evidence exists that the driver was driving under the influence. A chemical test of .08% or greater or the presence of any drug is conclusive evidence that the driver was under the influence.
  3. Whether the driver refused a chemical test after being informed of the penalty for refusing such a test.
If the driver receives an unfavorable ruling at an administrative hearing, the driver's license will be revoked for:

DUI Offense Refused Chemical Test
3 months for 1st offense 12 months for 1st refusal
12 months for 2nd offense 18 months for the 2nd refusal
18 months for 3rd offense or more 2 years for the 3rd refusal


D.U.I. Court Procedures
At the time of arraignment, the driver may elect to apply for enrollment in the First Offender Program in lieu of standing trial. If this option is selected, the application will constitute a waiver of the right to a speedy trial. The court will notify the Division of Motor Vehicles. The following are criminal penalties associated with court convictions:

First Offense Multiple Offenses
12-24 Month revocation 24-60 months revocation
Fine: $230 to $1,150 Designated Felon:
Third in five years or fourth or more
Sentence: Imprisonment not more than six months Imprisonment


NOTE: Anyone who has three or more moving violations within two years; injured someone else in an accident; had a BAC of .15% or more; was driving while not licensed, or while their license was revoked or suspended; or was transporting a child while under the influence may not be permitted to participate in a "First Offenders Election Program."

Subsequent Offense:
  • 24-60 month year revocation of driving privileges.
  • Fine:$575 to $2,300
  • Sentence:MANDATORY imprisonment for 60 days to 18 months.
All DUI sentences are carried on the driving record for a minimum of five years. No driver's license will be reinstated for a DUI offense until the driver has satisfactorily completed a course of instruction or program of rehabilitation, such course or program to be determined by a screening evaluation.

Additional information concerning the revocation action may be obtained by contacting the Motor Vehicle Revocation Section (Phone: 302.744.2508). Information concerning the alcohol evaluation, course of instruction, or program of rehabilitation may be obtained by contacting the Delaware DUI Evaluation/Referral Unit 800.551.6464 for Kent and Sussex Counties. For New Castle County and out of state residents, call 302.656.2810.

Other factors to be considered before drinking and driving are:
  • The expense and hardship to your family
  • May jeopardize your employment
  • Your insurance rates will be increased significantly
The Law Pertaining To A Juvenile Driving While Under The Influence
For a violation of the Delaware Law pertaining to drinking and driving, the Family Courts must submit an order to the Division of Motor Vehicles to revoke the license and/or driving privileges of any juvenile until such time as they are of age (21 years old).

Zero Tolerance Law
If you are under 21 years of age, as little as one drink may make it illegal for you to drive. The law says that anyone under the age of 21 years, who drives, operates or has actual physical control of a vehicle, an off-highway vehicle, or a moped while consuming or after having consumed alcohol, shall have his/her driver's license revoked for a period of 2 months for the first offense and not less than 6 months or more than 12 months for each subsequent offense. If the underage person does not have a driver's license, the person shall be fined $200 for the first offense and not less than $400 nor more than $1000 for each subsequent offense.

Underage Consumption Or Possession
Anyone under the age of 21 years who has alcoholic liquor in his/her possession or consumes alcoholic liquor, can have his/her Delaware driver's license revoked for a period of 30 days for the first offense and not less than 90 days nor more than 180 days for each subsequent offense.

Implied Consent Law
Anyone arrested for driving, operating or having actual physical control of a vehicle, an off-highway vehicle, a moped or a bicycle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of any drug shall be deemed to have given consent to submit to a chemical test or tests of breath, blood, and/or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood.

If the person refuses to submit to the test designated by the officer, reasonable steps can be taken to conduct such tests without the person's consent. Upon such refusal the arresting officer will deliver a report of refusal to the Motor Vehicle Division who shall revoke the person's driver's license and/or driving privileges for one to two years depending on the number of previous DUI offenses, probable cause and/or chemical tests refusal offenses.

Ignition Interlock Device Programs

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles currently has 2 programs available for the Ignition Interlock Device: First Offense Election - Ignition Interlock Device (FOE-IID) Diversion and a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program for subsequent offenders. An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) license cannot be issued until the participant has met the minimum qualifications. For further information regarding the IID programs or Ignition Interlock Program application, please contact the revocation section at 302.744.2508.

