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Are Delaware Records Public?

Delaware's records are mostly public under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Accessible records may include documents and information created, compiled, and maintained by any public body about public interest and business, regardless of how it is stored, recorded, or reproduced. Public records can also exist in different forms, including papers, recordings, books, photographs, maps, cards, electronic data processing, letters, reports, etc. 

In line with state laws, government agencies in Delaware must provide public access for persons to view, inspect, or obtain copies following proper requests. For instance, the Delaware State Police provides sex offender information, the Delaware Department of Public Health issues vital records, and the court clerks keep court records.

Who Can Access Delaware Public Records?

Delaware citizens may request public records held by state or local government bodies. The FOIA provides that "all public records shall be open for examination and copying during regular business hours by the custodian of the records for the appropriate public body." Therefore, citizens must be allowed reasonable access or facilities for copying these records following proper requests, as long as the record is not restricted from public access by law. Additionally, non-residents may still access records online or obtain copies at the custodian’s discretion.

Do I Need to State My Purpose and Use When Requesting Public Records in Delaware?

Delaware residents do not need to specify their purpose when requesting public records. The Delaware Attorney General reiterates that the purpose of a FOIA request for records is irrelevant, and a public body cannot inquire about the reason for the request or require the requestor to provide a statement of purpose before processing the request. 

What Records are Public in Delaware?

Multiple government records are considered public information in Delaware, including:

  • Bankruptcy records
  • Court records
  • Divorce records
  • Inmate records and jail rosters
  • Property records
  • Sex offender information

Delaware Public Court Records

Delaware court records consist of documents created during legal proceedings in a court within the state. Court records such as dockets, transcripts, and decrees may contain details or summaries of civil and criminal cases, including party names, case outcomes, and court orders issued during the proceeding.  

Clerks of Courts or prothonotaries maintain court records for their respective jurisdictions and provide access in line with the Freedom of Information Act. Individuals who wish to access Delaware court records can do so through provided online tools like CourtConnect, an online case management system, or by sending requests containing specific records or case details and fees to the appropriate court.

Delaware Public Criminal Records

Delaware criminal records contain information about a person's criminal history, including charges and convictions. Most records generally provide the following details:

  • Full name of the individual
  • Aliases and Social Security Numbers
  • Date and place of birth
  • Physical characteristics, such as height, weight, eye color, and hair color
  • Details on criminal offenses
  • Convictions, sentencing, and probations (if an)

The Delaware FOIA considers the disclosure of criminal records an invasion of personal privacy and restricts access from public access. They are, however, obtainable by the subject of the record upon proof of identity or by other parties, with the subject's consent in the case of a criminal background check for employment purposes.

The State Bureau of Investigation under the Delaware Police Department (DSP) is the official repository for Delaware criminal histories. Eligible persons can get certified criminal history records for $72.00 or $85.00 when it includes federal criminal history information. To obtain a Delaware criminal record, the bureau requires applicants to appear in person (scheduling required) and submit to fingerprinting for a copy of their criminal history.  

In-person requests can be made from any of the three Delaware SBI offices in the state:

600 South Bay Road
Suite 1
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: (302) 739-5871


Thurman Adams State Service Center
546 S. Bedford Street
Room 202
Georgetown, DE 19947
Phone: (302) 739-2528


New Castle:
Delaware State Police Troop 2
Route 40
West of Fox Run Shopping Center
Bear, DE 19701
Phone: (302) 739-2528

Delaware Public Arrest Records

Delaware arrest records are law enforcement documents that provide information about an arrest. Unlike a criminal record, which indicates the subject's guilt or conviction for a crime, an arrest record simply documents the arrest and the associated details. 

Information contained may include the suspect's physical description, personal details, booking information, and arrest incident. Other relevant data that may be included are the arresting officer's name and signature, information about the police investigation related to the arrest, and the name of the issuer of the arrest warrant that resulted in the arrest.

Unless exempted by law or sealed court order, interested persons may obtain Delaware arrest records following FOIA requests to the law enforcement agency that made the arrest. The request should include as much detailed description as possible about the arrestee or the case.

