DOJ wants a specialized DUI court in Sussex County to deal with arrests

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DUI checkpoint Newark, Rt 72 & Old Baltimore Pike, Multi Agency DUI Checkpoint Strikeforce . Photo by: Gene Shaner
DUI checkpoint Newark, Rt 72 & Old Baltimore Pike, Multi Agency DUI Checkpoint Strikeforce . Photo by: Gene Shaner

The Delaware Department of Justice (DOJ) wants a specialized DUI court in Sussex County to deal with the “disproportionately and unacceptably high” rate of DUI arrests.

DOJ prosecutors and department officials have been concerned that DUI arrests are disproportionately high in Sussex County compared to Kent and New Castle, which already have specialized DUI courts.

“The status quo posed a daily threat to public safety and so DOJ has been in conversation with the courts for months around this issue and what can be done to get the same progress in Sussex that has been achieved in Kent and New Castle Counties,” DOJ spokesman Carl Kanefsky told WGMD’s Rob Petree.

According to DELJIS data from 2017 and 2018, Sussex had higher numbers of DUI arrests – both first-time and repeat arrests – than New Castle County, despite being about 40 percent New Castle’s size in population.

Notably, more than 84% of DUI dismissals in 2017 occurred in Sussex County Court of Common Pleas.

“DOJ has supported and will continue to support creation of a specialized DUI court in Sussex, which New Castle and Kent have, including additional resources provided in the state budget if necessary,” Kanefsky said. “DOJ certainly supports the idea.”