TITLE 11

Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Procedure in Particular Courts

CHAPTER 59. JUSTICES OF THE PEACE


In all criminal cases in all counties where a justice of the peace has jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter and the accused has the right to elect to have the case tried by the Court of Common Pleas, every justice of the peace shall advise such accused of the accused's right to so elect, before the justice shall have jurisdiction to try the case.

Code 1915, § 3763E; 29 Del. Laws, c. 250; 37 Del. Laws, c. 262, §§ 17, 19, 20; 38 Del. Laws, c. 199, §§ 1, 2; 40 Del. Laws, c. 235, §§ 1, 2; 40 Del. Laws, c. 236; Code 1935, §§ 5811, 5839; 42 Del. Laws, c. 184; 46 Del. Laws, c. 176; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5901; 50 Del. Laws, c. 58, § 1; 58 Del. Laws, c. 432; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

In every case of assault in which the defendant elects to be tried in the Justice of the Peace Court, the prosecution shall proceed consistent with the Justice of the Peace Court Criminal Rules.

Code 1852, § 2016; Code 1915, § 3958; Code 1935, § 4458; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5905; 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 3.;

Every justice of the peace shall cause to be arrested, on proper complaint, all persons found within the justice's county charged with any offense and all persons who, after committing any offense in such county, shall escape out of the same.

Code 1852, § 2035; Code 1915, § 3976; Code 1935, § 4476; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5906; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Repealed by 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 2, effective June 13, 2006.;

(a) When complaint is made in due form to a justice of the peace, alleging that an offense has been committed, the justice shall carefully examine the complainant on oath or affirmation and if the justice considers there is probable ground for the accusation, the justice shall issue the law enforcement officer a warrant.

(b) A warrant of arrest may be in the form prescribed by the Justice of the Peace Court Criminal Rules.

(c) The warrant shall ordinarily be directed to any law enforcement officer in the county in which the alleged offense was committed, but in case of an emergency the warrant may be directed to any law enforcement officer in the State.

(d) A copy of the complaint shall be attached to the warrant.

Code 1852, §§ 2023-2025; Code 1915, § 3968; Code 1935, § 4468; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5910; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, §§ 4-6.;

Repealed by 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 2, effective June 13, 2006.;

A warrant of arrest, issued by a justice of the peace in 1 county, may be executed in any county of the State. The constable or officer having it in hand may command aid as in the constable's or officer's own county.

Code 1852, § 2036; Code 1915, § 3977; Code 1935, § 4477; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5912; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Upon the arrest of any person according to this chapter, the person arrested shall be brought before a Justice of the Peace Court in the county in which the offense was alleged to have occurred unless a Justice of the Peace Court in another county is closer to the place where the offense was alleged to have occurred, in which case the prosecution may be before said Court.

(b) The Justice of the Peace Court before which the person is brought shall try the case so far as to determine whether the defendant ought to be discharged, or bound for the defendant's appearance at court or held to answer finally before the Justice of the Peace Court. In which last case, the justice shall proceed to hear fully and to determine the case. But if the matter is not properly cognizable before the justice for final decision, the justice shall commit, or bind, the party for the party's appearance at the court having cognizance of the case.

Code 1852, § 2026; Code 1915, § 3970; Code 1935, § 4470; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5913; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 342, §§ 1, 2.;

Anything else in this or any other chapter or title notwithstanding, those proceedings specified by court rule may be conducted by audiovisual device. Audiovisual monitors shall be situated in the courtroom and at the location where the defendant is physically located so as to provide the public, the court and the defendant with a view of the proceedings. Such court proceedings may be conducted by a Justice of the Peace Court in the same or another county from that in which the defendant is physically located.

71 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 1.;

(a) If a justice of the peace considers there is probable ground for an accusation, the justice shall, in case of a capital crime, commit the accused for trial, and in any other case bind the accused, with sufficient surety, for the accused's appearance at such court having jurisdiction of the offense for the county where the offense is alleged to have been committed, and, if the accused does not give such surety, shall commit the accused for trial.

(b) The justice shall also bind material witnesses for their appearance, without surety, unless the justice believes the witness will not appear, and that the loss of the witness' testimony ought not to be risked. In which case, justice may require surety and may commit the witness if it is not given.