Delaware Public Bankruptcy Records

Delaware's bankruptcy records are files and documents that contain information generated during the bankruptcy case filed by individuals or corporations. Bankruptcy records typically contain personal and financial information about the parties involved in the case and the documents used during bankruptcy court hearings. However, only some of these details may be available to the public in line with the FOIA. Hence, public Delaware bankruptcy records may contain the following information:

  • Case name, number, and summary
  • Type of bankruptcy filed and filing date
  • Names of debtors and creditors
  • Court-issued orders and verdicts
  • Status of the case
  • Docket report

Like other court records, Delaware bankruptcy records are created and maintained by the court that heard the case. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware hears bankruptcy cases filed within the state's jurisdiction and serves all three counties. To access Delaware bankruptcy records, interested parties can visit or mail requests to the clerk of court's office at:

United States Bankruptcy Court - District of Delaware

824 N Market Street

3rd Floor

Wilmington, DE 19801

Phone: (302) 252-2900

Public terminals, electronic case search platforms, public archives, and free Voice Case Information System (VCIS) are also available to researchers of bankruptcy case information.

Delaware Public Birth Records

Delaware birth records are official documents that provide details about a person's birth in the state. The information listed in a birth record generally includes:

  • Name of the child
  • Gender
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Parents' names, etc. 

Delaware birth records are private until 72 years after the event when the records are made available to the public through the Delaware State Archives. Access to records not yet open is limited to the subject of the record, the subject's current spouse, adult children, parents or legal guardians, and a legal representative of any eligible parties.

To order Delaware birth certificates or a replacement birth certificate, a requester has to make a request in person or via mail at any of the Offices of Vital Statistics by providing completed application forms, valid ID, and $25 fees in person or via mail to any of the following offices: 

OVS, New Castle County:

258 Chapman Road, 

Newark, DE 19702

Phone: (302) 283-7130

Fax: (302) 283-7131


OVS, Kent County (central office):

417 Federal Street, 

Dover, DE 19901

Phone: (302) 744-4549

Fax: (302) 736-1862


OVS, Sussex County:

546 S. Bedford Street,

Georgetown, DE 19947

Phone: (302) 515-3190

Fax: (302) 515-3191

Delaware Public Death Records

Delaware death records contain information on deaths that occurred in the state. Death records include the following details about the deceased:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Date and location of death
  • Place of death
  • Age, gender, occupation, and race of the deceased.
  • Parents' details
  • Marital status of the deceased
  • Cause of death and current residence.

In line with the State Code, Delaware death records are considered private until 40 years after the subject’s passing, after which they will be publicly available through the Delaware State Archives. Prior to this publication, the Office of Vital Statistics shall maintain Delaware death records and issue copies to qualified individuals, such as family members of the deceased, a legal guardian of the deceased family, or a court-authorized representative.

Eligible individuals can place an order via mail or in person by providing a completed application form, $25 fees, and valid ID to the Office of Vital Statistics at any of these locations:

OVS, New Castle County

258 Chapman Road, 

Newark, DE 19702

Phone: (302) 283-7130

Fax: (302) 283-7131


OVS, Kent County (Central office)

417 Federal Street, 

Dover, DE 19901

Phone: (302) 744-4549

Fax: (302) 736-1862


OVS, Sussex County

546 S. Bedford Street, 

Georgetown, DE 19947

Phone: 302-515-3190

Fax: 302-515-3191

Delaware Public Marriage Records 

Older marriage records are publicly obtainable via the Delaware Public Archives. However, records of marriages (or civil unions) in Delaware are private until 50 years after the event. Recent or restricted marriage records are available at the Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) - Office of Vital Statistics. Delaware marriage certificates may contain information such as:

  • Spouses’ names
  • Place of marriage
  • Date of marriage
  • Spouses’ dates of birth or ages at marriage
  • Number of previous marriages
  • Names of witnesses 
  • Officiant details. 

To obtain Delaware marriage certificates, requesters must be a record subject, authorized by the subject, or have a close familial relationship with the subject. Eligible persons must provide proof of identity, relationship, or authorization along with the filled requests forms and fees in-person or via fax or mail to the DHSS Office of Vital Statistics at:

Jesse S. Cooper Bldg.

