Traffic Frequently Asked Questions, Justice of the Peace Court

What can I do when I get a traffic ticket?

If you have been given a voluntary assessment ticket (check your ticket to see whether you have been offered a voluntary assessment), you may either:

If you have not been offered or have not agreed to a voluntary assessment, you must appear in court at the time, date, and place indicated on your ticket.

What are all of the fees added to my traffic ticket?

When you get a traffic ticket there are other fees in addition to the fine. Visit this link for samples of traffic cases and an explanation of fines, costs and assessments.

How do I pay by voluntary assessment?

You may pay online , by phone, by mail, at a kiosk, or in person. You must pay the total amount in full in U.S. dollars within 30 days of the date you received the ticket. If you exceeded the 30 days, contact the Voluntary Assessment Center at 302-739-6911. If you are unable to pay in full, you may see if you are eligible to set up an Voluntary Assessment Center Online Payment Plan (see section below) or you may call the voluntary assessment center. Do not send a partial payment to the Voluntary Assessment Center. You should check the front of your ticket for information as to where to mail your ticket (or where you must appear in court) to be sure that the information given below applies in your case.

Pay Online:
Payment may be made by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover) or electronic check (include account and routing number). You must have either a ticket number or case number and the last name of the defendant. Make an ePayment.

Pay By Phone:
Payment must be made by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover). Debit Cards without the Visa or Mastercard logo are not accepted. Be sure to have a copy of your ticket with you so that you can give the ticket number and other information to the clerk. Phone 302-739-6911.

Pay By Mail:
Enclose a copy of your ticket. Payment may be made by check, money order, credit card (fill in the credit card information on the place indicated on your ticket-it may be on the back). If you are paying by check or money order, write the ticket number on it and make it out to "State of Delaware". Do not mail cash. If a receipt is needed, you should send a self-addressed stamped envelope with your payment. Mail to the following address: State of Delaware - Voluntary Assessment Center, P.O. Box 7039, Dover, DE 19903

Pay at the Kiosk:
Payment may be made with cash or by Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit card or debit card. You must have either a ticket number or case number and the last name of the defendant. Find a Kiosk location.

Pay In Person:
Payment may also be made in person to the nearest Justice of the Peace Criminal Court.

Are you eligible to set up a JP Court Voluntary Assessment Center Online Payment Plan?

Who is eligible? Anyone who has received a Voluntary Assessment Center mail in fine and the age of the ticket is 30 days or less.

How does this work? The court will allow you to go online and place your VAC ticket on a time to pay plan anytime within 30 days from the date the ticket is issued. The max number of payments allowed is three. Payments are divided into 3 equal payments. A 3rd of the amount due on the original due date, a payment at 60 days, and the final payment to be made by the 90th day. You are able to make payment in full anytime within the ninety day period.

How to set up online payment plan: Go to (Welcome to e-Payment). Select “Deferred Amount”. If option is not available ticket does not qualify for online payment plan. You may contact the VAC at 302-739-6911 to assist you with setting up an online payment plan; or make a payment over the phone using a Visa/MasterCard/Discover credit card during normal business hours of Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm. Go directly to e-Payment

Will I be assessed points on my driver's license if I pay by voluntary assessment?

Pursuant to Division of Motor Vehicles Policy #45, you will not be assessed points on your Delaware driver's license if you pay by voluntary assessment AND: :

  • Your ticket was for a speeding violation from 1-14 miles per hour over the posted speed; and
  • You have not been convicted of a speeding violation within the previous three years.

If you do not meet the above requirements, you will be assessed points in accordance with the policies of the Division of Motor Vehicles. The Court does not assess points.

What do I do if I received a voluntary assessment ticket but decide I want to plead "not guilty"

If you decide to plead not guilty after receiving a voluntary assessment, you are requesting a court trial and must appear in court to defend the charge(s). To plead not guilty, sign where indicated on the ticket and mail the ticket or fax both sides of the ticket at the address or fax number indicated above BY THE COURT DATE INDICATED. If you fax the ticket, you should call 302-739-6911 to confirm receipt.

What is Delaware's Probation Before Judgment program?

If you are required or choose to go to court and are eligible, you may be able to participate in the probation before judgment program. Eligibility for probation before judgment is limited. You are not eligible if you have been convicted of the same offense previously or have been placed on probation before judgment for any other offense within the last five years. Even if you are eligible, it is in the Court's discretion, with the prosecution's consent, whether you will be allowed to enter into the probation before judgment program. Under probation before judgment, you are placed on probation under the conditions set by the Court. If you successfully complete those conditions, you are discharged from probation without any judgment of conviction (which also means that points are not assessed). (Holders of commercial driver's licenses are not eligible for probation before judgment whether or not the holder was driving a commercial vehicle at the time the ticket was received.)

What happens after I return my ticket indicating I want to plead "not guilty"?

You will be notified of the location, date, and time for your appearance in the Justice of the Peace Court (or Court of Common Pleas, if applicable).

What happens when I go to court?

Most traffic offenses are handled as criminal offenses. Be sure to bring all documents you will need to Court, including the ticket and proof of insurance at the time of the offense. If you plan to have witnesses at trial, you may need to have a subpoena issued.

Will I be assessed points on my driver's license if I go to court?

  • If you are found not guilty, you will not be assessed any points.
  • If you are found guilty, you will be assessed points in accordance with the policies of the Division of Motor Vehicles
  • If you participate in probation before judgment and complete any required conditions, you will not be assessed points if you meet any required conditions.

Can I appeal if I am found guilty after going to court?

  • If you were convicted in a Justice of the Peace Court, you may appeal your conviction to the Court of Common Pleas within 15 days of your conviction only if your fine exceeds $100 or you are given any term of imprisonment.
  • If you were convicted in an Alderman's Court, you may appeal any conviction to the Court of Common Pleas within 15 days of your conviction.

Will my insurance company raise my premiums?

  • Insurance companies usually check driving records before issuing a new policy. Your driving record will show if you have paid a fine or if you have been found guilty of a traffic offense. However, by law, a violation of a traffic signal as the result of a traffic control monitoring system, may not be made part of your driving record, nor used for insurance purposes, if you pay the assessment or are found guilty.
  • Decisions about premiums are up to the insurance company.

What should I do if I have lost my ticket?

  • Call the Voluntary Assessment Center at 302-739-6911;
  • Or if you received the ticket in a municipality, you may try calling the Alderman's Court in the appropriate municipality listed below:

    Bethany Beach - (302) 537-3891
    Dewey Beach - (302) 227-6363
    Laurel - (302) 875-2855
    Newark - (302) 366-7028
    Newport - (302) 994-6403
    Rehoboth - (302) 227-7917