Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Delaware

In Delaware, your criminal records can be expunged or sealed under the circumstances described below. After your record is expunged, you no longer have to disclose that you were arrested. (11 Delaware Code § 4376.)

Expungement If You Were Not Convicted of a Crime

If you were arrested and charged with a misdemeanor and you have no other convictions on your record, you are entitled to mandatory expungement if:

  • the charges were dropped
  • your case was dismissed, or
  • you were acquitted of the crime.

(11 Delaware Code § 4373.)

There is a long list of exceptions to this rule, including sex offenses, unlawful imprisonment, and interference with custody. Please carefully read 11 Delaware Code § 4373(c) or consult a criminal law attorney to learn whether a particular misdemeanor charge qualifies for mandatory expungement.

If your misdemeanor charge does not qualify for mandatory expungement, you may petition the Superior Court for discretionary expungement. (Again, to qualify, your criminal record must be otherwise free of convictions.) Misdemeanor charges that may be eligible for discretionary expungement include:

  • reckless driving
  • operation of a motor vehicle causing death, and
  • driving under the influence.

(11 Delaware Code § 4374.)

Expungement If You Were Convicted of a Crime

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, the only way to have your record expunged is to apply for a pardon. If you are pardoned by the Governor, you may then petition for discretionary expungement, as described above. (11 Delaware Code § 4375.)

Under this rule, expungement is not allowed for:

  • embezzlement of public money, bribery, or perjury
  • sex offenses
  • certain offenses against public administration
  • unlawful imprisonment
  • interference with custody, or
  • coercion.

(11 Delaware Code §4375(b).)

Expungement is not available for felony convictions.

How to File for Expungement

To apply for expungement in Delaware, you must first obtain a copy of your criminal record. You may then request mandatory expungement or file a petition for discretionary expungement. Additional information, including a Petition for Adult Expungement and instructions and forms for filing a Petition for Pardon, may be found at the Delaware State Courts website.

Getting Legal Help

Cleaning up your criminal record can be complicated. To learn more about expunging criminal records in Delaware -- and to discuss your personal circumstances -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

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