A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in Delaware, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record. Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take. 1) Expunge Your Record 2) Seal Your Record 3) Request a Pardon of Your RecordThe problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what Delaware offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.
If you get your record expunged in Delaware it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.
Sealing your record in Delaware is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.
If you receive a pardon in Delaware, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.
Things to Know Before You Start
First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in Delaware.
Felony Expungement in Delaware
Yes, it is possible to expunge your felony in Delaware but it depends on the felony.
Sealing a Record in Delaware
Yes, it is possible to seal your record in Delaware but it depends on the felony.
Getting a Pardon in Delaware
Yes, it is possible to get a pardon of your record in Delaware but it depends on the felony.
Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options. The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.
Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action. We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process. Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again. In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think. The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing off your record.
Can You Expunge a Felony in Delaware?
If you have been convicted of a crime as an adult and have already served time for that crime, you must apply for a pardon, as your chances to apply for expungement of a felony are very unlikely.
Under the current law, it is unlikely that a felony conviction will be expunged. However, you may still apply to receive a pardon for your felony convictions. It is best to seek the advice of a lawyer to find out whether you qualify.
How to Expunge a Felony in Delaware
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to expunge your record.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible for expungement based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.Steps to Expunge a Felony in Delaware
Step 1. You must contact the State Bureau of Identification (SBI) to determine whether you are eligible for an expungement under 11 Del. Code. §4371 thru 4374.
Step 2. If you are eligible, SBI will provide you with a letter that will allow you to either file a petition with the Superior Court (in the county where the case was terminated, disposed of or concluded) or with Family Court (in the county where the charges, either juvenile or adult, were terminated, disposed of or concluded).
Step 3. Your objective when filing a petition is to show specific facts in support of your allegation of manifest injustice, and you must prove such manifest injustice by a preponderance of the evidence.
Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in Delaware?
Our research found no information regarding the ability to seal a criminal record in Delaware. To be sure, however, you should seek the advice of an attorney.
Can You Apply for a Pardon in Delaware?
A pardon (also called an “executive clemency”) does not “erase” your criminal event; rather, it constitutes the state’s forgiveness. Though a pardon does not remove your conviction from official records, it will generally restore your civil rights, such as your rights to vote and hold public office. A pardon may also remove barriers to employment, professional licensing, public housing, social services, education, and other opportunities.
CANNOT PARDON IF…
You don’t fulfill the waiting periodYou are not eligible to apply for a pardon until at least 3 or 5 years have passed since you completed your sentence (including any probation, parole, etc. The length of the waiting period depends on the offense.Outside state offenseIf your felony occurred in a state other than Delaware, you cannot get it pardoned in DelawareFederal OffenseIf you want a pardon on a federal conviction, you must do that through the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney
How to Apply for a Pardon in Delaware
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record. In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading. Steps to Pardon your Felony:
Step 1. Obtain a copy of your criminal record. You can find out how to obtain a copy of your criminal record from the State Bureau of Identification, Division of State Police, by calling (302) 739-2134 or writing to P.O. Box 430, Dover, DE 19903. Make sure your criminal record is complete.If you have convictions in other states, you can obtain a more comprehensive, nationwide criminal report for yourself from the FBI. You can find out how to do this by calling the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., at (202) 324-3000, or logging onto its website here. The FBI’s website also has a list of local FBI offices you can call.You can also contact the criminal history record repository in each state where you have arrests/convictions. Listed here.
• Make sure your final application lists all of your convictions, including all felonies and misdemeanors for which you paid a fine, served jail, prison, probation, or parole.
Step 2. Obtain a certified copy of the court docket and sentencing order for each offense that resulted in a guilty outcome (this includes any guilty pleas). This can be obtained from the clerk’s office of the court where you were convicted and sentenced.
• The clerk’s office will usually charge you a small fee for this service.
Step 3. Fill out the Board of Pardons Cover Sheet and any additional continuation sheets if needed.These sheets can be obtained from the Board’s website: here.
• If you cannot access the webpage or the sheets themselves, you can call the Board directly at 302-739-4111, (option 2) and have it sent to you, or by e-mailing email@example.com (they may email them if you have an email address).
Step 4. On a separate sheet of paper, you must list the reason(s) why you are applying for a pardon.
