Title 11, section 5912 of the Delaware Criminal Code handles the issue of warrants and subpoenas in criminal cases. Pursuant to this statute, any justice of peace can issue a warrant as long as he has the authority to preside in criminal matters. A warrant even though it is issued in one county will remain valid across the state and as such it can be executed in any other county or area of Delaware.
While active warrants for arrests command police officers to physically restrain an individual and hold him in custody till such time that he can be brought before the court for an arraignment, a subpoena is an order for a person to be present during a court trial to offer his testimony or opinion in a criminal case. Similarly, bench warrants are judicial directives that orders the capture of fugitives and individuals who are in violation of a court order.
Section 5906, of Title 11 goes on to further clarify the process which is legally prescribed for the issue of arrest warrants in Delaware. In accordance with this part of the penal code, the sitting magistrate of a criminal tribunal has the legal obligation to carefully examine any complaint that has been made on oath against an individual accusing him of participating in or committing a criminal act.
Only when the justice is satisfied with the testimony of the witnesses or the case details put forth in the affirmation will he issue an active warrant. In fact, any issue of this nature has to strictly be based on the establishment of probable cause. This law also holds in case of search warrants which are released to authorize police officers to enter a premise and search it.
Whether the order for detention is a bench warrant or an active decree for arrest, the warrant should have the name of the accused clearly stated. If this is unavailable at the time of seeking the order, any aliases or any name that may be used in reference to this person can be mentioned on the warrant. Other identifying traits like his/her gender, race and address will also be mentioned.
In terms of the charges being brought against him, the warrant will offer information on the crime that this individual is being held responsible for and will even have a copy of the complaint attached to it. Ordinarily, all Delaware warrants are directed at police officers from within the county that the warrant is released in.
However, in special circumstances and when the crime in question is heinous, the order can be used by police officers in any part of the country to detain the accused on sight. In order to execute this judicial directive, peace officers can request the assistance of civilians, other law enforcement personnel and sheriffs' offices.
If this person is already on the list of the state's most wanted for crimes he has committed and has been accused of a crime but he has so far managed to evade the law, a warrant will not be needed to effect the arrest of such an individual. Similarly, when an offense, regardless of the crime category that it falls in, is committed while a police officer is present on the scene also calls for the arrest of the perpetrator without resorting to the undue formality of getting a warrant.
In terms of felonies, if the accused is nabbed from the scene of the crime or while committing the act, he can be arrested without a warrant. Similarly, based on factual evidence and witness testimony, if a law enforcement agent has probable cause to believe that a person may have already been party to a criminal act or he may be involved in such a nefarious activity in the near future, this individual can be apprehended without the use of a judicial order.
Delaware Sunshine Laws have no scope for the dissemination of criminal history information to civilians unless such data constitutes a personal background check. In other words, if you want to find out about the criminal past of a neighbor or an acquaintance, it is not possible to do so in the state of Delaware if you only want to approach state agencies for your warrant search.
However, you can look for crime history information including details on outstanding warrants and arrests through private agencies like online websites. For a personal crime check, you will need to have yourself fingerprinted and these prints will then have to be sent to the Delaware Bureau of Investigations at:
Blue Hen Mall and Corporate Center,
Suite 1b655 Bay RoadDover, DE 19901(302) 739-5871
Finger prints can only be taken at three facilities across the state; their address have been listed below
Sussex County: Troop 4 in Georgetown, corner Shortly Road and Route 113; fingerprints are only taken on Wednesday by appointment at this facility. To call, dial 302-739-2528.
Kent County: Suite 1B, Blue Hen Mall and Corporate Center, 655 Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901. This facility offers the same day background report service and you can visit them anytime from 9 am to 3 pm from Monday through Friday. For more details call on 302-739-5871.
New Castle County: Troop 2 in Bear on Route 40. An appointment is needed to visit this facility and for it, you can get in touch with the agency at 302-739-2528 or 1-800-464-4357.
Depending on the amount of information needed, the fee for a criminal background report in Delaware can vary from $45 to $69, with the higher amount being charged for a cumulative state and federal background report.
Given the strict rules in the state pertaining to the distribution of data on criminal history, you cannot seek a warrant search through the clerk of court's office or any other state agency. Although a court dockets database is maintained by the judiciary, civilians are not offered access to court records for the purpose of accessing information on criminal cases.