What are Criminal Records in Delaware?
Delaware criminal records provide a detailed official overview of the subject’s criminal history within Delaware. Also known as a rap sheet, it's assembled and compiled from courts, Delaware correctional facilities, and other local and state departments. It contains records of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations. While the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, most records are organized in a central repository managed by the Delaware State Police.
Are Criminal Records Public in Delaware?
Yes, per the Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), documents in this police record are available to the public unless restricted by court order or statute. The State Bureau of Identification (SBI) is the designated custodian for certified criminal history reports in the state. Most criminal records provide general information such as the subject’s:
- Name and any known aliases
- Physical descriptors
Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:
- The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
- The record subjects’ last known location, including cities, counties, and states.
Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.
How to Obtain Criminal Records in Delaware?
The SBI is responsible for making certified criminal records available to requestors. Individuals who wish to perform a criminal record search must provide the subject’s fingerprint card. The requester must also provide photo identification, such as a valid driver’s license or State ID (from any state).
The SBI charges $52 for a criminal background check and does not offer a free public criminal record check. Requesters may pay through cash, credit or debit cards, certified checks, or money orders made payable to the Delaware State Police. Although free criminal records exist, the information held within them may be limited or incomplete.
What are Delaware Arrest Records?
Delaware arrest records contain information of persons taken from any location and transported or transferred into the custody of a law enforcement agency within their facilities or building. An arrest does not always result in a criminal charge because, in some cases, an arrest may be made to further a criminal investigation or after sufficient evidence pointing at the alleged offender. Either way, law enforcement agencies must convince the court that they have reasonable grounds to believe the arrestee is involved in a criminal offense before the court grants an arrest warrant for the suspect.
While Delaware police records, also known as police reports, include arrest information, they are not the same as arrest records. Police reports hold information on incidents and general law enforcement activity generated by police officers.
Are Arrest Records Public in Delaware?
Yes, the Delaware FOIA makes arrest records available to the public domain. At the state level, interested persons can view public arrest records while looking through criminal records obtained from the SBI. Meanwhile, at the county level, interested persons can run an arrest search at the sheriff or police department. These agencies do not offer free arrest records, but a requester may inquire of the record custodian’s fee waiver policy to obtain arrest records for free.
What is an Arrest Warrant in Delaware?
An arrest warrant is an active warrant given to law enforcement to carry out an arrest and take a person named, described, or declared wanted into custody. Once arrested, the civil liberty of the arrestee becomes immediately limited. They may be legally held or confined by law enforcement officers.
Generally, an arrest warrant may contain the name, race, physical description, date of birth, and other relevant information that may assist law enforcement agents in confirming and apprehending the right person. As with criminal records and arrest records, Delaware arrest warrants are in the public domain. An interested party can perform a name-based warrant search or contact their local sheriff or a police department for a copy of the document.
What are Inmate Records in Delaware?
Delaware inmate records are official information on persons incarcerated or held in the custody of criminal correctional facilities or criminal rehabilitation centers following a court sentence and penalty for crimes for which they were convicted or being held. Inmates are usually held in prisons under the administration of the Delaware Department of Corrections (DOC). Interested parties can request an inmate search through local law enforcement agencies. Information on former and current inmates held on level 4, and level 5 correctional facilities are updated by the Central Offender Records Unit of the DOC.
What is the Delaware Sex Offender Registry?
The Delaware sex offender registry is backed by Megan’s Law and contains information on registered sex offenders. Delaware law mandates that such persons register their personal data and other information for the purpose of notifying people within their community, neighborhood, and the general public. The state requires sex offenders to register solely for the purpose of ensuring public safety and preventing repeat sexual offenses. Information contained in the sex offender registry may include:
- Names and aliases of the offender
- Physical description
- Description of sexual offense
- Date of conviction
What is a DUI in Delaware?
A DUI in Delaware is a serious traffic violation that occurs when a driver operates a vehicle on the road while impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance. Typically, Delaware law enforcement will stop any driver they observe to have poor control over their vehicle. If the officer suspects the driver of drunk driving, they may require them to submit to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test to confirm.
In Delaware, a driver is convicted with DUI when they have a BAC of 0.08 or more. The penalties for driving under the influence include fines, jail time, and a suspended driver’s license. Delaware’s courts often suspend a drunk driver’s license for one to three years, depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest and the number of repeat offenses.
The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles is charged with maintaining records of traffic offenses and reviewing the driving records to issue or revoke driver’s licenses.
What are Delaware Misdemeanors?
A misdemeanor is generally less severe than felonies. Like felonies, misdemeanor charges are categorized into classes to describe the severity of the alleged crime.
- Class A misdemeanors carry penalties of up to 1-year incarceration and up to $2300 in fines.
- Class B misdemeanors carry up to 6 months in jail and $1150 in fines.
- Certain misdemeanors may not fall under Class A or Class B. Those result in less stiff penalties, usually with the possibility of a maximum of 30 days in confinement and a fine of up to $575.
What are Felonies in Delaware?
A felony offense is an offense that may result in a criminal conviction with a sentence of more than one year in confinement. The severity of sentences for felonies stems from the serious nature of the offenses described as felonies, which are often violent and dangerous acts.
Felonies are classified into classes A, B, C, D, E, F, or G, and each category is subdivided into violent and non-violent. The penalty for a felony depends on the class, with class G carrying the least serious penalty and class A the most severe.
