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DUI Legal Process in Delaware

Delaware implements a specific process for individuals arrested for driving under the influence. Police officers must bring arrested individuals before a magistrate. The individual arrested for driving under the influence will begin his or her process with the magistrate and either remain before a magistrate or proceed to another court. Specifically, once a magistrate disposes a case, the individual will enter a plea on his or her behalf. After, an individual pleas he or she will enter either Superior Court, Common Pleas Court, Municipal Court or Family Court. The designation of which a court an individual will proceed to depends on whether the individual waives his or her preliminary examination as well as the individual’s age. The preliminary examination will either identify sufficient evidence to move the individual to Superior Court for trial or will dismiss the case. Finally, after the individual is tried in Superior Court he or she may appeal the decision based on the verdict of the case.

A police officer begins the process for driving under the influence cases by initially arresting the individual. After, an individual is arrested he or she is brought before a magistrate. Alternatively, an individual may request a hearing before the preliminary examination or request a hearing instead of proceeding through the judicial system. Typically, requesting an administrative hearing will deliver a decision based on the procedures and processes of the officers. Also, the administrative hearing may occur to uphold a license sentence before actual proceedings of the case. However, an individual can waive an administrative hearing. Typically, administrative hearings occur for license suspensions prior to additional penalties and sentencing. Yet, an individual presented before a magistrate immediately after he or she is arrested without being released before court dates or any additional paperwork is file.

The arrested individual brought before the magistrate will then remain with the magistrate or proceed to another courthouse. Specifically, the magistrate will decide whether to hear the case or will dispose the case to another courthouse. Depending upon the plea entered by the individual he or she will proceed in the judicial system. An individual will proceed to a preliminary examination after he or she enters a plea unless he or she waives the right to a preliminary examination. Once an individual waives his or her right to a preliminary examination he or she will proceed to Superior Court of Delaware to begin his or her trial pertaining to driving under the influence charges. However, an individual not waving his or her preliminary examination will receive a scheduled date for the examination.

A magistrate will schedule an individual’s preliminary examination with the appropriate court. Typically, the court that will hear a driving under the influence case depends on the court in which in the initial appearance occurred, the individual’s age, and the court with proper jurisdiction. Following, the preliminary examination the individual will either proceed with his or her case to trial or will be dismissed. After, an individual proceeds to trial the judge will review the evidence and hear testimony. The judge will decide the case and if the individual believes that the case was wrongly decided based on insufficient evidence or legal procedures the individual may appeal the judgment.

Any individual appealing the judgment rendered must identify improper proceedings or other legal issues to request another trial. Individuals appealing a case may not appeal a judgment because he or she does not agree with the judgment. Thus, the process in the judicial system usually ends once the individual begins his or her trial. However, many individuals receive sentencing from magistrates or through a preliminary examination.

Therefore, an individual arrested for driving under the influence either begins the process at an administrative hearing or before a magistrate. After, a magistrate views the case he or she may either hear the case or dispose the case to another courthouse. Before, any court will proceed with a formal trial the individual will undergo a preliminary examination. After, the preliminary the individual may proceed to a trial or may end at the preliminary stage. Finally, after a formal trial an individual may appeal the judgment from the trial.


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