First Offense Election - Ignition Interlock Device (FOE-IID) Diversion
At the time of arraignment in court, the driver may elect to apply for enrollment in the First Offender Program if he/she has never had a previous or prior conviction or offense for driving under the influence. If this option is selected, the enrollment will constitute a waiver of the right to a speedy trail. The court will notify the Division of Motor Vehicles. If a person accepts the First Offenders Program, the enrollment will also constitute a waiver to the right for an administrative hearing and any previous request for a hearing will be withdrawn. If a person has accepted the first offense election and has taken a chemical test, they may also elect at that time to participate in the First Offense Election - Ignition Interlock Device (FOE-IID) Diversion program as part of his/her probation. The person must hold a valid Delaware license at the time of offense in order to qualify for this program.

After election of the First Offense Election - Ignition Interlock Device (FOE-IID) Diversion the driver may apply for an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) license under the following terms:
  1. Provide proof of enrollment in a course of instruction and/or rehabilitation as designated by the court and pay all associated fees related to the course.
  2. At least one month has elapsed since the day the revoked license was received by the Division.
  3. Complete an Ignition Interlock Program application.
  4. Provide proof of insurance for the vehicle to which the Ignition Interlock Device is to be installed.
  5. Your driver's license and/or privilege is not revoked for another violation that would prohibit the issuance of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) license.
Any person who elects the FOE-IID Diversion program must remain on the Ignition Interlock Device license for 5 months from the date of issuance of the IID license. Prior to reinstatement, the Division must have received a satisfactory program completion. A reinstatement fee in the amount of $143.75 must be paid to the Division at the time of reinstatement. The Division will then authorize removal of the Ignition Interlock Device.

Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Program
Any person who has been convicted of a first or subsequent driving under the influence of alcohol charge may be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on all vehicles owned by the offender.

The offender must have had a valid Delaware license at the time of the offense in question. Provide proof of enrollment in a course of instruction and/or rehabilitation as designated by the court and pay all fees associated with the course.
  1. The license must be surrendered to the Division of Motor Vehicles prior to the installation of the IID.
  2. For a first offense the license must be revoked for one month prior to the installation of the IID. For subsequent offenses, the license must be revoked for 12 months prior to installation of the IID.
  3. Complete an Ignition Interlock Program application.
  4. The offender's driver's license and/or privileges are not revoked for another violation that would prohibit the issuance of an IID license.
  5. You must have a favorable Character Background Review by the Division of Motor Vehicles. (Please call the DMV at 302.744.2508 to request this form.)
Any person who is convicted of a first offense may be required to have the IID installed on all vehicles registered in his/her name one month from the effective date of the revocation. Any person who is convicted of a subsequent offense must have the IID installed on all vehicles registered in his/her name 12 months from the effective date of the revocation. Prior to reinstatement, the Division must have received a satisfactory program completion. A reinstatement fee in the amount of $143.75 must be paid to the Division at the time of reinstatement. The Division will then authorize removal of the IID. Even if the entire period of revocation is served, the IID must still be installed on all vehicles owned by the offender for a minimum period of 3 months prior to reinstatement. The Division will then authorize removal of the IID. Even if the entire period of revocation is served, the IID must still be installed on all vehicles owned by the offender for a minimum period of 3 months prior to reinstatement or a minimum period of 6 - 48 months, depending on when the offense occurred.
 
For further information please contact the Revocation Section at 302.744.2508.
 

Q. May I lose my license for too many points?

A: Driver Improvement Problem Driver Program

Purpose: The Driver Improvement Problem Driver Program is designed to identify problem drivers, to change the problem driver's behavior by providing information and training opportunities and, if necessary, to progressively impose sanctions as more convictions/points are accumulated on individuals driving record. This program is governed by Administrative Code 2208 (formerly Division Policy Regulation #45). The goal of the program is crash prevention. The steps in the program are geared to the seriousness of the driving record and may result in an advisory letter, mandatory suspension, and/or completion of a behavioral modification/attitudinal-driving course. A reinstatement fee of $25.00 must be paid to the Division of Motor Vehicles in order to reinstate the license.