417 Federal Street

Dover, DE 19901

Phone: (302) 744-4549


Chopin Building

258 Chapman Road

Newark, DE 19702

Phone: (302) 283-7130


Thurman Adams State Service Center 

546 S. Bedford Street

Georgetown, DE 19947

Phone: (302) 856-5495

On the other hand, interested persons can access marriage records from 1855 to 1970 through the Online Marriage Index maintained by the Delaware Public Archive for a fee.

Delaware Public Divorce Records

Delaware divorce records like divorce or annulment decrees are court records that provide information on legal separations and divorce cases in the state. Hence, these records may contain the divorcees’ names, case numbers, marriage and divorce dates, divorce location (county or court), and children's names, if any.

Exempted information like medical records, SSNs, financial information, or personal contact details provided during the case are redacted from copies provided to the public. Additionally, in line with the confidentiality of information contained, certified copies of divorce decrees are only available to the divorced party, close relatives, and those authorized by the divorcee or court order to obtain the record.

To obtain informational or certified copies of Delaware divorce records, interested persons should direct requests to the Records Department of the Family Court in the county where the divorce or annulment was granted. Making requests may involve providing clear divorce details (party name, divorce period, or case number) along with the requester's details and valid ID (or other proof), and fees ($4 for certified copy and $1 for non-certified copy) in person or via mail to the appropriate court location.

Delaware Public Inmate Records

Delaware inmate records are mostly public, excluding information that falls under the FOIA exemptions, such as an inmate's medical or disciplinary information. However,  Delaware citizens can still obtain the following information concerning an inmate:

  • Full name and known aliases
  • Date of birth
  • Mugshot 
  • Physical descriptions
  • Offense and sentencing details
  • Housing facility and Inmate number
  • Release date

The Delaware Department of Corrections (DOC) maintains records of inmates in state facilities, and interested persons may obtain public inmate records via the inmate locator tool or by directing FOIA requests to the DOC at:


Department of Correction

Attn: Tim Martin, Legal Services Administrator

245 McKee Road

Dover, DE, 19904

In Person:

DOC Administration Building

Attn: Tim Martin, Legal Services Administrator

245 McKee Road

Dover, DE, 19904

Additionally, victims can get current inmate information through the DOC Victim Services Unit by calling (302) 857-5440. Information on visiting inmates in state facilities is also available online.

Note: County, community, or federal correctional facility information may not be available on the state’s DOC site and require requests addressed to the entity that maintains the facility.

Delaware Public Sex Offender Information

Persons convicted of sex-related crimes in Delaware are required by law to register and undergo an evaluation to be categorized under risk assessment tiers in line with the State Code. The Delaware State Police - State Bureau of Identification maintains records of these offenders and provides information on moderate or high-risk offenders through a central online registry.

Interested persons may conduct searches using the offender or geographical criteria by providing offender names or a specific location i.e., Street, City, County, or Zip code. Available Delaware sex offender information may include:

  • Offender's full name and aliases
  • Mugshot and physical description
  • Date of birth
  • Convictions, sentencing, and incarceration status
  • Risk assessment level

Users who misuse information obtained from this registry to harass, injure, or commit offenses against registrants may face criminal or civil penalties.

Delaware Public Property Records

Several types of property records, like land deeds, property tax reports, plats, and surveys, fall under the category of public information in line with the FOIA. These records contain details on a property, its owner, and other related information like physical characteristics and tax value information. Furthermore, different forms of property records have different custodians, usually at county levels. For instance,  a county’s Recorder of Deeds maintains land deeds and mortgages, while a county’s Assessment and Tax Office keeps documents relating to property tax. 

Hence, interested persons need to direct requests containing property or owner details to the appropriate custodian to obtain records. Alternatively, persons may check if online property search tools are available, like in New Castle County and Sussex County.

What is Exempted Under the Delaware Public Records Act?

