First Offense DUI

What are the penalties associated with a First Offense DUI (non-FOP) conviction in Delaware?

There is NO mandatory jail time for a first offense DUI in Delaware. The court could sentence you up to 12 months in jail. However, most of the time the court will suspend any jail and order 1 year probation. There is a mandatory fine between $500 and $1500. You will have to get a drug and alcohol evaluation and attend the course of instruction. (DUI classes) The DUI course is the same course you would take if you were admitted to FOP. See our FOP page for details on the course.

Will I lose my license?

If you are an in-state driver convicted of a straight first offense DUI it is mandatory that you participate in the ignition interlock program. However, your license will be suspended and you will have to wait to have the interlock installed. For a first offense DUI the waiting periods are

  • 30 days - BAC under .15%
  • 45 days - BAC .15% or greater

You will not be able to drive until you get the device installed.

How long do I have to drive on the Ignition Interlock License before I can get my driver's license back for a First Offense DUI?
  • 12 months - BAC under .15%
  • 17 months - BAC between .15% and .19%
  • 23 months - BAC .20% or greater
If I am an out-of-state driver will my driver's license be suspended for a first offense DUI in Delaware?

Yes you will be suspended from driving in the State of Delaware for the following periods:

  • 12 months - blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under .15%
  • 18 months - BAC between .15% and .19%
  • 24 months - BAC was .20 or higher OR refusal of chemical test

Out-of-state offenders are not eligible for ignition interlock. You are not suspended in your home state unless you receive notification that you are suspended from your home state.

Should I do the First Offender Program (FOP) if charged with a first offense DUI?

Please read my FOP page explaining the program. Even if you are eligible my office may recommend rejecting this program. You can win DUI cases in Delaware. Contact our office for a free consultation (302) 482-4802 before taking FOP.

Should I plead guilty to a First Offense DUI?

Most likely you should NOT plead guilty to a first offense DUI. You should consult an attorney as early as possible. In Delaware there are alternatives to pleading guilty to a first offense DUI if you are not eligible for the FOP program. DUI is a technical area of the law and a skilled DUI lawyer can make a difference in DUI cases. For example, a DUI attorney may be able to contest the stop of the automobile, contest the probable cause to arrest, challenge the field sobriety tests, challenge the calibration of the breathalyzer, take the case to trial or plead guilty to a motor vehicle violation such as reckless driving.

Should I have my case transferred to the Court of Common Pleas from Justice of the Peace Court?

Court of Common Pleas judges are all lawyers and at times good at recognizing legal defenses regarding suppression of evidence and the failure of the prosecution to prove its case. My office typically transfers the case to the Court of Common Pleas.

Contact Us

The driver's license penalties are very burdensome in Delaware for a first offense DUI and my office may be able to mitigate the penalty or best case scenario win the case and avoid all penalties. We take DUI cases to trial and can actually beat them. Contact my office at (302) 482-4802 to schedule a free consultation if you or a loved one is facing a first offense DUI in the State of Delaware. Our office is conveniently located next to Trolley Square Shopping Center on Gilpin Avenue.

*Please note there is a difference between a first offense DUI and First Offender Program DUI. This page refers to the terms of a straight DUI where the Defendant is not going into the FOP program.