Delaware Court Records
What are Delaware Juvenile Court Records?
Delaware Juvenile Court Records include case files and reports of cases brought before the Delaware Family Court. These records concern the unlawful acts committed by or committed against any person below 18 years of age. Article 10. Del. C § 1002 states that any person below the age of 18 is not considered a criminal and cannot be charged with a crime in any other court apart from the Family Court. However, in the case of a traffic violation or any other criminal offenses as stated in Title 11 Chapter 5 of the State of Delaware Statutory Code, a young person below 18 years will be made to face trial in an adult court. The second part states that a child below the age of 10 could not be charged with any act of delinquency or a crime unless such child is proven competent. Although there is no separate Juvenile Court for juvenile matters, there is a Juvenile Process by which all courts in Delaware trying juvenile matters must follow. Delaware Family Court Rules and Procedures guide the Family Court in the dispensation of justice on juvenile issues. The responsibility of recording, filing, and maintenance of Juvenile records is placed upon the Family Court.
What Information is Contained in a Delaware Juvenile Record?
The information contained in juvenile records is the documentation of all interactions with law enforcement agencies concerning the charges laid against the juvenile. The record includes;
- The personal details of the juvenile; full names, names of parent and guardian, residential address, physical description, identifiable marks like tattoos or birthmarks, etc
- The Arrest details; the arresting agencies, the date of arrest, place of arrest, invents that led to arrest, detention, etc.
- The Sentencing details; indictment, disposition from charges, court proceedings, the form of sentencing, and due date of release.
Juvenile records in Delaware are highly confidential, and the information is not disclosed to members of the public without a court order.
What Cases are Heard by Delaware Juvenile Courts?
There is no special Juvenile Court in the state of Delaware. The Family Court tries all cases that relate to or concern any person below the age of 18. The general assembly has empowered the Family Court to hear cases of;
- Juvenile delinquency
- Child neglect
- Child dependency
- Child abuse
- Adult misdemeanor against juveniles
- Child support
- Cohabitation, Marriage, and Divorce
The Family Court has jurisdiction to hear matters concerning the unlawful act committed by or committed against a juvenile. The Family Court has no jurisdiction over matters committed by juveniles such as traffic violation or criminal acts that are considered felonies, first and second-degree murder, rape, kidnapping, and other criminal acts as stated in Del. Code tit. 11.
Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Delaware?
Apart from the juvenile, the parent or guardian of the juvenile, and law enforcement agencies in the state, no other person can view juvenile records. Juvenile records are kept with the State Bureau of Identification. The SBI is responsible for storing and maintaining juvenile records and criminal records. In the state of Delaware, all kinds of criminal records are kept away from the public, except the following:
- Criminal Justice agencies
- Licensing agencies and companies that have been mandated by State law to check the criminal history record information of an applicant
- Government Social agencies responsible for the rehabilitation of delinquent juveniles
- Research agencies must use the information on the records purely for research purposes. The agency must also obtain a court order before accessing the records.
- Juvenile’s attorney
- State public defenders
How to Find Juvenile Records in Delaware
The confidentiality of juvenile records in the State of Delaware made it impossible to find juvenile records online. To obtain juvenile records, the holder or parent/ guardian of the holder must submit fingerprints and a photo means of identification like a driver’s license, a State ID, or a school ID to any of the offices of the State Bureau of Identification. The requester will pay $52 for a State of Delaware background check. The requester will also fill a request form to obtain the record. The information required for the request form includes; the offender’s biodata and contact information, the purpose of the request, and when the requester is expected to receive the document, and how the document should be delivered. The record can either be delivered by mail or email. An interested person who is not the record holder must obtain a court order before access is granted to juvenile records.
New Castle County
Delaware State Police
100 Lagrange Avenue
Newark, Delaware 19720
Tel: 1 800 464 4357, 302 739 2528
Blue Hen Mall and Corporate Center
Suite 1B 655 Bay Road
Dover, Delaware 19901
Tel: (302) 739–5871
Thurman-Adams State Service Center
Room 202 546 S. Bedford Street
Georgetown, DE 19947
Tel: (302) 856–5340
Sussex County and New Castle County require that a requester books an appointment before the State Bureau of Investigation office is visited. Whereas Kent County does not require a prior appointment schedule, it is only expected that the requester visits the office within the office hours. New Castle and Kent County accept cash, credit or debit card, money order, certified or company checks made to Delaware State Police to pay for the state background check. However, Sussex County does not accept cash.
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 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 of.
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.
Can You Lookup Delaware Juvenile Records Online?
Juvenile records are confidential documents obtained by court order if the requester is not the records owner. A complete record of juvenile delinquency cannot be found on any online platform. The partial information that is available online is the Criminal History Record Information of a juvenile who is found to be adjudicated delinquent of crimes that are contained in Del. Code tit. 11.
Do Delaware Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?
There is a possibility of juvenile records showing up on background checks since the records are accessible to several organizations and private persons who have proved responsible and act on behalf of an organization. More so, there is no automatic expungement of records in Delaware. As long as a person does not file a petition to expunge past juvenile records, it will always show up on background checks.
The parent or guardian of a child who is younger than 18 can file a petition for the expungement of juvenile records on behalf of the child. Once a person is above the age of 18, personally filing a petition for juvenile records, expungement is possible. Expungement in Delaware is categorized as;
1. Mandatory Expungement
Del. Code tit. 10, § 1017 defined records that must be expunged as records created when a juvenile was charged with violation of county codes, ordinances, or charged with several misdemeanors, but the juvenile was not found to be adjudicated delinquent. Moreover, suppose the charges were as severe as a felony or any other criminal charges. In that case, an expungement of record must be granted once the juvenile is not found to be adjudicated, delinquent. Suppose the juvenile has no previous case or any other adjudications of delinquency, pending charges, and a year has passed since the case was terminated in favor of the juvenile. In that case, a juvenile qualifies for Mandatory Expungement.
2. Discretional Expungement
Del. Code tit. 10, § 1018 defined discretional expungement of records as such records that must be served to the Attorney General, who may decide to file an objection within 30 days. For records under this category to be expunged;
- The state must determine that keeping the records of arrest and prosecution implies injustice and unfairness to the juvenile.
- It must be over a year after the case was terminated in favor of the juvenile.
- The juvenile must not have a pending or previous case of delinquency. The juvenile must also ensure that there is no subsequent adjudication of delinquencies.
- It must be over three years since the last sentencing for adjudicated delinquency of misdemeanor, and the juvenile has no more than one case of delinquency involving misdemeanor sex offenses.
- The juvenile must not have more than two separate and distinctive delinquency cases involving minor misdemeanors like disobeying a county or municipal code, ordinance, or regulations.
- It must be over five years since the last sentencing for adjudicated delinquency involving a violent misdemeanor or felony. The juvenile has no more than one case of delinquency for the last five years.
- It must have been over seven years since the last sentencing for adjudicated delinquency involving crimes as stated in title 11
- It must be proven that keeping the past juvenile record is an act of injustice against the record holder.
Expungement of records does not apply to offenses such as rape, first and second-degree murder, first-degree arson, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, home invasion, etc.
How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Delaware?
Juvenile records are kept for as long as the offender decides not to file a petition for the record’s expungement. There is no automatic expungement of records, except on the condition that a juvenile offender receives a gubernatorial pardon. In order words, it is possible for records of unlawful acts committed by a person to remain forever.