Who Can Access My Criminal Records After Expungement in Delaware?
For those who wish they could erase all traces of a mistake or lapse in judgment that led to criminal charges, there is an option that comes close: Under Delaware’s statute on disclosure of expunged records, you may qualify to have your records sealed under certain circumstances. Though you cannot delete the entire matter, the good news is that you will not have to disclose your criminal history when applying for a job, getting a loan, or other purposes.
However, because they are sealed instead of erased in their entirety, there are some circumstances under which your criminal records could be revealed. This detail may not comply with what you expect out of expungement, so you may have concerns about whether the process is right for you. A Delaware expungement lawyer can explain how the laws impact your personal situation, but you might benefit from reviewing a summary.
Factors Related to Expungement: You only qualify to have your records sealed if you meet the specific conditions listed by the statute. There are two general categories of cases to note:
- Expungement When Not Convicted: If you were arrested for a misdemeanor and have no other convictions, you may be eligible for mandatory expungement. The key is that the charges must have been dropped, your case was dismissed, or you were acquitted at trial. There are many exceptions to this rule, so you may still not qualify for expungement if your arrest was for certain sex crimes, interfering with child custody, or others. Still, you may request expungement for DUI and other driving-related offenses.
- Post-Conviction Expungement in Delaware: If you were convicted after being arrested for a misdemeanor, you must first be granted a pardon by the governor – and then request expungement. Unlike #1 above, this relief is not mandatory but discretionary in nature. You will not qualify if your conviction was for a felony OR related to:
- Designated fraud crimes;
- Sex offenses; and,
- Others listed in the statute.
Access to Certain Expunged Records: Even if you qualify and obtain expungement of your criminal records, you should be aware of situations where these documents may be accessed. Criminal justice agencies may be able to see records related to:
- First offender drug or domestic violence diversion programs, i.e., probation; and,
- Your history, when it is relevant to your application for a concealed carry license.
Keep in mind that sealing records does not require officials to destroy any photos or fingerprints that may be used by police in conducting investigations. For instance, if your fingerprints tie you to a criminal case after expungement, officers can still use the evidence to pursue charges.
Call Now to Speak to a Knowledgeable Expungement Lawyer in Delaware
As you can see, cleaning up your criminal record can be challenging, especially if you do not have a legal background. If you would like to know more about eligibility and the implications of expungement, please contact Wilmington expungement lawyer Michael W. Modica today. You can call 302.600.1262 or visit our website to set up a consultation at our offices.