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Delaware Arrest Records

Delaware Arrest Records are formal documents law enforcement officers produce during an individual's arrest. The Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) permits public access to arrest records, underscoring the state's dedication to transparency and acknowledging the public's right to information.

These records are significant to the general public as they empower decision-making and boost community safety by making information about past arrests within the state available upon request.

Contained within these records is a wealth of information about the individual and the arrest incident. They generally include the suspect's physical description and personal details, the booking information, and an extensive arrest account.

Other pertinent data that may be included are the name and signature of the arresting officer, information concerning the police investigation related to the arrest, and the name of the issuer of the arrest warrant that led to the arrest.

Despite this, it's crucial to note that an arrest record does not confirm the individual's guilt or conviction of the crime, distinguishing it from a criminal record. An arrest record merely documents the occurrence of an arrest and the related information, while a criminal record only exists if the individual was found guilty of a crime.

Though the Delaware FOIA makes it possible for members of the public to access arrest records, there are exemptions under this law. Certain arrest records may be sealed or expunged, meaning they are no longer accessible to the public.

Furthermore, records involving juveniles or sensitive information that may infringe upon an individual's privacy rights can also be exempt from public access.

What Laws Govern Arrests in Delaware?

Arrest procedures in Delaware are regulated by a complex legal framework established in Title 11, Chapter 19, Subchapter I of the Delaware Code. This legal framework provides guidelines for peace officers on making arrests, conducting detentions, and performing searches.

The foundation of this system lies in the precise definitions provided in Section 1901, which includes terms such as "arrest" and "peace officer."

The authority of peace officers is further outlined in Section 1902, allowing them to stop, question, and, if necessary, detain any individual suspected of committing a crime. However, this detention is time-limited to two hours and does not equate to an arrest.

Section 1903 extends this authority, permitting officers to search an individual for dangerous weapons if they believe they are in danger.

The law also provides clarity on arrests without a warrant in Section 1904. Officers may execute a warrantless arrest for misdemeanors or felonies, given reasonable grounds for suspicion exist. This same rationality applies when officers mistakenly charge the wrong offense. Section 1905 highlights that if the cause for the arrest is lawful, the arrest remains lawful.

Furthermore, Section 1906 ensures the legality of arrests made under a warrant, even if the warrant isn't in the officer's possession at the time of arrest. Officers, however, must show the warrant to the arrested person as soon as possible if requested.

Lastly, in certain misdemeanor cases, Section 1907 allows officers to issue a written summons instead of an arrest, enforcing the law without overstepping individual rights.

What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Delaware?

Understanding the arrest booking process in Delaware can be complex due to the procedural intricacies involved. But below is a step-by-step rundown of what typically happens when someone is arrested and booked in this state.

Arrest and Miranda Rights

In Delaware, the arrest process typically begins when a law enforcement officer apprehends an individual suspected of a crime. It can occur due to the officer witnessing the crime, acting upon an arrest warrant, or having probable cause to believe the individual has committed a crime.

Once under arrest, the individual, now referred to as the suspect, is read their Miranda rights. The Miranda rights inform the suspect of their right to remain silent, the fact that anything they say can be used against them in court, their right to an attorney, and the provision of an attorney if they cannot afford one.

Transportation to a Detention Center

After the arrest, law enforcement officers transport the suspect to a local detention facility, commonly a police station or county jail, for the booking process. During the transportation, the suspect must be secured safely in the law enforcement vehicle to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

The Booking Process

Upon arrival at the detention center, the formal booking process begins. It generally includes several steps:

  • Personal Information: During the booking process, law enforcement officers will record the suspect's basic personal information, which includes their name, date of birth, and physical characteristics.
  • Photographs and Fingerprints: Law enforcement officials will take a picture of the suspect, commonly referred to as a mugshot, and preserve it as part of their Delaware Arrest Records. They will also have their fingerprints taken and stored in the national database.
  • Search and Seizure of Personal Property: The officers will thoroughly search the suspect and seize all personal belongings for safekeeping. These items will typically be returned upon the suspect's release.
  • Health Screening: The suspect may undergo a health screening to assess their physical and mental health. This process helps determine the level of care the suspect may need during their detention and documents any pre-existing injuries or conditions.
  • Record of Alleged Crime: The officers will record details of the alleged crime, including the nature of the offense and the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
  • Background Check: The officers will conduct a background check to look for any outstanding warrants or previous convictions that could impact the suspect's legal proceedings.

