Kentucky Criminal Expungement and Criminal Record Removal Services
The stain of a criminal record commonly prevents individuals from obtaining the housing they want, getting the job they need, or receiving a desired license. These are just a few examples of how a Kentucky criminal record can hold you back from achieving important life goals. Furthermore, Kentucky has made it fairly simple to conduct a criminal background check on behalf of an individual.
Fortunately, Kentucky has recently expanded is laws to permit the expungement of some felony and potentially all misdemeanor convictions. Once an offense is expunged in Kentucky, the records are deleted and it is as though the case never occurred. Additionally, the matter shall not appear on official state-performed background checks; the persons and the court may properly reply that no record exists with respect to the persons if asked; and the person whose record is expunged shall not have to disclose the fact of the record or any matter relating to it on an application for employment, credit, or other similar application.
Vacating and Expunging a Felony Conviction
A new Kentucky law passed 2016 allows courts upon petition to vacate specified Class D felony convictions, dismiss the charges, and expunge the record. A verified applicant must wait five (5) years after the completion of the person’s sentence or completion of probation or parole, whichever occurs later. The court may order the judgment vacated, dismissed, and eligible for expungement if:
- The person had not previously had a felony conviction vacated and the record expunged;
- The person had not in the five (5) years prior to the filing of the application to have the judgment vacated been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor; and
- No proceeding concerning a felony or misdemeanor is pending or being instituted against the person.
Class A, B, and C felonies are not eligible. You can expunge more than one Class D felony conviction only if they are a part of the same case or arose from the same incident.
Expungement of Misdemeanor, Violation, and Traffic Infraction Convictions
In Kentucky, you can apply to expunge an unlimited number of misdemeanors, even if they were in different cases or counties. A petition shall be filed five (5) years after the completion of the person’s sentence or five (5) years after the successful completion of the person’s probation, whichever occurs later. The court shall expunge the records if it is found that:
- The offense was not a sex offense (ex: rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, indecent exposure) or an offense committed against a child (ex: abandonment, endangering the welfare, or unlawful transaction with a minor);
- The person had not in the five (5) years prior to the filing of the petition for expungement been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor;
- No proceeding concerning a felony or misdemeanor is pending or being instituted against the person; and
- The offense is not one subject to enhancement for a second or subsequent offense or the time for such an enhancement has expired.
Any person convicted of a misdemeanor prior to July 14, 1992, may petition the court in which he/she was convicted for expungement of the record of one (1) misdemeanor offense or violation or a series of misdemeanor offenses or violations arising from a single incident, provided that the same conditions outlined above are met.
In cases of possession of marijuana, synthetic drugs, or salvia, and in cases of first time possession of controlled substances, the court may set aside and void the conviction upon satisfactory completion of treatment, probation or other sentence (and issue a certificate and subsequent order to seal records).
Expungement of Pretrial Diversion or Deferred Adjudication Cases
Pretrial diversion is available to a person charged with a Class D felony offense who has no prior felony convictions within the past ten (10) years immediately preceding the commission of this offense. The program is not available to persons charged with offenses for which probation, parole, or conditional discharge is prohibited. The court may permit Class C felony offenders to participate.
A guilty plea is a precondition for participation, but upon successful completion of the probationary period, the charges are listed as “dismissed-diverted” and “shall not constitute a conviction.” In such a case, expungement is available, and the defendant shall not be required to list this disposition on any application for employment, licensure, or otherwise unless required to do so by federal law. At least sixty (60) days must have passed since completion of a pretrial diversion or deferred adjudication program.
Expungement of Non-Conviction Records
A person who has been charged with a criminal offense and who has been found not guilty, or the charges have been dismissed, may petition to expunge all records. The expungement petition shall be filed after sixty (60) days following the order of acquittal or dismissal by the court. There must be no current charges or proceedings pending relating to the matter for which the expungement is sought. The court has discretion in granting these expungements.
Expungement of Felony Charges Not Resulting in a Grand Jury Indictment
Similar to non-conviction records, a person against whom felony charges originally filed in the District Court have not resulted in an indictment by the grand jury, may petition the court in which the charges were filed to expunge all records. The expungement petition shall be filed twelve (12) months following the date of the District Court decision to hold the matter to a grand jury. There must be no current charges or proceedings pending relating to the matter for which the expungement is sought. If the court grants the motion, it shall dismiss the charges and order the expunging of the records.
Kentucky Juvenile Record Expungement
The expungement of juvenile records is available, upon petition to the court, with regard to status offenses, misdemeanors, or violations only. Expungement is not available for dependency, neglect, and abuse issues, or where the offense would have been a felony if committed by an adult. The petition shall be filed two (2) years after the date of termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the person, or two (2) years after his/her unconditional release from commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or another agency, except that the two (2) year period may be waived by the court under extraordinary circumstances.
Any juvenile offense may not be expunged if:
- The person has been convicted of a felony or another juvenile offense since the court’s jurisdiction over the person terminated or after the person’s unconditional release from commitment
- There is a pending proceeding against the person for a felony or another juvenile offense
Upon sealing, only the person or those named in the sealing order may inspect the records, and the juvenile may deny the existence of any record.
Restoration of Firearm Rights in Kentucky
In general, there are three (3) ways in which Kentuckians can lose their right to possess a gun:
- For any felony conviction after 1994;
- A conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; or
- Being subject to certain types of restraining orders.
However, there are some variances in the law depending on when the conviction occurred. If you were convicted of a felony prior to 1975, Kentucky law does not prevent you from owning a weapon (although you may be prevented from getting a concealed carry). If you were convicted of a felony between 1975 and 1994, you will be eligible to possess a long rifle, but not a hand gun. As mentioned above, any felony conviction that occurred after 1994 will prevent you from firearm ownership for life.
If you obtain a pardon for your conviction by the Kentucky Governor or President of the United States, your firearm rights may be restored. Under the new expungement laws, those convicted of Class D felonies may be eligible for restoration of firearm rights. This is because the State vacates and removes the conviction of a felony before subsequently expunging and destroying the records of the offense. However, the current interpretation of the law cannot be stated with complete certainty until further legal decisions are rendered.
The legal process of removing a criminal record can be difficult without the assistance of an experienced law firm. If you have a criminal record in Kentucky that you want expunged and/or would like to have your civil rights restored, Eastman Meyler, PC understands the process of expunging criminal records and can assist you with the process. Our firm offers a free, confidential Eligibility Test, or you may give us a call toll free at (888) 986-6309 to discuss your eligibility and expungement services for Kentucky.