Many people are not aware after an arrest in Delaware for driving under the influence that there are actually two proceedings that commence, the criminal, as well as a civil proceeding. While the criminal proceeding can result in fines, points on your license, and potentially jail time, the civil proceeding can only cost you your driving privileges.
What Happens First?
It begins when an arrest is made and the officer hands the driver a temporary drivers license. Upon receipt of this the driver must request a hearing at the DMV within 15 days or their driving privileges will be suspended and they will be required to take a driver improvement class to regain the ability to drive in Delaware. This will happen no matter the outcome of the trial.
An out of state driver may have just been visiting the Delaware beaches and may have no intention of returning and this begs the question, why do they care if Delaware suspends them? The reason an out of state driver should care is that when it becomes time to renew their license in their home state, they may do a check on other jurisdictions and discover the problem in Delaware, and then suspend the driver.
The most important thing to remember about the civil hearing is that you must sign up for the hearing, or have a lawyer do it for you. This will retain your privilege to drive in Delaware until the case has been decided. What is nice about these particular hearings is that an attorney can request the hearing, and appear for the driver, saving the driver, especially an out of state driver, the hassle of coming to Delaware for a hearing.