(c) Such binding of the accused and of the witnesses shall be as provided in Chapter 21 of this title.

Code 1852, §§ 2030-2032; Code 1915, § 3972; Code 1935, § 4472; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5915; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 7.;

Any justice of the peace, in the exercise of that justice's criminal jurisdiction, may issue subpoenas and other warrants into any county in the State for summoning or bringing any person to give evidence in any matter triable before the justice and may enforce obedience by fine or imprisonment. Such subpoenas and warrants shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the Rules of the Court.

Code 1852, §§ 2033, 2034; Code 1915, §§ 3973, 3974; Code 1935, §§ 4473, 4474; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5916; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 130, § 2.;

(a) Justices of the peace and other officers of this State, who give persons charged with the commission of any crime, preliminary hearings, shall endorse on the back of such commitments and recognizances, the names of state's witnesses, and their place of residence. The Prothonotaries of the respective counties shall insert the place of residence of such witnesses after their names in the subpoenas.

(b) Whoever violates this section shall be fined not more than $10.

18 Del. Laws, c. 239; Code 1915, § 3975; Code 1935, § 4475; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5917.;

(a) The Justice of the Peace Court, upon request and payment or tender of the legal fee, shall make and certify under seal a true transcript of all the docket entries in any cause before the court, or upon any record in the court's possession, or if specially required, a full and true copy of all the records, entries, process and papers in or touching in such cause. Such transcript or copy shall be received in evidence in any court.

(b) Upon an appeal, a transcript shall be sufficient, unless a full copy be specially requested. Upon a certiorari, the Justice of the Peace Court shall make a full copy of the entire record and proceedings.

(c) Whoever, being authorized to prepare or issue a transcript or record of the proceedings, upon such request and payment or tender of the lawful fees:

(1) Refuses or neglects to perform the duty required by this section; or

(2) Falsely certifies any such transcript or full copy; or

(3) Uses any fraud, falsehood or deceit in making the same,

shall be fined not more than $100, and shall be liable to the party aggrieved in double damages.

(d) Any court reviewing the record on appeal or on application for a writ may, in a proper case, supported by affidavit, require the production of the original record.

Code 1852, §§ 2053-2056; Code 1915, § 3987; Code 1935, § 4486; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5918; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 8.;

(a) All fines, costs, restitution, penalties, charges and emoluments imposed or levied by the Justice of the Peace Court, including those costs now levied for constables, shall be for such amounts as are provided by law, and all such amounts imposed or levied shall be collected by the Justice of the Peace Court imposing the same for which a proper receipt shall be given to the person paying the same. Every and all amounts so collected shall be recorded showing the purpose for which the amounts were collected, the name of the person paying same and such other information as the Justice of the Peace Court may require. The information so maintained shall be open to inspection by the State Treasurer and the State Auditor or their authorized agents at all times. All fines and penalties collected for each calendar month shall be paid over by the Justice of the Peace Court to the State Treasurer within 15 days after the first day of the succeeding calendar month, provided that any such fines or forfeitures which, by the laws of this State, are due and payable to a county or municipality thereof shall be paid by the Justice of the Peace Court to the county or municipality entitled thereto.

(b) All fines collected for the violation of any of this title, in the limits of any county, incorporated city or town in this State where arrests are procured by the authorized representatives of that county, incorporated city or town, shall be paid to that county, incorporated city or town within which such offense was committed for the use of that county, incorporated city or town. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to entitle any county to fines, penalties or forfeitures arising from an arrest made under this title by an authorized representative of that county for a violation committed within any incorporated city or town. All the fines, penalties and forfeitures imposed and collected in any county of this State for violation of any of the laws of this title, where the arrests are procured by the authorized representatives of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, shall inure and be paid to the State Treasurer for the General Fund. Such fines, penalties and forfeitures shall be collected as other fines, penalties and forfeitures are collected under the laws of this State, and the officers collecting them shall make a monthly report thereof to the State Treasurer on blanks to be furnished for that purpose by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. All costs collected for the violation of any of this title shall be paid to the jurisdiction whose court imposed said costs.

