We’ve heard from many clients that they were advised, or thought, that their juvenile record would be sealed and/or automatically expunged when they turned 18. That couldn’t be further from the truth. A juvenile record is never destroyed in Delaware and is not automatically sealed. An expungement is the only way to remove juvenile arrests, charges, and adjudications of delinquency from a criminal background history. To be clear: if you are charged with a crime as a juvenile in Delaware, you must obtain an expungement to remove the arrests, charges, or adjudications from your record. There are two different types of expungements, which are explained below.
Individuals with juvenile records, and only juvenile records, can answer truthfully that they were never convicted of a crime. Juveniles facing charges in Family Court are adjudicated delinquent or not delinquent. Adjudications of delinquency are not convictions. However, employers may still see any juvenile 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.
Unsure if you’re eligible? Click here for a short survey. Note: you will need your certified criminal history to complete the survey.
Want more information? Click Juvenile Expungement Information Sheet on expungements.