The Office of
Defense Services


Clearing, or expunging, your criminal record isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. For starters, there is a lot of misinformation about what an expungement is, who in Delaware is eligible, and what it means for future employment.

Below, are a few important facts and some basic questions about criminal records and expungement in Delaware. Questions? Please fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

A special thank you to Dawn Mosley and Productions for Purpose for producing the above video.

FACT: Your record IS NOT automatically expunged and/or sealed when you turn 18

We’ve heard from many clients that they were advised, or thought, that their record would be sealed and/or automatically expunged when they turned 18 or that their criminal history would go away if they were not convicted or adjudicated delinquent. That couldn’t be further from the truth. A criminal record is never destroyed in Delaware and, until 2024 upon the enactment of the Clean Slate Act, is not automatically sealed. An expungement is the only way to remove arrests, charges, and adjudications of delinquency from a criminal background history.  

To be clear: If you are charged with a crime in Delaware, you must obtain an expungement to remove the arrests, charges, or adjudications from your record.

FACT: You do not need to check the box on job applications and/or other applications asking if you were convicted of a crime

Individuals with juvenile records, and only juvenile records, can answer truthfully that they were never convicted of a crime. Youth facing charges in Family Court are adjudicated delinquent or not delinquent. Adjudications of delinquency are not convictions. However, employers may still see any arrests, charges, or adjudications if they conduct a criminal background check and the record has not been expunged – and this may make finding a job more difficult in some cases.

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