New Castle County Criminal Court

New Castle County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in New Castle County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in New Castle County.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in New Castle County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.

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.

New Castle County Criminal Court

New Castle County Criminal Court

New Castle County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In New Castle County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in New Castle 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 New Castle 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.

Who can help me in New Castle County?

For general information about your case the New Castle 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.

New Castle County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the New Castle County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

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.

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.

New Castle County Required Court Appearances

In New Castle County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Who is the prosecutor for New Castle County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for New Castle County criminal cases will either be a representative of New Castle 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.

What is the Burden of Proof?

The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

Appealing a Criminal Conviciton

A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.

New Castle County Criminal Court Locations

  • New Castle County Superior Court

    Address: 500 N King Street, Wilmington DE 19801
    Phone: 302-255-2445 Fax: 302-255-2261

  • New Castle County Court of Chancery

    Address: 500 N King Street, Wilmington DE 19801
    Phone: 302-255-0544

  • New Castle County Court of Common Pleas

    Address: 500 N King Street, Wilmington DE 19801
    Phone: 302-255-0900

  • New Castle County Justice of the Peace Court 10

    Address: 210 Greenbank Road, Wilmington DE 19808
    Phone: 302-995-8640 Fax: 302-995-8642

  • New Castle County Justice of the Peace Court 11

    Address: 2 Penns Way, Suite 100A, New Castle DE 19720
    Phone: 302-323-4450 Fax: 302-323-4452

  • New Castle County Justice of the Peace Court 13

    Address: 1010 Concord Avenue, Wilmington DE 19802
    Phone: 302-577-2550 Fax: 302-577-2526

  • New Castle County Justice of the Peace Court 20

    Address: 300 N Walnut Street, Wilmington DE 19801
    Phone: 302-577-7234 Fax: 302-577-7237

  • New Castle County Justice of the Peace Court 9

    Address: 757 N Broad Street, Middletown DE 19709
    Phone: 302-378-5221 Fax: 302-378-5220

  • Newark Alderman’s Court 40

    Address: 220 Elkton Road, Newark DE 19711
    Phone: 302-366-7028 Fax: 302-366-7062

  • Newport Alderman’s Court 42

    Address: 15 N Augustine Street, PO Box 3053, Newport DE 19804
    Phone: 302-998-2707

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