Drunk driving offenders put a strain on the court system like no other type of offender. Because drunk driving is so prevalent and police arrest people for drinking and driving every day, that strain on judges, prosecutors, and public defenders isn’t going to ease up anytime soon.
But a new law in Delaware could help, and it might be something other states look at adopting if they have similar laws and their own court houses are stocked to the ceiling with drunk driving offenders. They’ve just changed an odd law that allowed a drunk driving offender to receive two trials for a non-felony DUI.
It turns out that jurisdiction in Delaware for any misdemeanor DUI was shared by two courts, and drunk drivers were the only offenders in the state who were entitled to a second trial in a second court, even if you were convicted during your first trial.
A bill was proposed that would change the law to allow only the Delaware Court of Common Pleas to hear DUI trials, and if passed the Justice of the Peace Court would also be able to accept guilty pleas in a DUI case.
The bill passed through the State Senate, was signed by the Governor John Carney on June 30th, 2017, and it took effect immediately. That means that any offender who was planning on delaying their drunk driving case in order to avoid penalties like fines, driver’s license suspensions, and an ignition interlock for any offender receiving a criminal conviction.
Not every state has a law where drunk driving offenders get two trials, but there are other odd laws in all states that give drunk drivers a free pass and they need revision. Anything that stops these drivers from continuing to hit the roads is worth the effort of revising.