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New process for criminal record expungements now available

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More adults in Delaware are eligible for expungement of certain criminal records starting Friday, when the Adult Expungement Reform Act signed by Gov. Carney this summer goes into effect. 

 

The law establishes a new process for adults with certain criminal records to petition to have those records erased. 

Prior to the law taking effect, Delaware allowed adults to petition to have a record erased only in the case of an arrest that did not lead to conviction or after a pardon was granted for certain misdemeanors. 

Now citizens with no prior or subsequent convictions— other than traffic offenses and underage alcohol or marijuana possession—can petition for expungement of certain violations or misdemeanors after a certain period of time. Records of felonies can also be expunged in some cases. 

State Sen. Darius Brown (D-Wilmington) sponsored the bill and sees it as helping remove barriers to employment for people with criminal records. He will join other officials hosting a fair Saturday morning to teach citizens about their options for possible expungement.

Brown encourages anyone with a criminal record to come to the fair and learn about their eligibility. He says those who are eligible can begin the process of petitioning for expungement at the fair, where representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Delaware and the Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI) will be present. 

“The information [will be] there, so you can take the information home or you can fill out the paperwork while you’re there, and then you go to SBI and submit your application,” he said. “And the process begins for you to get your expungement.”

The fair starts at 10 a.m. at New Destiny Fellowship in Wilmington. 

“We’re looking forward to this being the first of many information sessions,” said Brown. “To create opportunity for individuals to really provide upward mobility for themselves, and jobs, and housing, and all those things that are necessary parts of life.”

 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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