What is Expungement?
Expungement deletes your criminal record and restores you to the status you had before the offense. The state removes the record from all official sources including law enforcement records. Once the record is expunged, it should not show up on any official state performed background check and the court may state that no record exists.
Who is Eligible for Expungement?
The eligibility for expungement depends on the type or class of the offense.
You are eligible to have your adult criminal record expunged if:
- You were found not guilty, the charge was dismissed, or the grand jury chose not to indict you;
- You were pardoned by the governor;
- You were convicted of any number of misdemeanors; or
- You were convicted of certain Class-D felonies.
There is no limit to how many misdemeanor convictions can be expunged, even if they were in different cases or counties.
If you want to expunge a misdemeanor conviction, the offense that you were convicted of cannot involve:
- A sex offense; or
- An offense against a child.
If your misdemeanor conviction was subject to enhancement for a second or subsequent offense, you may not be eligible for expungement.
Certain Class-D felonies are eligible for expungement. You can expunge more than one Class-D felony if they are part of the same case or arose from the same incident.
If you want to expunge a Class-D felony, the offense that you were convicted of cannot involve:
- Abuse of a public office;
- A sex offense;
- An offense against a child; or
- An offense that resulted in serious bodily injury or death.
And all of the following must be true:
- You do not have any criminal charges pending against you;
- You have not been convicted of any misdemeanors or felonies in the past five years;
- You have waited five years for a misdemeanor or Class-D felony or 10 years for a DUI charge. The waiting period starts from the most recent date of either the charge, completion of your sentence, paid fines or fees, or completion of probation.
You may be eligible to have your juvenile criminal record expunged if you were adjudicated/found guilty of:
- A violation;
- A misdemeanor;
- A single felony; or
- A series of felonies arising from a single incident.
You must wait two years since your case, probation, or commitment ended.
If juvenile charges were filed against you but you were not adjudicated, your juvenile record should be automatically expunged.
What Effect Does Expungement Have?
Once a Kentucky court grants an expungement, the court orders all state agencies to expunge their records. If you expunged a non-conviction arrest or a misdemeanor, the record is expunged from law enforcement. If you expunged a Class-D felony, the prosecutor’s office can keep a nonpublic copy of your record for law enforcement purposes only.
Your conviction, dismissal, or acquittal is erased and will not show up on any state background check. In most cases, you can legally deny being arrested or convicted.
Kentucky law allows courts to expunge juvenile records. This includes all records held by the court and any other agency or official such as law enforcement, public or private elementary schools, and secondary school records.
When Can I Apply for Expungement?
You can apply for expungement of a conviction only after you have completed your sentence. You must count from whatever date is the most recent such as the date of conviction, completion of sentence, or completion of probation or parole, and then wait several years.
Waiting periods can apply depending on your conviction:
- If your conviction is for prostitution or any other non-violent crime because you were a victim of human trafficking, you must wait 60 days after the charges are filed or the judgment is ordered.
- If you were convicted of misdemeanors or a Class-D felony or a series of Class-D felonies arising from the same incident, you must wait five years.
- If you were convicted of a DUI, you must wait 10 years from the date you were charged.
- If you were convicted and received a full pardon, you must wait five years after completion of your sentence.
- If the charges against you were dismissed with prejudice or you were found not guilty, you must wait 60 days after the case ends.
- If the charges against you were dismissed without prejudice, you must wait five years.
- If you were convicted of a first time drug possession case, you successfully completed your sentence, and the judge voided the conviction, your record should be sealed immediately.
- If you successfully completed a deferred prosecution program for a first or second time drug possession in the first degree case, your record should be sealed immediately.
- If you successfully completed pretrial diversion in a Class-C or D felony case, your record should be immediately marked as “dismissed-diverted.”
- If juvenile charges were filed against you but you were not adjudicated/found not guilty, your juvenile record should be automatically expunged.
- If you were charged as a juvenile and adjudicated/found guilty of a violation, misdemeanor, single felony, or a series of felonies arising from a single incident, you must wait two years.
How Do I Apply for Expungement?
Here are the six steps to apply for expungement:
- Request a Certificate of Eligibility. You can request a Certificate online, in person, or by mail. To request a Certificate of Eligibility online, visit the Kentucky Court of Justice website here: Expungement Certification Process.
To request the Certificate in person, visit the drive-thru window at:
Administrative Office of the Courts
1001 Vandalay Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 4:00PM
To request the Certificate by mail, send the Expungement Certification Request Form along with a $40 check or money order made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer. To access the form, visit the Kentucky Court of Justice website here: Expungement Certification Request Form. Send the completed form to this address:
Administrative Office of the Courts
1001 Vandalay Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601
- Get a Certificate of Eligibility. You must have a Certificate of Eligibility to request an expungement for any adult conviction. You do not need a Certificate of Eligibility to expunge a dismissed charge.
- Get the proper expungement petition. See below for a list of the proper expungement forms:
For an acquittal or dismissal, file the Acquittal / Dismissal Expungement Form.
For a misdemeanor conviction, file the Misdemeanor Conviction Expungement Form along with your Certificate of Eligibility. To access the form, visit the Kentucky Court of Justice website here: Misdemeanor Conviction Expungement Form.
For a Class-D felony conviction, file an Application to Vacate and Expunge Felony Conviction Form along with your Certificate of Eligibility. To access the form, visit the Kentucky Court of Justice website here: Application to Vacate and Expunge Felony Conviction Form .
- Make copies of everything.
- File the expungement petition and supporting documents with the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the original charge was filed. For local court information, visit the Circuit Court Clerks website here: Circuit Court Clerks. You have 30 days to file your petition with the court once you receive your Certificate of Eligibility. If you do not file your documents with the court within 30 days, your Certificate of Eligibility will expire and you will need to get a new one.
- Pay the fee. Expungement petitions for dismissals and acquittals are free. A petition to expunge a misdemeanor conviction is $100. You will be refunded $50 if you are not granted an expungement. The petition to expunge a felony conviction is $50. If you are granted an expungement of your felony, there is an additional $250 fee. If you are granted an expungement but cannot pay the full fee, your charge will be vacated but not expunged. Your conviction will be expunged once you pay the full amount. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, credit card, money order, or certified check.
If you are seeking an expungement of a misdemeanor conviction, the court may hold a hearing on your petition within 30 days.
If you are seeking an expungement of a felony conviction, the court will hold a hearing on your petition. The judge must let the prosecutor’s office know. The prosecutor then has 60 days to file a response with a 120 day extension as needed. The hearing will be scheduled once the prosecutor responds or within 120 days of when you file your petition. It may take up to four months for the judge to decide.
The court will notify you when the judge has made a decision.
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