Detention or Release

Upon completing the booking process, authorities may either detain the suspect or release them, depending on various factors such as the charges, the suspect's criminal record, and the bail status.

In detention cases, the suspect will be placed in a holding cell until arraignment, typically within 48 hours. At the arraignment, the suspect will receive formal charges and can enter a plea.

Conversely, suppose bail is set and paid, or the suspect is released on their recognizance. In that case, they can leave the detention center, with the legal obligation to appear in court on a designated future date.

Following the booking process and initial detention or release, the suspect will face legal proceedings associated with their charges. It typically includes a series of court appearances, beginning with the arraignment, followed by the trial (unless the case reaches a plea agreement), and ultimately sentencing if found guilty.

What Are Delaware Mugshot Records?

Mugshot records, often part of the Delaware Arrest Records, serve as a vital repository of information regarding individuals arrested within the state's jurisdiction. These records capture a snapshot of an individual's appearance at the time of their arrest and are typically taken during the booking process.

Each Delaware Mugshot Record comprehensively captures vital details illuminating an individual's identity. Primarily, it includes a front-facing photograph that visually documents the person's facial features, aiding in their identification.

Additionally, the record consistently presents crucial information, including the suspect's full name, race, and alleged offenses or charges against them.

Regarding accessing mugshot records in Delaware, various avenues are available. Local law enforcement agencies, including police departments and county jails, are primary custodians of these records.

Individuals seeking access to these records can reach out to these agencies, often requiring submission of a formal application, payment of a nominal fee, or adherence to specific procedures outlined by the agency.

Furthermore, the digital age has revolutionized access to Delaware Mugshot Records. Police departments or county sheriff's offices in Delaware might have websites where they share information about recent arrests and provide access to mugshot records. Checking the official websites of relevant law enforcement agencies in Delaware can be a good starting point.

How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Delaware?

In Delaware, the state's retention schedules govern the duration an arrest record remains on file. Under Section 524, Chapter 5 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, the Delaware Public Archives has been granted the authority to establish these schedules, determining the minimum period during which various state agencies must retain records.

Per the local government's general records retention schedule and state agency's general records retention schedules, criminal history record information that encompasses arrest, detention, sentencing, and other relevant criminal details must be preserved for five years.

The state agency general records retention schedules govern official state boards, judiciary, executive, and legislative agencies. On the other hand, the local government's general records retention schedules pertain to county and municipal government agencies.

After the five-year retention period, the arrest record may be subject to potential removal or destruction following the applicable records management procedures.

Understanding the duration of retention for arrest records in Delaware is crucial for individuals seeking to comprehend the long-term implications of their records and to navigate any potential legal remedies such as expungement.

Consulting with legal professionals experienced in Delaware law can provide individuals with the necessary guidance to address their specific situations and explore available options for managing their arrest records.

How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Delaware

Expungement in this state involves sealing or destroying Delaware Arrest Records, thus removing them from public access. This process can benefit those with an arrest record, allowing them to move past their history and experience fewer impediments when seeking employment or education.  

Title 11, Chapter 43, Subchapter VII of the Delaware Code outlines the application process to expunge an adult arrest or criminal record in Delaware. Expungements for adults in this state are divided into two categories: mandatory and discretionary, each with different eligibility requirements and procedures.

