Kent County Criminal Court

Kent County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Kent County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Kent County.

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Who is the prosecutor for Kent County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Kent County criminal cases will either be a representative of Kent County or a representative from Delaware. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.

Kent County Criminal Court

Kent County Criminal Court

Appealing a guilty verdict

A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.

Mandatory Appearances in Kent County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Kent County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

What is a Plea Agreement?

A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.

Kent County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Kent County will take place at the Kent County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Kent County Criminal Court Locations.

Who can help me in Kent County?

For general information about your case the Kent County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.

Jury Deliberations in Kent County

In Kent County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Right to Jury Trial

For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.

Kent County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Kent County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Kent County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Kent County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

Kent County Criminal Court Locations

  • Kent County Superior Court

    Address: 38 The Green, Dover DE 19901
    Phone: 302-735-1911 Ext.51909 Fax: 302-739-6717

  • Kent County Court of Chancery

    Address: 38 The Green, Dover DE 19901
    Phone: 302-736-2242 Fax: 302-736-2240

  • Kent County Court of Common Pleas

    Address: 414 Federal Street, Dover DE 19901
    Phone: 302-735-3900

  • Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 16

    Address: 480 Bank Lane, Dover DE 19904
    Phone: 302-739-4316 Fax: 302-739-6797

  • Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 6

    Address: 35 Cams Fortune Way, Harrington DE 19952
    Phone: 302-422-5922 Fax: 302-422-1527

  • Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 7

    Address: 480 Bank Lane, Dover DE 19904
    Phone: 302-739-4554 Fax: 302-739-6797

  • Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 8

    Address: 100 Monrovia Avenue, Smyrna DE 19977
    Phone: 302-653-7083 Fax: 302-653-2888

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