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Arrest Records in Delaware

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Delaware is a state in the Mid Atlantic region with a population of 967,171, which makes it the 46th most populated state and the 6th most densely populated. The state’s capital is Dover, and its largest city is Wilmington with a population of 71,106. Delaware has just three counties, the most populated of which is New Castle County and the least populated is Kent County. 

Crime is an issue in Delaware as the state’s 2018 violent crime rate of 4.24 per 1,000 is above the national average. The state’s most dangerous city is Dover, which has a violent crime rate of 7.97 per 1,000 and a property crime rate of 47.91 per 1,000. Accompanying the state’s elevated violent crime rate is a higher-than-average rate of arrests. 

Delaware Arrest and Crime Statistics

  • 28,742 arrests were made in Delaware in 2018, including 2,851 arrests of minors, as reported by 52 law enforcement agencies. 
  • Violent crimes accounted for 1,965 of the state’s total arrests in the year, including 33 for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, 77 for rape, and 391 for robbery.
  • The leading identifiable cause of arrest was ‘Other assaults’, which resulted in 6,121 arrests. This category includes assaults that are not murder, rape, aggravated assault, or robbery. The 2nd leading cause of arrests was larceny-theft with 4,511
  • Drug abuse violations accounted for 3,707 arrests and driving under the influence accounted for 427 arrests. 
  • Delaware has the 3rd highest density of sex offenders in the United States, with 4.91 per 1,000.

Sources: FBI: 2018 Crime in the United States, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children


What is a public arrest record?

An arrest record is a report produced by a law enforcement entity after the arrest or apprehension of an individual which contains the details of the incident, the individual’s personal information, and occasionally includes additional information about the individual’s criminal record.

An arrest record is often a key document in a criminal case and may play a significant role in an ensuing trial. The arrest record may remain in the public record for a long time regardless of whether the suspect is ultimately convicted of the crime(s) for which they were initially arrested. This means that it can be accessed by the general public.  

What is included in a public arrest record?

  • Description of the incident: An arrest record will include a chronological account of the alleged crime produced by the arresting officer that may utilize information provided by first-hand witnesses and/or victims of the alleged crime. 
  • Date and location of the arrest
  • Physical description: The height, weight, hair color, sex, and race of the arrested person, along with other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks. 
  • Personal information: The name, age, date of birth, phone number, address, social security number, and other contact information of the arrested individual, as well as any other names the person may go by. 
  • Photographs
  • Fingerprints
  • Criminal charges filed
  • Classification of the crime: Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • Bail
  • Court date
  • Police interrogation details

What are the types of charges that may appear on an arrest record?

Generally, charges are classified into three main categories:

  • Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is typically a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering. 
  • Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, but less severe than a felony, and generally punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
  • Felony – A felony is the most serious type of crime and generally results in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Having a felony on one’s record may result in limitations of employment and the acquisition of specialty licenses. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and arson.  

Who can access arrest records?

As in most other states, arrest records (also known as arrest reports) are public records in Delaware and can be accessed by anyone upon request to a law enforcement agency, and may come up during a routine background check. 

Other examples of Delaware public records include:

  • vital records such as birth and death certificates
  • marriage licenses
  • mugshots
  • court records
  • voting records
  • property records 

Where are physical copies of arrest records kept in Delaware?

Arrest records are typically held by the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest, usually a local police department or county sheriff’s office. They also may be kept in the archive of a state government agency, or circuit court. However, there is no official repository for arrest records. 

Why can’t I access an arrest record in Delaware?

There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to access an arrest record. Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to release arrest records and other public records, records that fall under certain exemptions can be withheld from the public.

The FOIA includes nine exemptions that allow agencies to withhold documents, such as arrest records, and not release them to the public. They are:

  1. The information is classified to protect natural security. 
  2. The information focuses on the internal rules and practices of the agency.
  3. Another federal law prohibits the release of information.
  4. The information includes confidential trade secrets and/or commercial and financial information. 
  5. The information includes privileged, confidential communicative exchanges between two agencies. 
  6. The information could pose a danger to another person’s privacy if released.
  7. The information is reserved for law enforcement purposes in a court case or an investigation or could reveal a confidential source. 
  8. The information includes confidential information about financial institution supervision. 
  9. The information includes geographical information about wells.

Additionally, some state laws limit the availability of arrest records due to the fact that they are perceived as one-sided documents that do not include the arrested person’s account of the incident. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and a criminal record?

