Clean Slate Delaware

TAKE ACTION: Pledge your support for second chances

Delaware’s reputation as the “First State” should motivate us to set a forward-thinking example. Bringing Delaware in line with known best Clean Slate practices is a win for all of us: it is life-changing for individuals, benefits families for generations to come, and has transformative power for our entire state.

Now’s the time for you to join the growing momentum moving Clean Slate policies forward throughout Delaware and the country.

Take the second chance pledge


In 2021, Delaware became the fifth state to pass laws that meet Clean Slate criteria: automation of record clearance, automated clearance upon eligibility of the record, inclusion of arrest records, inclusion of misdemeanor records, and a strong recommendation for laws to include eligibility of at least one felony record. These laws provide greater equity, consistency, and cost-effectiveness through a streamlined automated process that applies to all Delaware records eligible for mandatory expungement. 

For people living with a record in Delaware, Clean Slate's implementation can’t come soon enough. With Delaware’s Clean Slate Law set to begin in August 2024, we're here to make sure you receive consolidated, accessible, and accurate information about the automated expungement process and ensure implementation is smooth for those who need that relief as soon as possible.


This hub features:

  • Expungement Assistance
  • Financial Assistance
  • Fines and Fees Fund
  • Upcoming Expungment Clinics
  • Upcoming Community Solutions Meetings
  • Second Chances Pledge
  • Frequently Asked Questions 
  • Downloadable PDF Resources 

Have a record from another state?

The information on this hub is relevant to individuals with Delaware records. If you have a record from another state, please visit cleanslateinitiative.org/states to get in touch with your state's Clean Slate coalition. 

Learn more


Get involved

Take the second chance pledge

Follow Clean Slate DE on Twitter

CSDE Happenings

CLean slate advocates meet with legislators
Lobby Days

CSDE advocates with Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown (center) and Sheena Meade, Clean Slate Initiative CEO (right).

More in this series

Resources, Events, and More

Office of Defense Services Expungement Assistance

Get in touch with experts who work on records and expungements.

oDS

Clearing, or “expunging,” your criminal record isn’t as easy as 1-2-3.

There can be a lot of steps in figuring out who can get an expungement or pardon. The Office of Defense Services' (ODS) expungement assistance website is equipped with a live chatbot, helpful guides, and more resources to walk you through the expungement process based on your record.

View the the chatbot guide for questions. For immediate assistance, call the ODS expungement hotline at (302) 577 5142.

Delaware Center for Justice Financial Assistance

Vital financial assistance and other forms support for those seeking a second chance. 

DCJ logo

Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ) extends vital financial assistance to Delawareans transitioning from incarceration, offering them support and opportunities for a brighter future.

Through the OIF Scholarship Funding, DCJ has utilized $38,450.55 to provide housing, ensuring that those who were previously homeless have a temporary haven until a permanent solution is found. An additional $2,880.25 has been allocated to various important items such as equipment for clients' work, bicycles for commuting, bedding, and most importantly, clothing. Delaware Center for Justice also extends financial assistance for legal support, transportation, and housing utilities. 

Friendship House Fines and Fees Fund

Assistance for individuals who are currently unable to afford court-issued fines.

FH

Friendship House and Campaign to End Debtor's Prison want to break the cycle of homelessness caused by a court-issued fine to a person living in poverty by taking the initiative to create a fund for people affected by fines and fees. The funding will be used to pay off an entire fee or to pay partial down payments allowing the individual to start a monthly payment plan with the court. 

View the the assistance flyer for questions. If you are in need of assistance or representing someone who needs assistance, please call 302-482-2271 or fill out the request form.

Interested in getting involved? Donate to the Fines and Fees fund online or by mail. Checks can be made out to Friendship House, Inc. and mailed to P.O. Box 1517 Wilmington, DE 19899.

Expungement Clinics and Events

Clinics, town halls, job fairs, and more.

Expungement clinic

Do you have a record in Delaware? You may be eligible for an expungement or pardon.

Join Clean Slate Delaware and community partners at an upcoming expungment clinic to connect with an attorney or expert in the pardon process and learn what forms of record clearance you may be eligible for.  Financial assistance for expungement and pardon fees is available. We can only help with Delaware convictions.

Upcoming Expungement Clinics and Events 

There are currently no upcoming expungement clinics. Please check back for new events!


Records are a substantial barrier to many life-sustaining goals, like finding a place to live and a good job. That’s why it's so important we address any obstacles to successful implementation now, before they become a barrier down the road.

Upcoming Community Solutions Conversations

There are currently no upcoming expungement clinics. Please check back for new events!

For questions, contact Mike Bartley at (267) 338-9529.

More information

Second Chance Pledge

Now’s the time for you to join the growing momentum moving Clean Slate policies forward throughout Delaware and the country.

second chance pledge

By taking the Second Chances Pledge, you are supporting:

  • The broadest and most robust interpretation of Delaware’s Clean Slate law and addressing any obstacles to successful implementation;
  • A pathway for people to learn if their record has been cleared by the automated Clean Slate process, and;
  • Removal of fines and fees as a barrier to mandatory expungement eligibility.

Now’s the time for you to join the growing momentum moving Clean Slate policies forward throughout Delaware and the country.

Thank you for standing up for second chances!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Delaware's Clean Slate Law?

Delaware's Clean Slate law is composed of two main pieces of legislation.

Senate Bill 111:

  • Automates the  mandatory expungement process of certain juvenile and adult records for people who remain crime-free for a set period of time.
  • Replaces the petition-based process with an automated “Clean Slate” process for clearing eligible records ensures greater equity, consistency and cost-effectiveness statewide.

Senate Bill 112:

  • Expanded eligibility for mandatory expungement to include certain drug or paraphernalia possession charges, underage possession or consumption of alcohol, other misdemeanors, and a limited number of felony charges.

