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Are Criminal Records Public In Delaware?

Under the Delaware Freedom of Information Law, Delaware criminal records are not public records and are inaccessible to members of the general public. The law considers disclosure of the criminal records an invasion of personal privacy. Delaware criminal records are, however, obtainable by the subject of the record upon proof of identity.

The agencies in possession of the criminal record are also mandated by law to delete any privileged and confidential information, including the names of witnesses and intelligence personnel, before releasing the criminal record. Interested persons can obtain these records from the Delaware State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) through the Delaware State Police.

What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Delaware?

A Delaware criminal record is a compendium of a person’s criminal history in the state. It contains the following information:

  • Full name of the person
  • Aliases
  • Social Security Number
  • Date and place of birth
  • Physical description, including height, weight, eye color, and hair color
  • Sex
  • Convictions (if any)
  • Probations (if any)

How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Delaware?

The State Bureau of Investigation under the Delaware Police Department (DSP) maintains criminal records in the state. Criminal records are obtainable by mail or in person. In-person requests can be made from any of the three Delaware SBI offices in Kent County, Sussex County, and New Castle County with the following addresses:

Kent County Office

Blue Hen Corporate Center

655 South Bay Road

Suite 1B, Dover

DE 19901

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 5:15 pm

Phone: (302) 739–5871

Sussex County Office

Thurman Adams State Service Center

Room 202,

546 S. Bedford Street

Georgetown, DE

Hours: Monday –Thursday, 8:30 am—3:30 pm

Phone: (302)739–2528

New Castle County Office

Delaware State Police Troop 2

100 LaGrange Avenue

Newark, DE 19702

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 3:15 pm

Phone: (302) 739–2528

Criminal history records are obtainable from any of these offices using fingerprints. To obtain a criminal record, requesters must present a copy of a valid photo ID, driver’s license, or state ID. Requesters below the age of 18 must be accompanied by either a parent or guardian. Juveniles can present any of the above IDs or a school ID.

The SBI charges $52 for each certified copy of a State of Delaware Criminal History record. If the search is for both state and federal criminal history, the fee is $65. The fee must be paid through credit/debit cards, money orders, company checks, or certified checks, payable to the Delaware State Police. The Sussex County office accepts cash payments,

Out of state, residents can also order certified criminal history records by mail. Such requesters may print an FD–258 Fingerprint Card from the FBI’s website. Fill all relevant fields of the fingerprint card, including name, aliases, social security, date of birth, sex, hair color, eye color, height, weight, and place of birth. Visit any of the local law enforcement agencies with the fingerprint card for fingerprint capture.

The requester needs a written authorization letter to grant the Delaware State Police (DSP) authority to conduct a criminal history check on the requester. The requester must duly sign the letter. The DSP charges $52 for this service, which is payable to the Delaware State Police.

Mail the fingerprint card, applicable fee, and the authorization letter to:

Delaware State Police

State Bureau of Identification

PO. Box 430

Dover, DE  19903

How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Delaware?

Certified copies of Delaware criminal records are not obtainable for free. However, interested persons can contact the Delaware State Police for such records. A statewide criminal background history check costs $52.

How To Search Criminal Records Online In Delaware?

There are no provisions for obtaining Delaware criminal records online. Criminal records are only obtainable by mail or in person. To do so, a requester must visit any of the three SBI offices in Kent County, Sussex County, or New Castle County.  Alternatively, out of state residents may request for criminal history background checks by mail.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In Delaware?

The Delaware Code Title 11 § 4372  permits the expungement of adult criminal records. The law allows for the destruction of all court records on an expunged case, and the arrestee may henceforth deny the occurrence of the case. The law makes provision for two types of expungement:

  • Mandatory expungement
  • Discretionary expungement

The SBI handles the Mandatory expungement. An accused person may be eligible for this type of expungement if any of the following applies:

  • The person was acquitted of all charges on the case
  • The person satisfies the requirements of probation, and the court subsequently discharges the person from the probation
  • The prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi for the charges pertaining to the case, meaning that the prosecutor or plaintiff is no longer interested in prosecuting the case
  • The person was acquitted of one or more charges in a case where other charges were dismissed on the grounds of nolle prosequi or any other reason
  • All the charges about the case were dismissed
  • No charges were filed against the accused within one year of the arrest that pertains to the crime
  • The person has “no prior convictions,” was convicted of violation(s) pertaining in a particular case, and three years have passed with “no subsequent convictions.”
  • The person has “no prior convictions,” was convicted of a misdemeanor (s) or violation(s) about a particular case, and three years have passed with “no subsequent convictions.”

A person ineligible for mandatory expungement may petition a court for a discretionary expungement. An accused may be eligible for this type of expungement if any of the following applies:

  • The accused has no prior or subsequent convictions, and three years have passed since the conviction or release from a correctional facility.
  • The accused was convicted of a single felony, and three years have passed since the conviction or release from a correctional facility, with no prior or subsequent convictions.

