Delaware criminal law encompasses many different offenses, from the least serious violations to felonies punishable by many years imprisonment. Sentences and penalties in Delaware vary according to factors such as the circumstances surrounding the crime or offense and whether or not the defendant already has a criminal record. Below is information on some issues common to Delaware criminal law and procedure. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is recommended you contact a Delaware criminal defense attorney to help you craft your defense.
Drug Possession in Delaware
In Delaware, it is unlawful for a person to knowingly or intentionally possess, use or consume a controlled substance or a counterfeit substance that is a narcotic drug, or a drug specified in one of the state's lists of controlled substances. The only exception is for substances that were obtained directly by a valid prescription or by order of a medical professional who was acting in the course of his or her professional practice.
Depending on the type and quantity of the drug, penalties for possession can range from the relatively mild for class-A misdemeanors, to long prison sentences for felonies. For instance, non-medical possession of marijuana is a class-A misdemeanor, with a sentence of up to one-year incarceration; a fine of up to $2,300; restitution; or other conditions as the court deems appropriate.
To help determine what type of penalties you may face for possession of a certain drug, consult a Delaware criminal defense attorney.
Assault in Delaware
Criminal assault is the intentional or reckless causing of physical injury to another person. In Delaware, assaults are divided into degrees, based on factors such as the degree of severity of the assault and its resulting injuries; the identity or occupation of the victim; and whether or not a dangerous weapon was used.
Third degree assault is a class-A misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of up to one-year incarceration; a fine of up to $2,300; restitution; or other conditions as the court deems appropriate. Second degree assault is a class-D felony punishable by up to eight years in prison. First degree assault is a class-B felony that carries a potential prison sentence of between two and twenty-five years.
If you are facing an assault charge in Delaware, it is advisable to speak with a Delaware criminal defense attorney who can help you put together a defense to the charge.
Delaware Drunk Driving – DUI
Drunk driving is a common offense on Delaware roads. If you are charged with a DUI in Delaware, you should call a Delaware DUI attorney who can talk with you about the consequences you may face if convicted. For instance, you could lose your driving license, be forced to pay high fines, and serve time in jail.
Right to a Jury in Delaware
Defendants in criminal cases in Delaware have a constitutional right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. In some criminal cases, the defendant may choose to waive this right. Talk to your Delaware criminal defense attorney to determine whether or not a jury trial would be in your best interests as a defendant.
Trial Date in Delaware
Delaware provides for defendants' right to a speedy trial; this right extends to individuals already imprisoned in other states while accused of a crime in Delaware. The accused must be brought to trial within 180 days of requesting a disposition in the case.
Appeals in Delaware
The accused person has the right to appeal order, rule, decision, judgment or sentence in a criminal action. The appeal must be made to the Superior Court in and for the county where the information was filed. The Court will review the appeal based on the trial record, without accepting new testimony.
Below are relevant sections of the Delaware Code and Constitution: