Delaware Public Records
If you have ever tried to run a public records search for any records, you have probably noticed that the process is not precisely streamlined. Different departments keep records, some are not approved for the public, and some are just plain hard to find.
However, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does give citizens the right to access records.
Every state has different processes, so it’s essential to know the state’s law before requesting any documents.
Table of Contents
- 1 What does the Delaware public records law say?
- 2 How can I access public records in Delaware?
- 3 Delaware criminal records
- 4 Delaware inmate records
- 5 Delaware Court Records
- 6 Delaware Vital Records
- 6.1 What information do I need to request a Delaware birth certificate?
- 6.2 Where can I find a Delaware birth certificate?
- 6.3 What information do I need for a death certificate in Delaware?
- 6.4 Where can I find a Delaware death record?
- 6.5 What information do I need to request a marriage certificate in Delaware?
- 6.6 Where can I find an existing Delaware marriage record?
- 6.7 What information do I need to request a divorce certificate in Delaware?
- 6.8 Where can I find a Delaware divorce record?
- 7 Delaware Property Records
- 8 FAQs
- 8.1 Can a public records request be submitted by non-residents in Delaware?
- 8.2 Is there a records custodian in Delaware?
- 8.3 What exemptions exist for public records requests in Delaware?
- 8.4 How long does Delaware have to respond to a public records request?
- 8.5 Is there an appeal process for public records in Delaware?
- 8.6 What fees are associated with requesting public records in Delaware?
What does the Delaware public records law say?
The Delaware Freedom of Information Act gives residents access to public documents. The requests are to be met within 15 days.
However, if a request is denied, there is no appeals process. In other words, if a request for records is turned down, the law does not offer any way to fight the decision.
There are certain exemptions specified in the law. As with other states, public safety and security records are exempt from public viewing.
Any records created by the General Assembly, or the legislature of the state, cannot be accessed publicly either.
How can I access public records in Delaware?
For public records access in Delaware, a person must submit a public records request. The request can be sent via mail, email, or phone to the record-holding department.
Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you access records from multiple places.
In general, a public records request should include:
- Your name
- Contact information
- The name of the document
- Details about the document
- A time frame that you would like to receive the materials by
- Document delivery method, mail or email
Delaware criminal records
In Delaware, criminal records are most commonly accessed by employers who want to run a background check on a potential employee.
The State Police maintains criminal records in Delaware.
What’s on a Delaware criminal record?
A criminal record provides a detailed record of a person’s interactions with law enforcement. Traffic violations and misdemeanors may not be on the criminal history.
More specifically, a criminal record or a background check will provide the following information:
- Date of birth
- Current and past addresses
- Former arrest records
- Current and past warrants
- Sex offender status.
- The law enforcement agency that conducted the arrest, the police department, county sheriff, state police, etc.
Where can I find Delaware criminal records?
The State Bureau of Identification (SBI) handles background check requests in Delaware. The SBI provides certified criminal history reports to requestors through fingerprint cards only, not name searches.
This measure provides privacy protection for everyone. Since fingerprints are required to initiate a background search, a person can consent for one to be conducted. There are not any criminal records provided without a person’s prior knowledge.
Delaware inmate records
The state of Delaware has about 3,500 inmates within its corrections system. Inmate records can provide information on current inmates that are behind bars.
What’s on a Delaware inmate record?
The information listed on an inmate record varies. However, in Delaware, the records usually contain personal information and specific details about a person’s incarceration situation.
Public access to inmate records can provide the following information when accessed:
- Personal information like a person’s name, birth date, and gender
- A mug shot
- Inmate location
- Inmate registration number
- Jail transfer information
- Custody status
Where can I find Delaware inmate records?
You will need to know the person’s Offender ID or first name and last name to search.
Delaware Court Records
Court records can provide a wealth of information from court proceedings. For those looking to access court records, there are resources listed below.
It is important to remember that court records can be difficult to access since they are often held in different courts.
What’s on a Delaware court record?
In most cases, court records are quite large and come with many different documents. Most people find the following documents the most helpful:
- Court minutes
- Case files
- Orders of the court
- Judgment documentation
- Jury records and files
- Witness documentation
Where can I find Delaware court records?
The Delaware court system is relatively compact as there are only three counties in the state. However, the types of records you wish to gain access to will determine where you need to go. The administrator of the courts is the place to start.
If the case is civil, you can access docket information and some records online through their CourtConnect website.
The Delaware Courts can also provide some direction.
