Guide to Delaware State Background Checks

Sarah Archambault
March 01, 2024
5 min read

Delaware background checks are often an important step in the hiring process to help employers evaluate a candidate’s qualifications and eligibility for a role. Pre-employment background screenings can also help employers learn more about a person’s history, such as driving record, criminal history, and education. 

Understanding how background checks work and what shows up is important, whether you plan to conduct screenings yourself or work with a background check provider. This guide covers how Delaware background checks work, the types of information employers may review, and what federal, state, and local hiring regulations may apply.

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What is a Delaware background check?

A Delaware background check is a search of different public records and databases, providing information about a candidate’s history that goes beyond an application or resume. This may include criminal records, credit history, driving records, and more. Background screenings may also verify information such as education and employment history. 

Certain types of roles in Delaware, such as commercial drivers, may legally require employers to conduct background checks. Employers can choose to conduct pre-employment background checks in-house or partner with a qualified consumer reporting agency (CRA), like Checkr.

What shows up on a Delaware background check?

Delaware background checks can show employers many different types of information about a candidate’s history, including criminal history, motor vehicle records, and job history. Here's a closer look at what shows up on some of the most common types of background checks:

  • Criminal background checks show felony and misdemeanor convictions, arrest records, and pending criminal cases.
  • Driving record checks show license type and status, suspensions, revocations, and motor vehicle-related offenses, like DUIs.
  • Credit background checks report on a candidate’s credit history, which may include payment history, accounts in collections, and bankruptcies. This type of check is often used for jobs that require financial responsibility.
  • Civil court searches identify a non-criminal court history, such as tax disputes, liens, and judgments.
  • Employment verification report previous employers, positions held, and employment dates. 
  • Education verification reports schools attended, degrees earned, and graduation dates. 
  • Drug testing indicates whether there is evidence of current or past use of certain illegal and prescription drugs.

What disqualifies candidates from employment?

A candidate may be disqualified from employment based on the organization’s background check policy, or in some cases, based on legal requirements for the position in question.

For example, school bus drivers may be disqualified from a role based on the results of the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) background check, which includes a drug screening, Delaware criminal background check, and meeting certain medical requirements. 

Delaware State Police candidates must undergo a State of Delaware criminal background check. Felonies are considered an automatic disqualification, but other types of arrests and convictions may only be subject to evaluation.

Delaware background check laws

Fair hiring laws at the federal, state, and local levels may impact how your organization handles pre-employment background screenings. If you’re unsure which Delaware background check laws and regulations apply, you may want to follow the strictest requirements and consult legal counsel.

Ban the Box

Summary: Delaware’s statewide Ban the Box law House Bill 167 prohibits all public sector employers from inquiring about a candidate’s criminal record, criminal history, credit history, or credit reports before making a conditional offer of employment. Public sector employers may ask about and take a candidate’s criminal history into consideration once a job offer has been made. However, the law limits lookback periods to ten years from sentence for completion related to felonies and five years for misdemeanors. Some exceptions apply, including roles in law enforcement. See law.

Expunged records

Summary: Employers are prohibited from requesting information about expunged records, and CRAs will not report them on background checks. Additionally, candidates are not required to disclose expunged conviction or arrest records. See law.

Salary inquiries

Summary: Employers are prohibited from screening candidates based on salary history and cannot ask about past salary histories or inquire with former employers to get this information. However, employers can discuss compensation as long as past salary is not requested or required. After an offer of employment including compensation terms has been made and accepted by the candidate, employers are permitted to confirm the candidate’s compensation history. See law

Polygraph examinations

Summary: Employers are prohibited from asking job candidates to submit to a polygraph examination as a condition of employment. Certain types of roles may be exempt where polygraphs are required by law during the background check, such as positions with Delaware law enforcement agencies. See law

Social media privacy 

Summary: Employers are prohibited from asking job candidates to submit to a polygraph examination as a condition of employment. Certain types of roles may be exempt where polygraphs are required by law during the background check, such as positions with Delaware law enforcement agencies. See law

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Summary: Delaware employers who partner with a CRA to conduct background screenings are required to comply with certain regulations under the federal FCRA. This includes providing notice to the candidate of the intent to perform a background check and receiving written consent before proceeding. Should an employer decide not to hire a candidate based on the results of a  background check, the adverse action process must also be followed. See law

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Local Delaware fair hiring laws 

In addition to the statewide Ban the Box law, local fair hiring laws apply in two Delaware jurisdictions, including:

  • New Castle County: A Ban the Box law applies to positions within the county government.
  • Wilmington: A Ban the Box law applies to positions within the city government. 