Delaware's Public Records Law restricts or exempts certain records from public disclosure. Record custodians can deny access to records to protect personal privacy, public safety, or the confidentiality of specific government actions. The following are examples of information exempted under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act:

  • Adoption and child custody case files
  • Anonymous charitable contributions
  • Autopsy photos, videos, and audio recordings in possession of the Division of Forensic Science
  • Criminal files and records
  • Department of Correction records sought by an inmate in the DOC’s custody
  • Investigatory and intelligent files
  • Labor negotiation records
  • Medical, personnel, or pupil records
  • Military service transfer or discharge documents
  • Public library records

When unsure if a sought record falls under exemptions, interested persons may direct inquiries to the custodian or consult with an attorney.

How Do I Find Public Records in Delaware?

Generally, Delaware public records have different custodians with varying access requirements. However, the process of finding and requesting records remains similar. Therefore, interested persons may follow these steps to get the records they seek:

  1. Confirm which record is needed and available: Requesters should know the specific information or record they need to streamline the process and possibly save costs. Also, determining if the record is open to the public or particularly to the requester or which type of copy you should/can get will be helpful. For instance, if you seek Delaware court records, know the specific type of court records you seek (i.e. bankruptcy or divorce decree), check if the record is available, and decide whether to get paper or certified copies for official purposes. 
  2. Find the custodian: This step can usually be completed with a quick search but may sometimes be tricky if some important record details still need to be discovered. For instance, not knowing where a divorce occurred or where an offender was incarcerated can make requesting records difficult since you do not know where to direct the request. However, using search tools provided by courts, the Department of Correction, and other bodies may be useful in gathering as many specific details as possible for request purposes. A helpful tip here is to check the custodian’s requirements for making requests, such as record description, identification, and fees.
  3. Choose a medium: Requesters should choose the method they want to use to access a record or make a request. Most custodians let requesters inspect records or request copies in person and may also provide request channels via mail, fax, online forms, and email. Hence, the requester should choose the most convenient means that suit their needs. Note that while in-person requests may accept providing fees in cash and simply showing valid identification, mailed, faxed, or online requests may require fees in checks or money orders and copies of photo ID. 
  4. Make request: This step often involves providing specific record or subject matter descriptions for the record search, personal contact details to receive the records, or personal ID to prove claims. Some custodians may require requesters to include fees in the initial request, while others will include the record cost in their response to the initial requests, which the requester has to pay to obtain copies.

Can I Find Free Public Records in Delaware Using Third-Party Sites?

Interested persons may find Delaware public records for free on third-party sites. However, information on these sites may only sometimes be factual and may be from questionable data sources. Some search features on third-party sites may also take time to complete or get results. However, using reputable sites may save researchers the hassle and help them quickly search for records and obtain accurate results.

How Much Do Public Records Cost in Delaware?

Public records cost in Delaware may vary depending on the record type, record size, and record custodian. Generally, inspecting readily available records in person or viewing public databases may be done for free. However, getting copies of records may incur the following charges set forth by the FOIA:

  • Standard black and white copies - first 20 pages: Free
  • Standard black and white copies - above 20 pages: $0.10 per sheet

$0.20 per double-sized sheet

  • Oversized copies: $2-$3 per sheet or $1 per square foot
  • Colored copies - standard size: Additional $1 per sheet
  • Colored copies - large size: Additional $1.50 per sheet
  • Microfilm - first 20 pages: Free
  • Microfilm - above 20 pages: Additional $0.15 per sheet

These charges do not include administrative fees for staff time spent identifying documents or generating computer records. However, the law requires these fees to be reasonable and billed at the current hourly rates of the lowest-paid employee who can perform the service. Requesters should note that these costs are only valid when applicable and may be otherwise overridden by fee structures set by county or municipal codes.

What Happens if I Am Refused a Public Records Request in Delaware?

Citizens denied access to public records in Delaware may petition the Attorney General to determine if the denial violated the Freedom of Information Act or not. If it is determined that the denied request was indeed a violation, the body may agree to comply with the law and grant access, or the denied requester may file a suit personally or request the Attorney General to file a suit on their behalf.

Citizens may still file a suit personally if the Attorney General deems that the denied access was in line with the FOIA. The suits must be filed within 60 days of denial and should be in the county or city where the plaintiff resides or the government body is located. The burden of proof falls on the custodian, who has to justify their failure to comply.  Successful plaintiffs can get remedies in the form of provided records and awarded attorney fees and costs.

Delaware Public Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!