To request documents from the proper court, you will need a basic understanding of how the court system works in the state. The Supreme Court is the highest authority and presides over the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals has authority over lower courts, including three superior courts or trial courts within the three counties (Delaware County, New Castle County, and Sussex County) in Delaware.
There are other tiers of court in the state that are worth noting. These tiers include the Justice of the Peace Court, the Court of Common Pleas, Family Court, Court of Chancery, and the Administrative Office of the Courts.
For those having trouble finding the records they are looking for, you can send a request for records to The Renaissance Centre, which is located in Wilmington.
Delaware Vital Records
The Division of Public Health and Office of Vital Statistics maintains public vital records in Delaware.
Delaware vital records include:
- Birth Certificates
- Death Certificates
- Marriage Licenses
- Divorce Decrees
Delaware vital records requests are different depending on what document you are attempting to obtain.
Division of Public Health and Office of Vital Statistics
Jesse S. Cooper Bldg.
655 S Bay Rd
Dover, DE 19901
258 Chapman Rd.
Neward, DE 19702
Thurman Adams State Serv. Center
546 S. Bedford Street
Georgetown, DE 19947
What information do I need to request a Delaware birth certificate?
The Application for a Certified Copy of a Delaware Birth Certificate will ask for specific details.
- Full name on the birth certificate
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Full name of both parents
Where can I find a Delaware birth certificate?
Or, you can complete the Application for a Certified Copy of a Delaware Birth Certificate and submit it by mail or in person.
The cost for a Delaware birth certificate is $25 per certified copy.
What information do I need for a death certificate in Delaware?
The Application for a Certified Copy of a Delaware Death Certificate will ask for specific details.
- Full name of the deceased
- Date of death
- Place of death
- Both parents’ names before marriage
Where can I find a Delaware death record?
Or, you can complete the Application for a Certified Copy of a Delaware Death Certificate request form and submit it by mail or in person.
The cost for a Delaware death certificate is $25 per certified copy.
What information do I need to request a marriage certificate in Delaware?
The Application for a Certified Copy of a Delaware Marriage Certificate will ask for specific information.
- Full name of both spouses before marriage
- Date of birth of both spouses
- Date of marriage
- Place of marriage
Where can I find an existing Delaware marriage record?
Or, you can complete the Application for a Certified Copy of a Delaware Marriage Certificate request form and submit it by mail or in person.
The cost for a Delaware marriage record is $25 per certified copy.
What information do I need to request a divorce certificate in Delaware?
The information on your Delaware public records request will include.
- Full name of both spouses before the divorce
- Dates of birth of both spouses
- Date of divorce
- Place of divorce
Where can I find a Delaware divorce record?
You can access Delaware divorce records online using the Delaware Divorce Records Search.
Delaware Property Records
Delaware public property records and public voter registration information are maintained by the County Recorder’s Office.
The details on a public property record will vary depending on what documents you are requesting.
- Property deeds
- Property tax assessment records
- Zoning information
- Real estate information
What information do I need to request property records in Delaware?
Public property records requests in Delaware will differ depending on the document you are accessing and the County Recorder’s Office processes.
Where can I find a Delaware property record?
You will need to contact the County Recorder’s Office in the jurisdiction of the Delaware property record to ask about forms, fees, and processes.
Example – Sussex County
Sussex County Property Requests
2 The Circle
P.O. Box 827
Georgetown, DE 19947
Can a public records request be submitted by non-residents in Delaware?
The law says that only Delaware residents can submit public records requests.
However, other agencies and citizens of other states have requested records and have received them.
Is there a records custodian in Delaware?
Delaware doesn’t have one designated person in any government agency that handles public records.
What exemptions exist for public records requests in Delaware?
The Delaware FOIA spells out 16 specific exemptions.
The exemptions focus on privacy for students, medical patients, law enforcement investigations, trade secrets, weapons permit carriers, and all records about labor negotiations.
Records created by the General Assembly are also exempt from the law.
How long does Delaware have to respond to a public records request?
Delaware has 15 days to respond to a request.
Some states don’t specify a timeline, but Delaware does.
Is there an appeal process for public records in Delaware?
The state does not have an outlined appeals process for denied requests. A person can petition the Attorney General if they believe their request was denied incorrectly. The Delaware Attorney General will make a decision one way or another.
What fees are associated with requesting public records in Delaware?
While some states specify how much is charged per record or the cost to copy records, Delaware state law says that fees can be changed to cover the expenses of copying records.