Delaware General Assembly



Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Subchapter XXXI, Chapter 6, Title 11 of the Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:


§ 611. Definitions

For the purposes of this subchapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them.

"Detoxification center" shall mean a medical facility, approved by the Department of Mental Health, or its successor, which shall provide appropriate medical services for intoxicated persons, including initial examination, diagnosis, and temporary treatment.

"Intoxicated person" shall mean a person whose powers of self-control have been substantially impaired because of the consumption of alcohol.

"Chronic alcoholic" shall mean a person who compulsively and habitually uses alcoholic beverages to the extent that they injure his health and interfere with his social and economic functioning.

"Sobriety" shall mean an individual's state of being when not under the influence of alcohol.

"Valid consent" shall mean the voluntary giving of assent to testing procedures by a legally competent person; in the case of a minor or incompetent, such assent shall be obtained from a parent or guardian of the individual or in the absence of either, a person in loco parentis, to undergo testing.

§ 612. Arrest and disposition; detoxification centers

(a) Any intoxicated person taken into custody for a violation of Section 471 of this Title shall immediately be taken to a detoxification center where he shall be admitted as a patient. At the time of such admission, the arresting officer shall leave a summons for such intoxicated person with the chief medical officer of the detoxification center ordering such intoxicated person to appear before a Justice of the Peace at a date not to exceed a period of five (5) clays from the date of admission to the center.

() Upon regaining sobriety and being informed of his physical condition, the person in custody shall inform the chief medical officer of the detoxification center as to whether, until such time as he is to appear for trial, he wishes to remain a patient or be released from custody.

(a) Should the person in custody validly consent to remain as a patient and to undergo testing procedures, he shall be tested to determine if he is a chronic alcoholic. A diagnosis of chronic alcoholism shall serve as an affirmative defense to violations of Section 471 of this Title.

(b) Should it be shown to the satisfaction of the Court that the person accused of intoxication suffers from chronic alcoholism, he shall be acquitted of the charge of drunkenness and;

(1) released from custody; or

(2) temporarily released from custody under such conditions of treatment as the Court may prescribe; such period of temporary release shall not exceed one year after which defendant shall be unconditionally released.

§ 613. Payment of expenses

Any person treated under the provisions of this Chapter shall, any law to the contrary notwithstanding, be responsible for the incurred expenses, and shall be billed for same by the Department of Mental Health.

Section 2. §1910, Title 11 of the Delaware Code, is amended by striking out the words "or that the person was arrested for drunkenness."

Section 3. Any action, case, prosecution, trial or any other legal proceeding in progress under or pursuant to the previous wording of the sections amended by this Act, no matter what the stage of the proceeding, shall be preserved and shall not become illegal or terminated upon the effective date of this Act. For purposes of such proceedings in progress the prior law shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 4. If any section, subsection, phrase, sentence, words or word shall be declared unconstitutional by the Superior Court or the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware of any Court of the United States, any other sections, subsections, phrases, sentences or words shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 5. After enactment into law, this Act shall become effective as follows:

(a) In New Castle County—fifteen (15) days later

(b) In Kent County—fifteen (15) days after the Governor signs an executive order stating that a Detoxification Center is available for Kent County

(c) In Sussex County—fifteen (15) days after the Governor signs an executive order stating that Detoxification Center is available for Sussex County.

Approved July 11, 1970.