Delaware Point System

Violation Points
Speeding 1-9 miles per hour (MPH) over posted limit 2
Speeding 10-14 MPH over posted limit 4
Speeding 15-l9 MPH over posted limit 5
Speeding 20 MPH or more over posted limit 5*
Passing a Stopped School Bus 6
Reckless Driving 6
Aggressive Driving 6
Disregarding Stop Sign or Red Light 3
Other Moving Violations (contained in Chapters 27, 41, 42 of Title 21) 2
*(May result in additional actions including suspension)

Calculated Points
Calculated points are credited at full point value for the first 12 months from the date of violation. After the initial 12 months have expired, the calculated points will be credited at one-half point value for the next 12 months. All actions are based upon total calculated points within a 24-month period following the offense.

Driver Improvement Problem Driver Program Actions:

Calculated Points Action Item
8 The Division of Motor Vehicles sends the driver an advisory letter.
12 Driver must complete a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within 90 days after notification (unless extended by DMV). Failure to comply or upon preference of the driver, mandatory 2-month suspension will be imposed.
14 Mandatory 4-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous 2 years.
16 Mandatory 6-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavioral modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous 2 years.
18 Mandatory 8-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous 2 years.
20 Mandatory 10-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, he driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous 2 years.
22 Mandatory 12-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous 2 years.


Point Credit

A speeding violation of 1 to 14 mph over the posted speed limit will not be assessed points, IF (a) it is the first violation within any three (3) year period and (b) the ticket is paid through the Voluntary Assessment Center.

A Delaware driver can receive a 3-point credit by taking a defensive driving course. This credit is applied to a driver's point total with the satisfactory completion of an approved defensive driving course. Defensive driving courses are valid for three (3) years.
Serious Speeding Violations
  1. Advisory letter sent to the driver when convicted for speeding 20-24 MPH over the posted speed limit
  2. The driver will be suspended for one (1) month when convicted of driving 25 MPH over the posted speed limit. The length of suspension will increase by one month for each additional 5 MPH over the initial 25-MPH threshold. The driver may elect to attend the behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course in lieu of license suspension when driving 25-29 MPH over the posted limit. For speeding 30 MPH over the posted limit or more, the suspension is mandatory.
  3. One-year suspension when convicted of driving 50 MPH or more over the posted speed limit or driving 100 MPH on a highway.
Occupational License
The Division may issue an occupational license during the period of suspension under the Driver Improvement Problem Driver Program if the suspension has created an extreme hardship unless the driver is suspended or revoked for other Title 21 convictions. An occupational license shall not be issued if the driver has had 2 previous suspensions under this policy within the previous 3 years or has been issued an occupational license during the previous 12 months. Occupational licenses are not issued during the first month of the suspension. If the calculated point level reaches 15 or more points in a 24-month period, an occupational license will not be issued until the calculated points are less than 15 points. Upon receiving a conviction of any person for a charge of operating a motor vehicle in violation of the restrictions of the occupational license, the Division will extend the period of suspension for an additional like period. The Division will also direct the person to surrender the occupational license.

Driving During Suspension or Revocation
A conviction for driving during suspension or revocation shall extend the period of suspension or revocation for a like period up to one year. No driving authority will be permitted during the balance of the initial suspension or revocation and the extended period. Any driving authority previously issued by the Division must be surrendered.

For further information regarding the Driver Improvement Problem Driver Program, please contact the Suspension Section at 302.744.2509.
 

Q. How do I request an administrative hearing for a DUI?

A: Administrative Procedures

The driver's license will be taken by the police officer at the time of arrest and a temporary license good for 15 days will be issued. The driver will have 15 days to request an administrative hearing online, in writing by mail or fax, or in person at an office of the Division of Motor Vehicles. The temporary license may be extended at this time if eligible. The license will be revoked at the end of the 15-day period if no hearing is requested.

The Motor Vehicle Administrative Hearing will be held to determine:

  1. Whether a police officer had probable cause to believe that the driver was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  2. Whether a preponderance of evidence exists that the driver was driving under the influence. A chemical test of 10% or greater or the presence of any drug is conclusive evidence that the driver was under the influence.
  3. Whether the driver refused a chemical test after being informed of the penalty for refusing such a test.

If the driver receives an unfavorable ruling at an administrative hearing, the driver's license will be revoked for:



DUI Offense Refused Chemical Test
3 months for 1st offense 12 months for 1st refusal
12 months for 2nd offense 18 months for the 2nd refusal
18 months for 3rd offense or more 2 years for the 3rd refusal