In our modern society, a criminal record can limit a person’s opportunities and the quality of life they can achieve for themselves and their families for years, and even decades, after that person has completed the terms of the criminal sentence imposed. Even the existence of an arrest record with no conviction can limit job opportunities, housing, access to higher education, credit, and access to jobs that require professional licensing.
The General Assembly has expanded the availability of expungement for juvenile adjudications of delinquency quite dramatically in recent years, in recognition that people can and do change and move beyond mistakes of their past. The intent of this Act is to extend that same recognition to some categories of adult records of arrest and conviction. At present, Delaware allows adults to petition to have a record expunged in only 2 circumstances: (1) for an arrest that did not lead to conviction and (2) after a pardon is granted – but for certain misdemeanor offenses only.