It is well known that finding work after an arrest or conviction is difficult because prospective employers conduct background checks and request additional information. Expungement makes this process a little easier. Expungement removes criminal records from the public eye, making them inaccessible to future employers, licensing agencies, educational grant agencies, credit card companies, and other corporations. This type of legal action is only available to a select few. Following the filing of a petition, 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.
Expungement is intended to assist those who are attempting to improve their lives and have been deemed good citizens of the state. Despite the fact that expungement is a legal action, it is not a civil right. The court has the authority to revoke this privilege. It is the sealing of records so that only the proper authorities have access to them in the event of an emergency. This means that when a criminal record is expunged, it is not physically erased. If the individual commits another crime, they can still be accessed and used. In this case, the expunged record will serve as a precedent, elevating the punishment for the new crime. Records can also be accessed when a person runs for public office or applies to join the United States military. Background checks are absolutely necessary in these situations. The only other time a sealed file can be accessed is when a break in the past case has occurred, new evidence has been discovered, and charges against the individual have changed.
Eligibility in Delaware
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.