Mandatory Expungements

The State Bureau of Identification (SBI) manages these expungements, and they grant them under the following conditions:

  • Mandatory expungement is possible in cases where an individual was charged with one or more offenses, ranging from a felony to a misdemeanor or minor violation, but all charges were ultimately dismissed. It can occur through acquittal, the dismissal of all charges, or a "nolle prosequi" being entered, which means the prosecution dropped all charges.
  • Suppose a person was convicted of one or more misdemeanors or violations. In that case, five years must have passed since the conviction, and the individual must not have any pending charges or convictions.
  • Suppose a person was found guilty of one or more minor violations. In that case, three years must have passed since the date of the conviction, and the individual must not have any pending charges or convictions.

Once a person has determined their eligibility for mandatory expungement in Delaware, they can proceed by obtaining a copy of their criminal record from the SBI.

Following this, the individual must complete and submit the necessary expungement forms to the SBI. These forms require detailed information about the case's arrest, charges, and disposition.

After submitting the application for mandatory expungement to the SBI, it will be reviewed in detail. Given that the expungement is mandatory, as long as the individual's application meets all the requisite conditions outlined in Delaware laws, the SBI will grant the expungement.

Discretionary Expungements

The Superior Court and Family Court are responsible for these expungements. The court granted these expungements at its discretion, not automatically, after evaluating the facts of the case.

Discretionary expungements in Delaware require that three or seven years have passed since the conviction or release from incarceration, provided the individual has no other convictions.

Individuals with pending charges, those on parole or probation, those who have received an expungement within the past ten years, or those with fines or fees related to their conviction are typically not eligible for this expungement.

After confirming eligibility for discretionary expungement, an individual must obtain their criminal record from the SBI and complete the necessary forms. The complete documents, including arrest and charges details, will be submitted to the Delaware Superior Court or Family Court.

Once the petition is filed, the Attorney General's Office has 120 days to respond, potentially opposing the request. If opposed, the individual has 30 days to reply.

Following this, the court reviews the case, possibly involving a hearing. The decision to grant an expungement will depend on the case's details, the individual's behavior since the incident, and the potential harm of destroying the records. If approved, the court will issue an order for expungement.

Remember that navigating the process of discretionary expungement can be complex, so it may be beneficial to consult with a legal professional experienced in Delaware expungement laws.

How To Search Delaware Arrest Records

When it comes to researching or obtaining Delaware Arrest Records, there are a few key steps that one should be aware of.

One of the easiest methods to access arrest records in Delaware is through the criminal background check of the SBI. The SBI, a part of the Delaware State Police, maintains and provides certified criminal history records upon request. They are the primary custodians of these records at the state level.

These records, including arrest records, can be accessed by any public or authorized entity member following a clearly defined process. When requesting access to arrest records, an individual or entity must provide detailed information about the person they are inquiring about. It typically includes the subject's full name, date of birth, and, if possible, social security number.

Unlike other institutions, the SBI requires the subject's fingerprint card to process a request. In addition, the requester must present valid photo identification, like a driver's license or a State ID from any state.

There is a fee associated with accessing the arrest records via the SBI. Payments can be made using cash, credit or debit cards, money order, or certified checks, payable to the Delaware State Police.

Despite the fee, obtaining records from the SBI offers a high level of assurance regarding the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the records as they are officially certified by the state.

Alternatively, local county sheriff's departments and courts also maintain arrest records. The procedures for obtaining these records may vary from one jurisdiction to another. Therefore, it's often a good idea to check the specific guidelines of the county where the arrest occurred.


Counties in Delaware

Jails and Prisons in Delaware

Sussex Correctional Institution23203 Dupont Blvd, Georgetown, DE
Sussex Community Corrections Center23207 Dupont Blvd., Georgetown, DE
Wyoming JailOne North Railroad Avenue, Camden Wyoming, De
Smyrna Jail325 West Glenwood Avenue, Smyrna, De
Milford Jail400 Northeast Front Street, Milford, De
Kent County Jail555 Bay Road, Dover, De
Dover Jail400 South Queen Street, Dover, De
Delaware Capitol Police Detention150 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd South, Po Box 1401, Dover, De
Clayton Jail414 Main Street, Clayton, De
Morris Community Corrections Center300 Water Street, Dover, DE