The Court of Common Pleas in New Castle County has implemented a unique procedure for handling most motor vehicle cases. The concept is designed and is implemented as a “Traffic Court,” which is held each Tuesday. Intended to reduce the number of court appearances required by the public, and to expedite the disposition of motor vehicle cases, the Court combines Arraignment and Trial into a single appearance.
If you transfer your case from the Justice of the Peace Court to the Court of Common Pleas, you will receive a notice advising you to come prepared for both Arraignment and Trial on your scheduled appearance date. You must bring all necessary witnesses and documents, (e.g., proof of insurance, vehicle registration, notice to appear, etc.), with you on the scheduled date to avoid having to appear a second time.
Arraignment by prior pleading (Rule 10(c)) filing will only be accepted for traffic offenses in exceptional circumstances. All defendants are required to appear. Should there be an unavoidable conflict, continuance requests must be submitted to the Court in writing, at least three days in advance of the scheduled appearance.
If you wish to be represented by the Public Defender, it is important that you schedule an interview with the Public Defender’s Office five (5) working days prior to your court date to determine whether you are eligible for representation. The Public Defender’s Office is located on the Second Floor of the New Castle County Courthouse, 500 N. King Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 Please note that not all traffic cases are eligible for Public Defender representation.
Driving under the influence, 21 Del. C. § 4177 and Driving after Judgment Prohibited 21 Del. C. § 2810, offenses are not included in Traffic Court proceedings.
Once you have arrived at the New Castle County Courthouse on your scheduled appearance date, you should proceed to the 5th floor and check in with one of the Bailiffs/Security Officers on the floor.
If you need an interpreter, a Spanish interpreter will be present on that day. If you need an interpreter for another language, please contact the court at least seven (7) working days prior to traffic court so that arrangements can be made.
A Deputy Attorney General will be in the Courtroom to speak with you about a possible plea offer. If you decide to enter a plea, you will be given documentation to sign prior to going before the Judge.
When the Judge takes the bench, he/she may hear from private attorneys followed by clients with an interpreter, the incarcerated, Public Defender clients, and others who may be scheduled for other events. Your case will be called as quickly as possible; however, because of the number of cases on the calendar, please be prepared to stay at least until 1:30 p.m. if you are taking a plea.
If you wish to have a trial in your case, you should be prepared to go to trial in the afternoon. The trial calendar begins at 1:30 p.m. Please make sure that you and your witnesses are ready for trial at 1:30 p.m.
Please be advised that Witnesses/Officers are scheduled to appear for the afternoon session only.
If you have entered a plea or if you are found guilty at trial, you will be directed by the Bailiff to wait in the hallway to be seen by the Office of Costs and Fines to take care of your financial obligations or to make payment arrangements. Please do not leave before you make financial arrangements.
Click on the link to see about Traffic Court Frequently Asked Questions.