Expungement in Delaware
The Delaware Expungement Process can provide individuals with a fresh start and the opportunity to move on from their past mistakes. The expungement process, which is governed by 10 Del. C. § 4373, allows those who have been convicted of nonviolent misdemeanor or felony offenses to clear their criminal records from public view.
Delaware Expungement Process
If you have been convicted of a crime in the state of Delaware, you may be eligible for an expungement. This process enables individuals to clear their criminal records and avoid long-term social and economic consequences often associated with a conviction. An expungement also provides greater clarity on background checks for educational opportunities, housing rental applications, and job searches. Here, we look at the expungement process in Delaware and examine the steps you should take to apply for one.
Before applying for an expungement, it is important to understand the eligibility criteria. Under Delaware law, individuals may be eligible for an expungement if:
- The conviction being expunged was a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years of imprisonment, or any infraction.
- The individual in question does not have other convictions that would make them ineligible for an expungement.
- The individual has not been placed under supervision or parole since the time of the conviction or pleading guilty to the charge.
- There are no pending charges against the individual.
In the state of Delaware, only certain people are eligible to apply for expungement. When an individual has previously been charged with the commission of a crime or crimes and the case was dismissed in his or her favor, the individual may petition for the expungement of all police records related to the crime or crimes. This is only possible if the charges were acquitted or a nolle prosequi was entered dismissing all charges.
Mandatory expungement is available for those who have committed a misdemeanor crime or a violation of Titles four, seven, eleven, sixteen, or twenty-three. This excludes crimes that were not completely dismissed or terminated in the individual’s favor. Under certain conditions, the State Bureau of Identification may determine that an expungement is required for an individual.
If this occurs, the individual will be notified as soon as possible, as will the appropriate courts and police agencies that hold the records. Sixty days will elapse after this determination before an expungement is granted and all files are removed from public view and placed under the supervision of the Supervisor of the State Bureau of Identification. The Bureau will make certain that the records are kept within this department.
Filing an Expungement Application
Once you have determined that you are eligible for an expungement, you must file an application with the superior court. You will need to provide financial information, photograph identification, and proof of your residency. Additionally, two character witnesses must sign off on the application in order for it to be approved. Once completed, submit your application to the clerk of the superior court in the county where the charge originally occurred. It is also important to note that there is a filing fee associated with the application.
The Hearing Process
After submitting your expungement application, your case will be reviewed by the court and a hearing will be scheduled. At this hearing, both parties – the defendant and prosecution – will have the opportunity to state their case as to why they feel the expungement should either be granted or refused. In some cases, additional evidence may be submitted at this hearing. After all, evidence has been presented, a verdict will be issued based on the merit of the case.
The court has the authority to deny expungement on the grounds that the paperwork was filed incorrectly or incompletely, or that the judge has determined that granting the expungement is not in the best interests of the court.
What Happens After Receiving an Expungement?
If your expungement is granted, it is important to understand how it will affect your record. First, the charges will remain on your criminal record but will be legally “sealed” – meaning they will not be visible during a standard background check. Additionally, when asked about whether or not you have been convicted of a crime, it is legal to answer “no”. However, even though your record has been sealed it could still be made accessible in certain special situations such as high-level government positions or work involving vulnerable persons such as children and elderly people.
What are the benefits of an Expungement in Delaware?
Those who successfully obtain an expungement in Delaware realize a number of substantial benefits. Having past criminal offenses lifted from your record makes it much easier to find employment and housing opportunities, as well as secure student loans and other types of financial aid. An expungement also ensures that a person’s criminal record will remain private and inaccessible to many potential employers and landlords, which can be invaluable when pursuing new opportunities.
It’s important to remember that an expungement in Delaware is not guaranteed. The potential benefits are substantial and could significantly improve a person’s quality of life. If you believe you might be a candidate for expungement, contact a qualified attorney who can answer all your questions and help you navigate the process.