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Arrest Records Delaware: How to Find Delaware Arrest Records

Arrest Records Delaware: How to Find Delaware Arrest Records
September 14, 2022

The arrest records in Delaware hold vital information about the event leading up to the arrest of an individual. 


The information in the arrest records includes a detailed account of the arrest, the charge, and any outstanding arrest warrant. 


The presence of an arrest record does not mean the subject is guilty of the crime, which differentiates an arrest record from a criminal record.

Delaware holds in high esteem the right of its citizens to have easy access to public records based on demand. 


Accordingly, arrest records are maintained by police departments, courts, and other relevant government agencies.

handcuffs lying on an illustration of the Delaware flag

Are Arrest Records made Public in Delaware?

The Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives the public the power to have access to public records when requested by the relevant agency or department. 


Arrest records are categorized as public records in Delaware and are made available to the public. There are different levels of agencies managing arrest records in Delaware, from the county to the state. 

Arrest records can be obtained at the county level through the police department or sheriff's office, while information about arrest records at the state level is only obtainable through the State Bureau of Identification (SBI).

Who Has Access to Arrest Records in Delaware?

In accordance with the state's law, once you apply to the appropriate law enforcement agency, you have the right to arrest records in Delaware. 


Therefore, individuals ranging from the subject of the arrest to family members, employers, landlords, etc., have the right to request arrest records in Delaware. 

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Despite the right given to the public, there is still some exemption level as the public access is not absolute. For instance, the law of Delaware prevents access to arrest records with a pending or ongoing investigation. 


Also, if such a record reveals confidential information or harms someone, it is prevented from public access. 

How Can I Find Someone's Arrest Records in Delaware?

Delaware has a slightly different procedure for releasing arrest records compared to other states in the United States. 


In order to obtain arrest records in Delaware, you need to start at the Delaware State Bureau of Identification for a criminal history check.


However, the process requires the applicant's actual attendance. Therefore, obtaining another person's records from the SBI in Delaware is impossible. 


Instead, the applicant must go to one of the three SBI offices in the state to obtain the record. In addition, a prior appointment must be made for Sussex and New Castle County venues.

Applicants at the SBI offices are required to fill and submit a Criminal History Record Check Authorization Form.


 In addition to completing the form, you also need to show any form of photo identification. 


a gavel on a paper that reads crime history records


You are also required to pay $52 through checks, money orders, credit or debit cards, or cash, except in Sussex, where cash is not accepted.

Minors can use the same processes to check their criminal past. However, minors must have a parent or guardian accompany them to the SBI office. 


Although there is no defined time for the record to be made available, it usually does not happen that day. The agency involved makes the record available at the soonest possible time.

Aside from accessing arrest records, an alternative way is through the county level by requesting from the sheriff or police department. 

Are Delaware Arrest Records Permanent?

Delaware has a good retention schedule that specifies the time frame arrest records can remain in the public domain. 


The General State Record Retention Schedule stipulates that Criminal History Record Information, which contains arrest records and other criminal information, can only be retained in the public records for five years. 


The same law also applies to Delaware local government records as well. Although, the local government records only apply to records kept in the county agencies. 

Can You Obtain Arrest Records for Free in Delaware?

Obtaining arrest records in Delaware is quite expensive and might be out of reach for some individuals. The state does not offer any free means of obtaining arrest records. 


However, you can request a custodian fee waiver, which is subject to the discretion of the state authorities for approval or not.

a police arrest warrant with a pen and a notepad on it

Can I Expunge My Arrest Records?

The government of Delaware allows individuals in the state to apply for the expungement of arrest and criminal records. 


The expungement prevents the record from being publicly available according to the state's regulations. The state of Delaware has two different types of expungements: mandatory and discretionary expungements. 

The mandatory expungement is done by the state authorities and can only be done for one of these conditions:

1. When a person is found guilty of one or more offenses and three years have gone since the date of their conviction, and they have not received any other convictions since

2. When a person does not have any prior or subsequent convictions, and five years have gone after their conviction for one or more crimes or offenses connected to the case

3. When a person is accused of one or more felonies, misdemeanors, or violations and their case is ultimately dismissed

a magnifying glass on a computer keyboard

Only the superior and family court can decide if the expungement petition should be granted for discretionary expungement. An applicant for discretionary expungement has to meet the following conditions:

1. The person must not have any prior or subsequent convictions, and three years must have passed since the conviction or release from prison.

2. The person has not had any prior or subsequent convictions in the seven years since their conviction or release from prison


Although Delaware State has arrest records under public records and can be accessed, the fee for obtaining the record is considered expensive without any alternative for free checking. 


The state also allows individuals to file a petition to expunge their records through the family or superior court.

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