How far back do background checks go in Delaware?

Lookback periods for background checks conducted in Delaware vary depending on who is performing the check and the type of report. While a CRA can report convictions for longer periods of time, when reviewing criminal background checks, Delaware state law (see above) restricts lookback periods for felony convictions to ten years and misdemeanor conviction to five years for what employers can consider. Additionally, state of Delaware motor vehicle records are limited to three-year and five-year reports, but DUIs stay on an MVR for a minimum of five years. 

There are generally no legal restrictions on how far back an employer can go when verifying a candidate’s education or history and professional licenses.

Delaware employers that choose to partner with a CRA, like Checkr, must also comply with the federal FCRA, which limits the reporting of periods of certain records. Civil judgments, tax liens, most credit information, and arrest records that did not result in a conviction are limited to seven years, while the lookback period for bankruptcies is limited to ten years. Criminal conviction reporting is not limited under the FCRA and positions with an expected salary of $75,000 or more may not be subject to these lookback restrictions. 

How to get a Delaware background check

Employers have the option to conduct a Delaware background check on their own or partner with a qualified background check service provider, like Checkr. Depending on the type of screenings needed, a comprehensive background check typically involves ordering and reviewing records from many types of sources, including Delaware public records, courthouses, law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, and previous employers.

Some types of reports may be available online while others may need to be requested in person, by mail, or over the phone. For example, Delaware motor vehicle records are available from the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) and can be requested online, in person, or by mail. Third parties, such as employers and CRAs, however, cannot access MVRs without the candidate first completing and notarizing the Personal Information Release form. Delaware civil and criminal records are accessible in person or online through the Delaware Court Connect portal.

Manually processing and reviewing records can result in lost staff time and a risk of human error. Employers that choose to partner with a background check provider, like Checkr, benefit from fast turnaround times, accurate results, and compliance workflows for peace of mind.

How long does an employment background check take in Delaware?

Turnaround times for a Delaware employment background check vary depending on the type of records requested, the overall scope of the search, and who is conducting it. For example, requesting Delaware driving records online or in person may be quicker than ordering them by mail. 

It’s typically more time-consuming for employers to conduct background checks in-house than to use a background check provider, like Checkr. When ordering reports directly, hiring managers need to manually request information about a candidate from many types of Delaware public records, including court records and motor vehicle records. Other types of checks may require manually searching non-public records, such as confirming past employers, schooling, or a professional reference check. 

Employers that choose to partner with a CRA often experience a more streamlined process, allowing staff to focus on other initiatives. Using advanced technology, Checkr is able to gather and sort data from thousands of databases and record sources—delivering 84% of reports in under 15 minutes. Plus, Checkr’s candidate portal provides both candidates and hiring managers transparency into the real-time status of each report.

How much does a Delaware background check cost?

The cost of a Delaware background check varies depending on who is conducting the screening and the types of reports ordered. When employers request records directly from state agencies, for example, it can cost $34 per record for civil and criminal searches, while certified criminal records with fingerprinting cost $72. Motor vehicle records have a $25 fee per report. 

When conducting background checks in-house, employers also need to consider what it will cost to have staff source, review, and follow up on reports. Time spent manually ordering reports while still juggling other HR responsibilities can also result in higher operating costs and lower ROI as a result.

Delaware employers who partner with a qualified background check provider typically benefit from lower overhead costs and reduced staff burdens, plus pricing that includes multiple screening types. For example, Checkr offers transparent pricing with packages that are customizable based on the number of background checks, the types of reports needed, and screening frequency.

Get a Delaware background check from Checkr

A Delaware background check can help employers confirm a candidate’s qualifications and determine whether they are a good fit for the role and the organization. Employers often choose to partner with a background check service provider, like Checkr, to streamlining the background screening process.

Checkr offer multiple screening options with fast turnaround times and accurate, easy-to-read results. Plus, our compliance tools make it easier to manage potential liability. Get started with Checkr today.

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The resources and information provided here are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always consult your own counsel for up-to-date legal advice and guidance related to your practices, needs, and compliance with applicable laws.

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About the author

Sarah writes about small business topics and corporate communications. She has written on a wide range of topics, including background checks, hiring trends, company culture, and employee training and development. Her work includes educational articles, press releases, newsletters, and employee onboarding collateral. 

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