Compared to an arrest record, a criminal record is a more thorough document that details an individual’s entire criminal history, including arrest warrants, arrests, third party complaints, convictions, and even dropped cases. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that grants law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual suspected of a crime or to search and seize the individual’s property, whereas an arrest record is a document of an arrest that is only created after an arrest or apprehension has already occurred.  

In order for a judge or magistrate to issue an arrest warrant, they must conclude that there is probable cause for an arrest. Probable cause must be backed by sworn testimony or an affidavit that provides sufficient information supporting the need for an arrest. An arrest warrant must also specify one individual that should be arrested, rather than a group of individuals or a rough description of a suspect. 

How many Americans have been arrested?

While crime has steadily dropped in the United States over the past several decades, arrests have gone up, particularly for younger age groups. Typically, law enforcement makes around 10 million arrests each year. Here are some key statistics on arrests in the United States:

  • In 2018, around 10.3 million arrests were made nationwide.
  • 73% of arrested persons in 2018 were males.
  • The more recent an American was born, the greater the likelihood that the individual has been arrested at least once. The following is the percentage of Americans in various age groups that have been arrested: 
    • 6.4% of Americans  born before 1949
    • 10.7% of Americans born between 1949 and 1958
    • 13.8% of Americans born between 1959 and 1968
    • 18.7% of Americans born between 1969 and 1978
    • 23% of Americans born between 1979-1988

Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, RAND Corporation

How to search for Arrest Records in Delaware

How can I search for a Delaware arrest record on the internet using a background check service?

Since tracking down physical copies of arrest records can prove challenging, searching for them online is a viable option. There is a wealth of online services that allow you to search and access Delaware arrest records and other public records via numerous government agency databases in exchange for a fee. 

However, despite the fact that users must pay to obtain an arrest record from an online service, it’s nevertheless a convenient means of getting these documents. The offices of government agencies are often marred by inconsistent service and take a long time to process requests to view documents. 

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a fee to use an online background check service, rather than endure the extended delays typical of government offices.  

Getting physical copies of public arrest records in Delaware

You can also obtain a Delaware criminal background check–including state arrest records–by official means through the Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI). However, individuals may only obtain a copy of their own criminal history and not a copy of another person’s criminal history. 

To get a Delaware Criminal Background Check, one must visit one of three SBI locations in the state. The locations in Sussex and New Castle County require individuals to schedule an appointment in order to receive the check. 

Visitors to the SBI office will complete and submit a Criminal History Record Check Authorization Form. Bring photo identification (a valid driver’s license or state ID) to the office and be prepared to pay a $52 fee. The fee can be paid using credit or debit cards, certified checks, company checks, money orders, or cash (except in Sussex).

The results of the check will be returned as soon as possible, but do not expect to receive them on the same day. Juveniles may also acquire a criminal history background check, but they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to the SBI office. 

A State and Federal Background Check is also available for $65, but it must be mandated by law. 

What can I do if my arrest record has a mistake?

The Delaware Criminal History Record Check Authorization Form states that “You will be given the opportunity to complete or challenge the accuracy of the information contained in the FBI criminal history record by the official to whom you have authorized this information be disseminated.”

However, no specific information is given on the challenge process. Contact the State Bureau of Identification at (302) 739-5884 for instructions on how to proceed with a challenge. 

Delaware Courthouse and Sheriff Information by County

Kent CountyKent County Courthouse414 Federal St
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 735-1900Kent County Sheriff555 S Bay Rd
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 736-2161
New Castle CountyLeonard L. Williams Justice Center500 N King St
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 255-0000City/County Building800 N. French St., 5th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 395-8450
Sussex CountySussex County Courthouse1 The Circle
Georgetown, DE 19947
(302) 855-7055Sussex Correctional Institution23203 Dupont Blvd
Georgetown, DE 19947
(302) 856-5280


If you’re worried that someone you know or love has a criminal record and may be hiding it from you, run a quick background check online with Thanks to public records laws, almost all Delaware arrests, criminal and civil records are available online, as well as comprehensive background checks and secret data. You can even find Delaware marriage records, secret divorce records as well as birth and death records.

Violent Crime rate 

Property Crime rate 

Murder Crime rate 

Forcible Rape rate 

Robbery rate 

Assault rate 

Burglary rate 

Theft rate 

Motor Vehicle Theft rate