What Are Criminal Records?
Criminal records are a compilation of documents that provide a history of someone’s activities with the police and court system. This can include local, state, and federal criminal information. A basic record may list only the crimes the person was convicted of. A more detailed record may also include information about the person, such as their address, date of birth, name, any aliases they have, fingerprints, and a photograph.
Your criminal records may include:
- Past arrest information
- Current and pending charges
- Acquitted charges
- Dismissed charges
Any misdemeanors or felonies will also be listed in this report.
How Are Criminal Records Used?
Criminal records can be used in many ways. Usually, they are searched during a background check.
Background checks may happen for several reasons, such as:
- Employment, where a company wants to know about a potential employee
- School admittance, such as when you apply to a college or university
- Property rental
- Security clearance
- Purchasing weapons or firearms, since felons are not able to buy or own weapons in most cases
- Military service
- Fostering or adopting
- Voter registration
- International travel or for naturalization or immigration purposes
- For law enforcement purposes, like as a part of a criminal investigation
How Can Someone Access Your Criminal Records?
A statewide search of your criminal records in Delaware requires your fingerprint and consent. Records searches for those under 18 require parental consent. However, law enforcement and those in the government may have open access. You may also have to permit certain kinds of purchases, such as purchasing a firearm or working for the school system.
The public can access civil records, such as divorces or judgments, online without your permission. A criminal record check is more specific and includes information like a person’s arrests, penalties, and convictions. For someone to obtain your criminal record, you must go with them in person to the local Delaware State Police office or obtain the record yourself and give it to them. You must bring with you a copy of your state driver’s license or ID card and be willing to provide your fingerprints. The fee is $52 for a state background check and $65 for a state and federal background check. The fee is payable by check, debit card, and most major credit cards.
The public can access a history of sex crimes through the sex offender registry. The public can search this registry by offender or neighborhood. Delaware classifies sex offenses by Tiers, with Tier 1 being the least serious and Tier 3 being the most serious. Those convicted of Tier 1 offenses may have their names removed from the list after 10 years if they complete a state-approved treatment program and are not convicted of any other crimes. Tier 2 offenders may apply to have their designations lowered to Tier 1 after 10 years, if the crime was not committed against a child, they’ve not committed any other crimes, and they complete a treatment program. Tier 3 sex offenders may have their designations reduced to Tier 2 after 25 years.
How Can You Request a Criminal Record?
You may request your own criminal record by visiting a Delaware State Police Information Bureau Office in their county. The fee is $52 for a state-only check and $65 for the federal and state.
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