What are Parole Records in Delaware?
Delaware parole records provide information on persons who have been considered for early release from a prison sentence by the Delaware Parole Board after serving a portion of the sentenced term. Considerations for early release include the rehabilitation of the offender and the reasonable chance that they will be law-abiding and pose no criminal risk or danger to themselves and the community. Parole is a form of supervision, and the parolee must abide by the terms and conditions of parole stipulated by the Board. A parole violation will result in re-incarceration.
Since the passage of the Truth in Sentencing Act, the Parole Board no longer grants parole except for offenders that were sentenced for crimes committed before June 30, 1990. However, the Parole Board may consider information and data presented before it by the Department of Corrections for a modification of the offender’s sentence by the sentencing judge.
What are Probation Records in Delaware?
Probation records contain information on the court sentence, suspending or canceling a possibility of jail or prison time. For instance, a person sentenced to probation instead of jail time of up to three months may remain within the community and serve their sentence. However, if such persons violate the terms and conditions of that probation, the court may require them to serve the suspended jail time.
Probation is granted per Delaware Laws and based on a pre-sentence investigation report which helps guide the sentencing court on the appropriate sentence or alternative order with regards to the defendant’s case.
Probation in Delaware is separated into different levels of supervision from level 1 to level 4 and level 5 supervision being people remanded in jail. The level of supervision imposed on an offender may depend on the gravity of the offense committed and the offender’s criminal history. Supervision is also a joint effort between the judiciary and the Bureau of Community Corrections.
Offenders under level 1 are the least supervised under the least restrictions and are usually first-time offenders whose probation officers believe are low-risk re-offenders. They may be required to make restitution or pay a fine. Level 1 probationers are usually under house arrest with electronic monitoring, direct surveillance, or a residential treatment center.
What are Juvenile Criminal Records in Delaware?
Juvenile criminal records are documents containing details and information on criminal behavior, activities of persons considered youths in Delaware, and the consequences dealt out to them by a family court or a Superior court in Delaware.
Persons below the age of 18 are not considered criminals under Delaware laws. Instead, juveniles are adjudicated delinquents or not adjudicated delinquents. Juvenile adjudicated delinquents will have juvenile records. Conversely, juveniles not adjudicated delinquent will not have conviction records.
The aim of the family court is to rehabilitate juveniles, which are described as amenable. Unless the family court believes the youth is not amenable or they have committed serious crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping, they may be transferred to the Superior court to be tried as an adult.
Juvenile records, including arrests, charges, and adjudications, remain on the youth’s record even after they have turned 18. They must formally apply for an expungement, if they are eligible, to have the juvenile records removed. Once the court grants an expungement order, the Bureau of Identification is notified. Next, all arrest records, police records, and court records relating to the juvenile’s adjudicated offense are put in the care of the Bureau. Doing this ensures the juvenile records remain sealed with no chance of its release, except as permitted by the law.
Delaware Conviction Records
A conviction record reflects the final decision of a court or jury on the criminal charges against a person before the trial court. A conviction record will appear on a person’s criminal records once they have been declared guilty of a crime by a judge or jury after a trial, declared guilty after entering a nolo contendere plea, or pleaded guilty to the offense for which they were charged.
How to Find Delaware Criminal History Record for Free
In the state of Delaware, individuals can access their criminal history record through the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) maintained by the Delaware State Police. However, requests for criminal history records require the payment of a nominal fee to cover the cost of research and duplication of the record. To obtain a criminal history record for free, requesters can request a fee waiver if they satisfy the state’s eligibility requirements for a waiver. Alternatively, inquirers may make in-person requests to local law enforcement agencies, or use the self-service computers in the courthouse of the jurisdiction where the record subject is resident.
Are Police Records Public in Delaware?
The majority of police records are considered public in Delaware unless they contain sensitive information such as juvenile information or details of a classified investigation. Under Delaware Law, all police records can be obtained by members of the public through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Requests must be in writing and sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency or agency head that generated the documents requested.
How to Obtain Police Records in Delaware
Individuals may obtain police records from the Delaware State Police or from any local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in their community. To obtain these records, individuals should contact the respective agency directly and request access on a form provided by them. The individual will need to provide details of the record being requested and a small processing fee. If a request is denied, the agency must provide an explanation for why it was denied, and the requester reserves the right to appeal any denial of their request within 30 days.
Are Police Reports Public Record?
All police reports generated in Delaware are public records according to state law. The only exception is when a report contains sensitive or confidential information which must be redacted before being released to the public. To obtain a copy of a police report, an individual should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency directly and submit a written request for the document. Most agencies will require payment of a small fee for releasing this type of information.
How to File a Police Report with Delaware Law Enforcement
To file a police report with Delaware law enforcement, an individual should contact the local police department or sheriff’s office in the county where the crime occurred. The individual should provide their personal information along with a detailed description of what happened and any potential evidence that may have been collected.
Where to Find Free Public Police Records in Delaware
Delaware State Police and local law enforcement agencies process requests for police records generated in their respective jurisdictions. However, these requests require the payment of a fee unless the requesting party is deemed eligible for a fee waiver.
What Else Can Be Found in Police Records?
In addition to arrest and conviction records, other types of information may also be found in police records, including mugshots, incident reports, 911 call logs, and traffic accident reports.