• Your personal statement should be detailed, honest, and grammatically well written.
• Simply saying “I want to have a clean record” is not enough.
• Keep in mind that the Board/Governor will not be retrying you for the offense. Although you may want to explain the facts and circumstances of the crime from your perspective, avoid trying to make excuses for your crime and arguing away your guilt.
• Whatever you feel about the crime, you had already been found guilty. The Board/Governor is probably more interested in seeing your remorse for the crime, and your understanding of its effects on the victim and society, than anything else.
• If it applies to you, explain how you have been passed over for employment opportunities because of your conviction. Explain how this has prevented you from obtaining decent employment to support you and/or your family.
• If you are pursuing a particular career or a license in a particular trade or profession that requires you to obtain a pardon, explain this and send documents, letters, or other types of proof from a prospective employer or licensing agency verifying this requirement. Perhaps explain what your plans are in the event you are granted a pardon.
• Also, if you are facing deportation because of the conviction, explain how being separated from you family will negatively affect you and your family.
• In your personal statement you should detail all the positive things that have occurred in your life, like educational achievements, a new or steady job,, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable donations, awards and recognitions, etc.
• Send copies of your college transcripts, high school diploma or GED, marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates, military certificates, awards and recognitions, and other documents that show your rehabilitation and positive character.
Step 5. On the same sheet of paper as the personal statement in step 4, you must write a short history of every case you are trying to obtain a pardon for. This includes explaining in detail the facts giving rise to the conviction: who was involved, how you were arrested, the date and location, etc. Again, don’t try to make excuses for what happened (e.g., “I was framed”). Try to express your honesty and remorse.
Step 6. You must provide a Statement of All Pending Proceedings.
• This simply means telling the Board whether there are any cases currently pending against you, in any court, state or federal.
• If there are, you must state what the nature of the case is, which court it is in, and what the status of the case is (for example, “Trial set for May 12, 2018”).
• If there are no cases currently pending against you, simply state “I have no proceedings pending.” This can be on the same sheet of paper as that in steps 4 and 5, or it can be on a separate sheet of paper.
Step 7. You are strongly encouraged to submit written references or letters from church leaders, church members, teachers, friends, family, employers and/or co-workers who know you and can say good things about you to support you. It is better to choose individuals who are not related to you, to avoid the appearance of bias.
• The letters should tell the Board how the writer knows you and why he or she thinks you are deserving of a pardon.
• The letters would have more credibility if they are notarized (signed in front of a notary public), although this is not required. A notary public can be found in most banks; they usually charge a small fee, depending on whether the person has an account with that bank.
• The writers must indicate their current address and daytime telephone numbers in the letters.
Step 8. You must send a notice to the judge who sentenced you, the Attorney General, the Chief of Police for the city or county where you were arrested, and the Superintendent of the Delaware State Police. This notice must be sent via certified mail to those individuals at least 37 days before the hearing date.
• Call the Board at the time you apply in order to get the most current names and addresses of these individuals. The Board’s number is 302-739-4111.The notice must include the following information:
• a) The tentative date, time, and place of the meeting. Your meeting date depends on which application deadline applies to your case. You can find out all application deadlines and meeting dates on the Board’s website here.
• b) The offense(s), date(s) of arrest, the reason(s) for why you are applying for a pardon, and your date of birth.
Step 9. Send the original and 5 copies of everything above (including the notice in step 8) to the following address:Secretary of State’s Office401 Federal Street, Suite 3Dover, DE 19901.Additional Notes:There are no set rules on the waiting period before applying for a pardon. However, the Board of Pardons recommends waiting between 3 and 5 years. In some cases, it is possible to request a pardon more quickly, but for a compelling reason such as employment or educational opportunities. In Delaware, a Board of Pardons makes recommendations to the governor, instead of the governor who usually makes pardons in other states.If a pardon is rejected, the applicant must wait 15 months before applying again. With a pardon, which does away with all consequences of a conviction, it is possible to apply for an expungement. The difference between the two is that an expungement completely erases the presence of that criminal record. Check with an attorney first because only some felonies qualify for expungement.
So, there you have it. Three separate ways to get rid of your record in Delaware. As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you take this eligibility test prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.
Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational. If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.