Justice of the Peace Court

There are 19 Justice of the Peace Courts located throughout the state of Delaware. Cases in this Court are heard by magistrates who have been appointed by the Governor of Delaware. Unlike judges in other courts, magistrates in the Justice of the Peace Court are not required to be lawyers.

The Justice of the Peace court hears both civil and criminal cases. Justice of the Peace Court 11 hears all criminal cases in New Castle County. JP 11 is separate from the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington. It is located at:

2 Penns Way,
Suite 100A,
New Castle, DE 19720

Parking is available in the front of the building. Once you enter the building you must take the elevator down and go through security. Similar to the New Castle County Courthouse, there are no cell phones allowed in JP 11.

Criminal Jurisdiction of Justice of the Peace Court

The Justice of the Peace Court hears violations, motor vehicle cases where the defendant is not being charged with a felony, and lower level misdemeanors. There are no jury trials in the Justice of the Peace Court. If you request a jury trial, the case will be transferred to the Court of Common Pleas.

The following criminal misdemeanor charges may be heard in the Justice of the Peace Court:

Our firm typically transfers DUI cases to the Court of Common Pleas where the judges are law trained. We will keep a case in JP court for traffic offenses and other misdemeanors depending on the case.

Civil Jurisdiction of Justice of the Peace Court

In Justice of the Peace Court you can also sue for money by filing a civil lawsuit. In this Court you can sue for $15,000 or less. If your lawsuit is less than $50,000 you have the option to transfer the case to the Court of Common Pleas. The Justice of the Peace Court is the only court in Delaware that hears landlord-tenant eviction cases. A landlord-tenant eviction case is the one type of case you can have a jury trial in JP Court. If the amount in controversy is more than $15,000.00, the case will be heard in the Superior Court. Civil traffic offenses are also heard in the Justice of the Peace Court, and are not permitted to be transferred to the Court of Common Pleas unless the civil traffic offense occurred in the same incident as a criminal offense.

Appeals

The purpose of filing an appeal is to have a higher court review the decision of the lower court for error. If you were found guilty of a crime in Justice of the Peace Court you can appeal if the fine exceeds $100 or a sentence of imprisonment exceeding one month was is imposed. The appeal will be made to the Superior Court, and the Court will make new rulings on the evidence and matters of law.

If you transferred the case from the Justice of the Peace Court to the Court of Common Pleas, the appeal will be made to the Superior Court, however the Superior Court will use the entire record from the lower court and only look for clear errors or abuse of discretion by the Court of Common Pleas.

In Traffic cases kept in the Justice of the Peace Court, an appeal may be made to the Superior Court if a fine over $100 or any sentence of imprisonment is imposed.

Contact Jason Antoine at (302)482-4802 to go over your defense strategy if you have a pending case in Justice of the Peace Court.