​​​​With the passage of SB 111 and 112, more than 290,000 people are eligible to have their record expunged through Delaware’s automated expungement process starting in August 2024. Automating the expungement of records eligible for mandatory expungement will provide individuals better access to employment, housing, education and training opportunities.

When does the automated expungement process implementation begin?

The automated expungement process is set to begin implementation in August 2024.

Delaware still has work to do to ensure the robust implementation of the Clean Slate process starting in August 2024. Clean Slate Delaware is calling on lawmakers and government officials to develop a robust notification plan for eligible individuals to learn whether their record has been sealed through the automated process.

Am I eligible for a mandatory expungement?

If you do not have pending charges, are not on probation or parole, and are not currently incarcerated, your record may be eligible for some form of expungement.

All records where the “case is terminated in favor of the accused” are eligible for mandatory expungement upon request with no waiting period. A case terminated in favor of the accused can be expunged even if a person has prior or subsequent convictions that are ineligible for expungement. Cases “terminated in favor of the accused” include:

  • Acquittals of all charges;
  • A nolle prosequi on all charges or a case where all charges were dropped;
  • Dismissal after probation before judgment;
  • Dismissal of all charges; and
  • Arrests that are not charged within 1 year of the arrest.

Records of convictions for marijuana possession, underage possession of alcohol, and underage consumption of alcohol are also eligible for mandatory expungement with no waiting period.

Records of one or more criminal violations relating to the same case, even if the person has prior or subsequent convictions, are eligible for mandatory expungement after three years.

Certain types of cases containing one or more misdemeanor convictions, or a combination of misdemeanors and violations, are eligible for mandatory expungement after five years if the person has no prior or subsequent convictions.

A few felony convictions (including possession of burglar’s tools, unlawful use of a payment card, and certain drug-related and forgery convictions) are eligible for mandatory expungement after ten years if the person has no prior or subsequent convictions.

Domestic violence restrictions: Any record of conviction that involves domestic violence, a child victim, or a vulnerable adult victim is not eligible for mandatory expungement. Such records may be eligible for discretionary expungement after 7 years or a discretionary expungement after pardon. For more information about what constitutes a “crime of domestic violence,” see 11 Del. C. §4373(b)(1).

All convictions eligible for mandatory expungement

View the Eligibility Flowchart

The Office of Defense Services' (ODS) expungement assistance website is equipped with a live chatbot, helpful guides, and more resources to walk you through the expungement process based on your record.

For immediate assistance, call the ODS expungement hotline at (302) 577 5142.

ODS Expungement Eligibility Chat Bot

Eligibility Flowchart

Can I start the expungement process before Clean Slate implementation begins?

Yes! 

The mandatory expungement process is managed by the State Bureau of Identification(SBI). Anyone seeking a mandatory expungement must first be fingerprinted and request their Certified Delaware Criminal History. The fee for fingerprinting is $72. If SBI determines an individual is eligible for mandatory expungement, the packet containing the Certified Delaware Criminal History mailed to the individual will include an application for mandatory expungement. The application, along with a $75 application fee, must be mailed to SBI within 30 days of the date listed on the Certified Delaware Criminal History.

Clean Slate Delaware can help. Join us at one of our upcoming expungement clinics to begin the process! These workshops will help you learn more about whether your record meets Delaware's expungement eligibility criteria and how the expungement process works. Clinic attendees can sign up to have their records screened for expungement eligibility. 

Financial assistance for expungement related-fees will be available while funding lasts for individuals that are determined to be eligible for mandatory or discretionary expungements.

 For questions, email jreynolds@aclu-de.org.

See upcoming expungemment clinics 

What if I am not eligible for a mandatory expungement?

If your record is not eligible for mandatory expungement, you may still be able to find relief through discretionary expungement or a discretionary expungement following a pardon. The discretionary expungement process involves a petition to the Court. The Court will grant an expungement if it finds that the continuing existence and availability of the record “constitute[s] a manifest injustice.” 11 Del. C. § 4374(f).

Records eligible for discretionary expungement are:

  • A single non-violent felony after a seven-year waiting period, with no prior or subsequent convictions. 
  • “One or more” misdemeanors relating to the same case, with no prior or subsequent convictions.  Misdemeanors eligible for mandatory expungement are eligible for a discretionary expungement after a three-year waiting period (two years before they would be eligible for the mandatory expungement process).  Other eligible misdemeanors can petition for a discretionary expungement after a seven-year waiting period.
  • If a record includes multiple cases that include a conviction and each case, considered individually, would be eligible for mandatory expungement, then the cases containing only misdemeanor convictions can petition for a discretionary expungement five-years after the most recent conviction or release from incarceration, whichever was later. (Note: If you have anyway to make this incredibly complicated sentence simpler, please let me know.  It is a very complicated eligibility determination, and this is the best I've been able to come up with.)

If you have more than one case containing a conviction on your record, or if your conviction is not one of the types listed as eligible for discretionary expungement, you must obtain a pardon in order to qualify for an expungement. The only convictions not eligible to apply for a discretionary expungement following a pardon are:

  • Manslaughter;
  • Murder in the first or second degree;
  • Rape in the first or second degree;
  • Sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust, authority, or supervision in the first degree; and
  • Any Title 21 Motor Vehicle Charge, other than those listed under 11 Del. C. §4374(i)(2):
    • Driving after judgment prohibited;
    • Reckless driving; and
    • Operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

For more information, see 11 Del. C. § 4375(b).

LEARN MORE

Who can I reach out to with questions?

For questions, please email John Reynolds, ACLU-DE Deputy Policy & Advocacy Director., at jreynolds@aclu-de.org.