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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Handle criminal matters in both state and federal courts.
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A few college kids were caught with a small amount of marijuana

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A few college kids were caught with a small amount of marijuana on campus in delaware. They were given citations and charged two counts_one for drug possession and one for paraphenalia possession. They were told sometimes these cases are dismissed before trial and sometimes they go before a justice of the peace. what will the states attorney consider in whether to refer a case or dismissing it? What role does the justice of the peace have? How is the role different than a judge? Will the boys need counsel to represent them?

Welcome and thank you for your question

I am an attorney with more than 25 years of experience and I look forward to providing you true and correct information in this regard.

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In Delaware, the Justice of the Peace is the same as a District Court Commissioner in Maryland or a Magistrate say in Georgia. They handle small infractions of this nature to keep the courts from clogging

The DA may dismiss the charges but more than likely they would place them on an Inactive Docket, or a deferred adjudication which means they would be on a probation period and as long as there are no more charges OF ANY KIND for ANY REASON then these charges can be removed from the courts records.

However, if they do not successfully complete the probation, then this matter would be prosecuted
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. If they do defee_how long wld the case stay on the inactive docket? What is the timeframe they're looking for for them to go withought any infractions? 2 years? 5 years? Also is a case on an i informal docket considered a formal charge?

That is generally for the duration of the Statute of Limitations to prosecute and that being a misdemeanor crime would be

A prosecution for a class B misdemeanor, a class C misdemeanor, an unclassified misdemeanor or a violation must be commenced within 2 years after it is committed.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If the case is not deferred and does in fact go to a hearing, what would be the penalty? Would they need an attorney to defend them?


The possible penalty includes up to 6 months in jail and a fine Not to exceed $1000

The problem is a misdemeanor conviction on their record

If is always best to at least consult with a local attorney when there is a possibility of jail time
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Do you have any data on how these cases have been handled in delaware in the past for first time offenders?

That is not available to me online, unfortunately. However, you can call the clerk's office and see if they will run that information for you.

As I stated, normally there is a deferred judgment in these matters with young adults caught up for a first offense.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The young man received a court date for an arraignment in two weeks. What should he expect? What does he need to be prepared for? Should he take counsel to the arraignment?


At the arraignment he will be asked for his plea. I suggest he will want to plea Not Guilty until he can confer with a local attorney to help out with a plea bargain that will not include jail time

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The young men have been referred for an alternative program in Delaware where they will be required to undergo testing for several months. There's a drug court hearing secheduled for next week, what happens during the hearing?


Of. Great. The Diversion Drug Court Program will be explained. At the hearing they will waive their right to a jury trial and agree to plead guilty with the stipulation that upon the successful completion of the Diversion Program, which is in essence a probation where they will have to go to substance abuse awareness classes and perform community service , the guilty pleas will be rescinded. That means that the conviction will not appear as a guilty and it will show as it have been dismissed.

There programs can last 90 days and there is a $150 fee

At the end of the 90 days the guilty plea is removed

Here is a list of what the diversion probation will include

1. (A) Complete an alcohol-education or drug-education class, and (B) attend a treatment program for alcohol or drug dependency if directed to do so by the Court’s probation department;

2. Complete 20 hours of community service under the direction of the Court’s probation department;

3. Report to the probation department as scheduled, and notify the probation department about any address changes and any events that affect the participant’s ability to complete the program;

4. Refrain from committing any other criminal offense or any drug-related or alcohol-related traffic offense while participating in the program;

5. Submit to drug or alcohol testing whenever directed to do so by the probation department, and agree that any failure to submit to those tests or any illegal drug or alcohol use while in the program will result in the defendant’s removal from the diversion program;

6. Pay the $150.00 supervision fee, pay the cost of the appropriate drug or alcohol class, pay the cost of any drug or alcohol assessment

They will also have to then to continue in Drug Court to be monitored as to the progress with the program

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