Code 1852, § 2017; Code 1915, § 3959; Code 1935, § 4459; 43 Del. Laws, c. 229, § 1; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5919; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 33D; 55 Del. Laws, c. 359; 57 Del. Laws, c. 123; 63 Del. Laws, c. 141, § 2; 65 Del. Laws, c. 218, §§ 1, 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 138; 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, §§ 9, 10.;

Repealed by 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 2, effective June 13, 2006.;

(a) Justices of the peace shall have jurisdiction throughout the State to hear, try and finally determine any violation or violations of any ordinance, code or regulation of the governments of their respective counties and municipalities, including those classified in such ordinance, code or regulation as misdemeanors. Any person convicted of such violations may be fined not more than $1,000 for each violation.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, in any municipality with a population greater than 50,000 people, and in New Castle County, any offense under the building, housing, health or sanitation code which is classified therein as a misdemeanor, the sentence for any person convicted of such a misdemeanor offense shall include the following fines and may include restitution or such other conditions as the court deems appropriate:

(1) For the 1st conviction: no less than $250, nor more than $1,000;

(2) For the 2nd conviction for the same offense: no less than $500, nor more than $2,500; and

(3) For all subsequent convictions for the same offense: no less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000.

In any municipality with a population greater than 50,000 people, a conviction for a misdemeanor offense, which is defined as a "continuing'' or "ongoing'' violation, shall be considered a single conviction for the purposes of paragraphs (1)-(3) of this subsection. For all convictions subsequent to the 2nd, the minimum fines required herein shall not be suspended, but such amounts imposed over the minimum may be suspended or subject to such other conditions as the court deems appropriate. The provisions of this subsection relating to municipalities with a population greater than 50,000 people shall not apply to offenses or convictions involving single family residences that are occupied by an owner of the property.

(b) Every person convicted under this section shall have the right to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of this State. No such conviction or sentence shall be stayed pending appeal unless the person convicted shall give bond in an amount and with surety to be fixed by the justice of the peace before whom such person was convicted, at the time such appeal was taken. Such appeal shall be taken and bond given within 5 days from the time of conviction.

(c) Election to have a case tried by the Court of Common Pleas pursuant to § 5303 of this title shall not be applicable to violations under this section, except that any violation under this section accompanied in the same case by an additional charge or charges over which the Court of Common Pleas has jurisdiction is eligible to be transferred under such election.

(d) All fines collected for the violation of any ordinance, code or regulation of any county or municipality of this State where a summons was issued or where an arrest was procured by the authorized representatives of that county or municipality shall be paid to that county or municipality within which such violation occurred for the use of that county or municipality; otherwise such fines shall inure and be paid to the State Treasurer for the General Fund. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to entitle any county to fines, penalties or forfeitures arising from a summons issued or an arrest made under this section by an authorized representative of that county for a violation committed within any incorporated city or town. Fines, penalties and forfeitures collected under this section shall be collected and disbursed as other fines, penalties and forfeitures are collected and disbursed under the laws of this State, and the officers collecting them shall make a monthly report thereof to the State Treasurer on blanks to be furnished for that purpose by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. All costs collected for the violation of any county or municipal ordinance, code or regulation shall be paid to the jurisdiction whose court imposed said costs.

11 Del. C. 1953, § 5921; 58 Del. Laws, c. 38; 59 Del. Laws, c. 263, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 218, § 3; 67 Del. Laws, c. 358, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 423, § 17; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 138; 74 Del. Laws, c. 153, § 2; 74 Del. Laws, c. 322, § 5; 75 Del. Laws, c. 212, § 2; 78 Del. Laws, c. 133, § 1.;

All traffic and criminal warrants and bonds shall be retained of record in the Justice of the Peace Court that issued same. A justice of the peace shall certify transcripts of such records to be a true copy of the original.

27 Del. Laws, c. 275; Code 1915, § 3963; 28 Del. Laws, c. 239; 34 Del. Laws, c. 218; Code 1935, § 4463; 11 Del. C. 1953, § 5924; 59 Del. Laws, c. 315, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 11.;

Repealed by 75 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 2, effective June 13, 2006.;

From any order, ruling, decision, judgment or sentence of the Court entered in a Justice of the Peace Court in a criminal action pursuant to this title in which the sentence shall be imprisonment exceeding 1 month or a fine exceeding $100, the accused shall have the right of appeal to the Court of Common Pleas in and for the county wherein the offense was committed. Such appeal to the Court of Common Pleas shall be tried de novo.

70 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 1.;