Note that these offenses are not eligible for expungement:

  • Felony convictions of sexual or physical assault
  • Any misdemeanor involving a sex offense
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Coercion
  • Interference with custody
  • Crime against a vulnerable adult
  • Patient abuse
  • Endangering of a child’s welfare
  • Operation of a boat, ship, or vessel under the influence
  • Trespassing with the intention of peeping or peering
  • Incest
  • Second-degree vehicular assault

When all the eligibility requirements are satisfied, a person may commence the record expungement journey by obtaining the following forms from the court or website of the court where the case was tried:

  • The Petition
  • Proposed Order

Request for a criminal history report from the SBI using the procedures enumerated in the third section of this article. Each request requires the submission of the requestor’s completed fingerprint card. Upon the successful completion of the request, the SBI mails a certified copy of the requested Criminal History Report and the SBI’s Cover Letter within four to six weeks. The expungement application can be conducted in person or by mail.

To apply in person, complete the petition, but do not sign on it. Make three photocopies and prepare three packets of the following documents in the order:

  • Petition
  • Proposed Order
  • SBI’s Cover Letter
  • Certified Criminal History

One of the packets is the original, while the other two are copies. Visit the Superior Court’s Prothonotary’s Office with the three packets, a valid identification, and a filing fee of $75. If the fee is a check, make it payable to the State of Delaware.

The Prothonotary’s Clerk examines the packets to ensure everything is in order. Then, the clerk notifies the petitioner to sign and notarize the three petitions in front of a notary. Submit the Petitions back to the Prothonotary Clerk to clock-in the three packets. The Prothonotary’s Clerk returns one clocked-in packet to the petitioner (for record-keeping) and sends another to the Attorney General.

The major difference between an in-person and a mail-in application is that the petitioner must complete and notarize the petition before making copies of it. For mail application, make two copies of all the documents concerned and prepare them in packets in the following order:

  • Petition (notarized)
  • Proposed Order
  • SBI’s Cover Letter
  • Certified Criminal History

As it was for in-person application, one of the packets must be the original, while the other are copies. Mail two packets (one original and one copy) and a filing fee of $75 to any of the following addresses:

Prothonotary Expungement Clerk

500 N. King Street

Suite 500

Wilmington, DE 19801

Prothonotary Expungement Clerk

38 The Green

Dover, DE 19901

Prothonotary Expungement Clerk

1 The Circle

Suite 2

Georgetown, DE 19947

Upon reception, the Prothonotary Clerk ascertains if the packets are in order and clock-in the two packets. As opposed to in-person applications, the Prothonotary Clerk does not send a copy to the petitioner. A copy is, however, sent to the Attorney General’s Office. The Prothonotary Clerk dockets and stores the Petition and related documents in a file.

The Attorney General is expected to respond to the court within 120 days from the date of filing the petition. The Attorney General also sends a copy of the response to the petitioner. If the response is in opposition to the petition, the petitioner has 30 days to file a countering response to the court.

The Court Clerk has a responsibility to send a copy of the petitioner’s response to the Attorney General’s Office. If, however, the petitioner sent the response to the court by mail, the petitioner must also send a copy of the response to the Attorney General’s Office by mail.

After the required responses have been received, the Prothonotary’s Office sends the petitioner’s file (which contains the petition, responses, and all related documents) to the Judicial Officer. It is the Judicial Officer’s responsibility to review the petition and responses and to determine whether the petition needs a hearing or not.

If it needs a hearing, the court furnishes the petitioner with a notice of hearing bearing the date, time, and venue. If the petition is granted, the Prothonotary’s Office sends a copy of the Judge’s signed order to the Attorney General, the petitioner (or petitioner’s attorney), and the SBI.

How To Get Criminal Records Sealed In Delaware?

Delaware law makes no provision for sealing Delaware criminal records. Eligible persons may, however, petition for the expungement of criminal records under Delaware Code Title 11 § 4372. If the court grants the order for expungement, the criminal records become unavailable to the general public.

Who Can See My Expunged/sealed Criminal Record In Delaware?

When a judge issues an expunction order for a Delaware criminal record, all files about the case are removed from the court’s repository within 60 days of the order. The Delaware expungement law mandates that these files be kept under the SBI Supervisor’s purview or in any other way that bars public disclosure. The court may, however, retain a nonpublic copy of the order of expungement.

If a non-law-enforcement officer requests for information on an expunged Delaware criminal record, the court, the law enforcement agencies, and officers are to reply that no such record exists. Therefore, law enforcement agencies can access the deleted records for any of the following reasons:

  • When investigating a crime where the subject of the record is a suspect
  • When the subject of the record applies for a job in the law enforcement agency

The Attorney General and a court also have access to deleted Delaware criminal records to determine the subject’s sentencing. The Governor and the Board of Pardons may access an expunged record if the subject applies for a pardon for any subsequent offense.

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  • And More!