- What kinds of cases does the Justice of the Peace Court handle?
The Justice of the Peace Court handles
both civil and criminal cases. Civil cases handled in the Justice of
the Peace Court are those involving money debts, property damages, or
return of personal property. The amount of damages which may be sought
in the Justice of the Peace Court is limited to $15,000. The Justice
of the Peace Court is the only court in which actions involving possession
of a rental unit (including residential, commercial units and mobile
homes) may be brought.
The Justice of the Peace Court hears
the following types of criminal cases: designated misdemeanor cases,
local ordinance violations, traffic cases, and truancy cases among others.
In addition, the Justice of the Peace Court sets initial bail for cases
involving more serious offenses which will later be heard in the Court
of Common Pleas or the Superior Court.
- How do I know where to
file my claim?
If you are filing a civil claim
in the Justice of the Peace Court, a list
of the Justice of the Peace Civil Courts, with their addresses,
hours of operation, and directions is available. If the claim you are
filing involves a summary possession case, the complaint must be filed
in the court nearest the rental property. For other civil cases, you
will generally not be able to recover your court costs in any suit against
a Delaware resident unless you bring your action in a court in the county
in which the defendant resides.
- Can I get a marriage license
or a copy of my marriage license at a Justice of the Peace Court?
No. Marriage licenses are issued
by the Clerk of the Peace in the county in which you wish to be married.
You may reach the Clerk of the Peace at the following phone numbers:
New Castle County (302) 395-7780
Kent County (302) 744-2346
Sussex County (302) 855-7834
- Do I need a lawyer to represent
You are not required to have a lawyer
represent you in the Justice of the Peace Court. However, you may find
a lawyer to be helpful. If you are unable to pay for a lawyer, you may
be able to obtain assistance at no cost. Click
here for information on finding a lawyer.
A corporation or other artificial
entity or a public body, may appear in a Justice of the Peace Court
without a lawyer in civil cases only if a Certificate
of Representation (Civil Form 50) is filed and the other provisions
of Supreme Court Rule 57 are complied with.
- If I am found guilty of
a traffic violation, or if I pay a voluntary assessment, how many points
will I receive?
Points are assigned by the Division
of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You may contact DMV for information as to the
points which will be assigned for various motor vehicle violations.
- Will the Court clerks help
me to fill out the papers?
The Court clerks are not permitted
to give legal advice so they cannot help you to fill out Court papers.
However, the information on this web site is designed to help you with
the process. In addition, the Court has brochures and videos to help
you in filing or defending a case.
- Civil Proceedings in the Justice of the Peace Court - ($2.00
- may be obtained at any Justice of the Peace Civil Court)
- Summary Possession Proceedings in the Justice of the Peace
Court - (free - may be obtained at any Justice of the Peace
- Criminal Proceedings in the Justice of the Peace Court - ($2.00-
may be obtained at any Justice of the Peace Criminal Court)
- Can I pay a fine in a Justice
of the Peace Court which is owed to the Voluntary Assessment Center
or to another court?
You may pay a fine owed to
the Voluntary Assessment Center in any Justice of the Peace Criminal
Court (instead of mailing it directly to the Voluntary Assessment Center).
However, you should be sure to bring a copy of your traffic ticket when
you pay the fine. You may also pay a fine owed to any Justice
of the Peace Criminal Court in any other Justice of the Peace Criminal
Court. However, fines owed to other courts, such as the Court of Common
Pleas, Superior Court, or Family Court may not be paid in the
Justice of the Peace Court.
- Can I pay my fine using a credit card?
Yes. Credit cards are accepted for
fines, costs, and restitution payments (when paid directly to the Court).
- Can the Court notarize
No. You will usually need to find
a notary public. You can find a list of notaries in the yellow pages
of the phone book.
- How can I get a witness
to come to court?
If you are not sure that a witness
will show up at court in a civil case, you may subpoena the witness
(have the court order the person to appear at court to testify) by filing
a request for a subpoena with the Court at least five days prior to
the trial date. There is a $5.00 charge for each subpoena.
- How do I file a criminal
If it is an emergency complaint,
contact 911. Otherwise, contact the police agency which serves the area
where the crime occurred.