In Delaware, your criminal records can be expunged or sealed under the circumstances described below. After your record is expunged, typically only law enforcement officers who are investigating criminal activity or reviewing your application for a job in law enforcement can access the expunged information. In most cases, you no longer have to disclose that you were arrested. (11 Delaware Code § 4376 (2018).)
If you were arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or violation and you have no other convictions on your record, you are entitled to mandatory expungement upon request if:
(11 Delaware Code § 4373 (2018).)
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 or violation charge does not qualify for mandatory expungement, you may petition the 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:
(11 Delaware Code § 4374 (2018).)
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or violation, 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 (2018).)
Under this rule, expungement is not allowed for charges of:
(11 Delaware Code §4375(b) (2018).)
Expungement is not available for felony convictions.
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 Expungement of Criminal Record for an Adult and instructions and forms for filing a Petition for Pardon, may be found at the Delaware State Courts website.
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.