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Legal Information: Delaware

Statutes: Delaware

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March 26, 2024

§ 1046. Enforcement; sanctions for violation of order

(a) The Court may direct that pleadings and orders filed or issued under this part be served upon the respondent by the Sheriff or the Sheriff’s deputy or by any person authorized by statute or court rule to serve process.

(b) A copy of a protective order granted under this part shall be entered into the Delaware Justice Information System by the Court on or before the next business day. Entry into the Delaware Justice Information System constitutes notice to all law-enforcement agencies of the existence of the order. The order is fully enforceable in any county of the State.

(c) A law enforcement officer shall arrest, with or without a warrant, any individual whom the officer has probable cause to believe has violated a protective order issued under this part or a valid foreign protection order under Part E of this subchapter and who has notice or knowledge of the protective order. Presentation of a protective order that identifies both the protected person and the respondent and, on its face, is currently in effect constitutes probable cause to believe that a protective order exists. The protective order may be either in tangible form or stored in DELJIS or other electronic medium if it is retrievable in perceivable form. Probable cause for arrest may be established by a good faith reliance on information contained in DELJIS. If a protective order is not presented, the law enforcement officer may consider other information in determining whether there is probable cause to believe that a protective order exists.

(d) If a law enforcement officer determines that an otherwise valid protective order cannot be enforced because the respondent has not been notified or served with the order, the officer shall inform the respondent of the order, make a reasonable effort to serve the order upon the respondent, and allow the respondent a reasonable opportunity to comply with the order before enforcing the order.

(e) The individual arrested shall be taken immediately before the Family Court. If the Family Court is not in session, the arrested person shall be taken before the nearest justice of the peace. In determining the amount of any bail, the justice of the peace or judicial officer shall take into consideration whether the defendant has previously violated a protective order.

(f) A law enforcement officer is immune from civil and criminal liability for an act or omission arising out of the enforcement of a protective order or the detention or arrest of an alleged violator of a protective order if the act or omission was done in a good faith effort to comply with this part or in good faith reliance on information contained in DELJIS.

(g) The provisions of this section apply to the enforcement of foreign protection orders under Part E of this subchapter.

(h) All protective orders issued under this part shall state that violations may result in:

(1) A finding of contempt;

(2) Criminal prosecution; and

(3) Imprisonment or fine or both.

(i) It shall be unlawful for a respondent to knowingly violate a protective order. Violations shall be punishable as a class A misdemeanor. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the filing of a civil contempt petition by the petitioner for violations of a protective order issued under this part.