Misdemeanors in Delaware
Misdemeanors are defined as any committed crime that is less serious than a felony. Being accused of a crime will result in a trial with the Justice of the Peace court or a trial can be transferred to the Court of Common Pleas. The accused will have a staff lawyer assigned to his or her case. Minor traffic offenses do not require lawyers to be present.
Misdemeanors are at times placed in classes. These classes are often unidentifiable and are rarely spoken of. In Delaware these classes can include a Class B Misdemeanor as harassment and a Class A Misdemeanor as offensive touching. Some of these misdemeanors are noted as unclassified.
Delaware misdemeanor laws state that a person causing a traffic accident will automatically be accused of a misdemeanor. However if those involved die, the classification changes from misdemeanor to felony. At the scene of the accident a person will have his or her information taken for the record: names, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license number.
When causing an accident in Delaware, the accused is required to assist any persons injured. This can include visiting the hospital for medical treatment or contacting emergency services and waiting for their arrival.
Causing a traffic accident is an unclassified misdemeanor and can have fines between one thousand and three thousand dollars. It may also result in imprisonment of one to two years in a county facility. Accidents resulting in death change to a Class E Felony, which results in incarceration of one year.
In all misdemeanor laws in Delaware, the Secretary has the right to revoke a driver’s license or driving privileges under conviction of a misdemeanor or felony with certain stipulations. This revocation will often be a year for a misdemeanor conviction and two years for a felony conviction.
The Court of Common Pleas will provide original jurisdiction to try, hear, and determine a misdemeanor. This can also include any other violations committed at the same time of the tried incident. Justices of the Peace jurisdiction does not exist in accordance with in these matters. In these trials a prosecution for all unclassified misdemeanors need to begin within two years of being committed for proper proceedings.
Expunging a misdemeanor seals all criminal records that are associated with an arrest. These expunged records are still kept for law enforcement purposed, but all records for public viewing are eliminated. This means the offense will not arise in a criminal background check for lenders, schools, or employers. An expungement allows a person to properly and legally state that the crime was never committed. This is helpful for those who have committed a misdemeanor in high school or college and are seeking professional employment.
After an arrest if a person has been convicted of a crime — plead guilty or was found guilty — he or she cannot apply for expungement if over the age of eighteen at the time of the crime. Most juvenile convictions can be expunged however. Those eligible will include not being found guilty in trial, dismissed charges by the court, dropped charges, received probation, and qualifying for a drug diversion program.