Repeat DUI offenders in Delaware may soon get the help they need to combat their alcohol abuse problems and get back on the road if the House and Governor approve a bill passed by the Senate last week.
The bill would allow repeat DUI offenders who plead guilty to their DUI charges to get their driver’s licenses back sooner through a voluntary alcohol or substance abuse treatment program. Upon successfully completing the program, which can last up to nine months, repeat offenders would get their licenses back and their jail time suspended.
However, to receive their licenses, repeat drunk drivers who complete the program must also install a car breathalyzer, or ignition interlock, in their vehicles. Drivers would have to breathe into the device before they can turn on their car. If the car breathalyzer detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car won’t start.
Designed for repeat DUI offenders who show they may be helped by alcohol treatment, the program would be limited to 50 participants at a time. During the program, participants would be under strict supervision to ensure they don’t drink alcohol. Participants would also have to wear anti-alcohol patches to help decrease their dependence on alcohol.
The alcohol treatment bill is just one of three drunk driving bills making its way through the Delaware legislature. One of those bills would expand ignition interlock use among convicted drunk drivers in Delaware. Currently only first-time offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or higher and all repeat offenders are required to install the device. Under the proposed legislation first-time offenders with a BAC of 0.08 or higher would be required to install an interlock for at least four months. The interlock bill passed the House last week and now heads to the Senate.