This program is funded in part through the Delaware Criminal Justice Council by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, subgrant DB21-3172.
Friday, November 3, 2023
9:00 AM until 7:00PM
Kent County Courthouse
414 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19904
Q: What is a "Safe Surrender"?
A: It’s an opportunity for people for whom the Delaware courts have issued a capias (bench warrant) or police have issued an arrest warrant to turn themselves in and resolve the issue with the Court.
Q: What is a capias?
A: It’s a court-issued warrant directing law enforcement to bring the person before the Court. Courts issue capiases when someone fails to appear (FTA) in Court when ordered or fails to pay (FTP) a fine or other Court ordered payment like child-support.
Q: What courts are participating?
A: Superior Court, Family Court, Court of Common Pleas and the Justice of the Peace Court are participating. Capiases/warrants issued by these courts will be handled at the event.
Q: How will Safe Surrender work?
A: People with active capiases and warrants will provide their name and date of birth upon arrival. Participants will wait to be called in the Jury Assembly Room. Court staff will retrieve and evaluate each person’s circumstance to determine how their case(s) will be handled
Persons wanted only for Failure to Pay capiases will be directed to a payment center to either pay what they owe or make arrangements to pay. People wanted for Failing to Appear will be directed to the appropriate court to appear before a judge. Most likely a new date for you to appear will be set.
Q: Is Safe Surrender an amnesty program?
A: No, it is not an amnesty program. Safe Surrender offers individuals a first step toward a second chance in the form of favorable consideration by the Court. The judge will make the final decision but favorable consideration is typically given in the spirit of the program when you turn yourself in.
Q: Why should I attend?
A: If you are stopped by a police officer for a minor offense and have an active capias or warrant you will be taken into custody and brought before a judge.
Safe Surrender gives you the opportunity to get out from under the cloud of being wanted, to address the issue, and move on with your life and not always looking over your shoulder.
IF YOU HAVE AN ACTIVE CAPIAS FOR FTP, YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO RENEW YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE. IF YOU’RE DUE A STATE TAX REFUND IT WILL BE INTERCEPTED, REDUCED BY THE AMOUNT YOU OWE, AND YOU WILL BE CHARGED A $25 FEE. TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM NOW!
Q: How do I know if I have an active capias or warrant?
A: You can check online at the DELJIS Online Wanted Person Review.
Q: Will I go to jail if I turn myself in?
A: Everyone’s case is different. If you are surrendering for an FTA or FTP capias or a warrant for a non-violent misdemeanor, in most cases – well over 90% - you will be released after your case is processed.
The fact that you turned yourself in will be considered by the judge. However, individuals with warrants for violent felony charges may be taken into custody.
Q: Will there be attorneys on site to assist me?
A: Yes. The Office of Defense Services (Public Defender’s Office) will have staff on-site. If you have your own attorney, please contact them prior to attending the event and follow their guidance.
Individuals with cases in the Justice of the Peace Court will have the opportunity to discuss their case with the police agency that issued their citation or with a Deputy Attorney General.
Q: What sort of identification should I bring?
A: Most forms of identification are acceptable – driver’s license, state photo ID, military ID, Medicare/Medicaid card, etc.
Q: Can I bring my cell phone?
A: Yes. Cell phones and electronic devices are allowed in the Courthouse but they are NOT allowed to be used in the Courtrooms.
Q: Will child care be available?
A: No. There is a small play area for older children adjacent to where event participants will assemble but parents are responsible for supervising their children. Parents are also responsible for the care of infants, including food, diapers, etc.
Q: Will there be food and water at the event?
A: Yes. There are vending machines on the lower level of the Courthouse.
Q: Will there be parking?
A: There is parking around the Green as well as an additional parking lot for the Kent County Courthouse on Water Street a block west of the Courthouse.