State v. William R. Sluss

In State v. William R. Sluss, 327 A.2d 755 (Del. Super. 1974), the defendant after a motor vehicle pursuit, was stopped by a County Police Officer in the City of Wilmington, and he was charged with Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol in violation of 21. Del. C. 4176(a), which at that time governed impaired driving offenses. The County Police Officer took the Defendant before Justice of the Peace Court No. 10 where he was arraigned. The case was subsequently transferred to the Court of Common Pleas where he was found guilty of the impaired driving offense. Sluss appealed his conviction to the Superior Court alleging that since he was arrested in the City of Wilmington, he was required under the then jurisdiction section 21 Del. C. 704(a) to be tried in the Wilmington Municipal Court. Section 704 of Title 21, at the time, was the relevant section which governed jurisdiction for motor vehicle offenses. The Court when addressing the jurisdictional issue held: ". . . The language of the predecessor statute made it clear that Municipal Court was to hear cases where the offense occurred in the city rather than merely because the arrest occurred in the City. It is this Court's conclusion that to affect the inherent purposes of the law, the first sentence of section 704(a) that persons arrested for motor vehicle violations in the City of Wilmington be taken before the Municipal Court, must be construed to mean that persons arrested for committing motor vehicle offenses within the City of Wilmington should be taken before the Municipal Court. . . . "