Kentucky Expungement Law Overview

There is a lot of misinformation about expungement in Kentucky. This overview is to assist you in determining whether you qualify for expungement. It is written by attorney Benham Sims, who testified as a former District Judge, State Prosecutor of the Year, and one of Kentucky leading expungement advocates before the House Judiciary Committee for passage of Kentucky's expungement law.

HelpExpungeMe.com Partner, Benham Sims (Left) testifying with Expungement Bill Sponsor-Rep. Darryl Owens (Center), andGreater Louisville, Inc. Vice President Sarah Davisher before House Judiciary Committee in support of passage of House Bill 40.

One in four adults in Kentucky have a criminal charge on their record. Over 96% of employers now run criminal background checks, if you have a criminal record-over 50% of the employers will not even grant you an interview if you have a criminal record. Studies now review, the average person with a criminal record makes 40% less than a twin brother or sister without a criminal history!

Many Kentuckian mistakenly believe that dismissed charges are erased from their record automatically, or that employers do not look at charges that occurred over five years ago. This is simply false. Your state criminal record will contain every charge on your record including dismissed charges, traffic charges, and all convictions, no matter how many years ago they were committed. Charges do not, and never have, fallen off your Criminal Record after 5 years. Minor traffic offenses, excluding DUI's, automatically were purged from the Transportation Cabinet records, but never from your criminal record. The only process for removal of criminal charges and convictions is filing a Petition in the sentencing court to expunge your record.

The Expungement law passed in Kentucky in 2016, permits for the first time 61 Class D felony offenses. The law also permits for the first time the right to expunge multiple eligible misdemeanor offenses, even for offenders who committed more than one offense in a 5-year period. For the first time, hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians are now eligible to expunge their record. The new expungement law, House Bill 40, permits tens of thousands of Kentuckians the opportunity to petition the court to expunge their criminal record, who were previously denied the right to expunge.

ELIGIBILITY

I. Dismissed Violations, Misdemeanors, and Felonies:

You are eligible to expunge dismissed Traffic Violations and Misdemeanors in Kentucky 60 days after the case has been dismissed by a Judge. The statutes dealing with expungement of dismissed felonies depend on a number of factors. It is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney when attempting to expunge dismissed felony charges. For example, you must determine whether the dismissed felony occurred in District Court or Circuit Court. Were the felonies dismissed with prejudice or without prejudice? Were the dismissed as merged into another plea? Were the felony charges presented to the Grand Jury or not? Are the charges in limbo awaiting action by the Prosecutor? These are the types of questions an experienced expungement lawyer will want to have answered before filing for expungement. In addition, we have 120 counties in Kentucky with hundreds of circuit and district clerks, prosecutors and judges each of whom often use different processes with expungement cases.

II. Eligibility for expungement of Misdemeanors Convictions (Non DUI's) in Kentucky:

If it has been five years since the end of your sentence or probations (whichever is longer) and you have not pled guilty to a criminal offense
in the last 5 years, and you have no new pending criminal charges. The Petition for Misdemeanor conviction shall be filed no sooner than five
(5) years after the completion of the person's sentence or five years after the successful completion of the person's probation, whichever occurs later.

At the hearing the Judge must find:

a.) The offense was not a sex offense or an offense committed against a child;
b.) the person had not in the five years prior to the filing of the petitio for expungement been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.
c.) No proceeding concerning a felony or misdemeanor is pending or being instituted against the person;
d.) the offense is not one subject to enhancement for a second or subsequent offense or the time for such an enhancement has expired.


Please note with the passage of Senate Bill 56, a person cannot petition to expunge their DUI conviction until 10 years after the end of their sentence or probation.If it has been five years since the end of your sentence or probations (whichever is longer) and you have not pled guilty to a criminal offense in the last 5 years, and you have no new pending criminal charges.

III. DUI's

If you pled guilty to DUI you must now wait 10 years after your sentence or probation (whichever is longer) to expunge Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 56. This Bill substantially enhanced penalties for subsequent DUI offenses. The 2016 amendment increased the look back period in Kentucky from 5 years to 10 years. The amendment also now requires those convicted of DUI misdemeanor offenses must wait 10 years to expunge a DUI offense.



Kentucky defense attorney's challenged the law as unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court ruled in Kentucky Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Jackson and Commonwealth v. Denson,
(2016-SC-000530 and 2016 SC 000531):

"a plea entered without knowledge of unanticipated and unforeseeable consequences that may not become manifest for many years does not have the constitutional significance of a plea entered without knowledge of its immediate foreseeable consequence, or an ignorance of fundamental rights to remain silent, to a jury trial and to confront witnesses."

In other words, the ten year look-back is now law.

IV. Felonies

House Bill 40, permits the expungement of "61" different Class D Felonies. My website has the list eligible offense available for your review at: List of Eligible Class D Offenses. The law permits the expungement of only one eligible Felony Charge or a series of Class. D Felony eligible violations arising from a single incident.



In order to file for felony expungement, the petitioner must prepare a file a verified application to have the judgment vacated and pay a $500.00 filing fee. The petition can be filed no sooner than five (5) years after the completion of the person's sentence, or five (5) years after the successful completion of the person's probation or parole, whichever occurs later.

The Judge must make a finding that:

a.) The person had not previously had a felony conviction vacated and the record expunged pursuant to this section;
b.) 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
c.) No proceeding concerning a felony or misdemeanor is pending or being instituted against the person.

V. Pardons

If the Governor has granted a full Pardon, you may file with the court in which he-or she was convicted an application to have the judgment vacated.

Process

The process of expungement is quite simple with my office. I meet with clients in person or by phone and learn their story, as well as, review their cases. I am required by statute to order both your official Kentucky Administrative Office of the Court Criminal History and a Kentucky State Police Certificate of Eligibility. The state charges me $40.00 for these documents. I cannot review your criminal history on Courtnet without your: full name, date of birth, and social security number. Please go to my website HelpExpungeMe.com on your smart phone or computer and click on the "Start Now" button. Answer a few short questions and I will look up your criminal history, review it with you, and order the two state forms listed above.

After I receive your records, I will review them with you and prepare the appropriate notices, petitions, motions and orders for the courts. The state has up to 30 days to send me your records. Once I receive the records, I only have 30 days in which to file the petitions and pay the court fees. I will be able to review your records with you and file the appropriate Motions and Orders with the court. If you pled guilty to a misdemeanor, the court charges $100.00 to file for a misdemeanor expungement petition and order. If the charge is for a felony expungement, the court charges $500.00 for filing a felony expungement petition and order.

Generally speaking, my fees range from $250.00-$500.00 per misdemeanor expungement. My fees for felony expungement range from 1000.00 to $2500.00 for a felony expungement. The fees depend on the number, complexity, eligibility and time involved. Please call my receptionist Charlene Manley at (502) 589-6190 to schedule an appointment to meet with you. I do not charge for the initial expungement client interview

VI. Don't Let Your Past Define You

The attorneys at HelpExpungeMe.com make expunging your record as easy as a phone call. Once we have a copy of your records and reviewed them with you, we will file to expunge the eligible charges on your record and appear in court so you don't have to. At HelpExpungeMe.com, we want to make expungement a painless and a stress-free process. We do all the work! See our Process for Expungement page for more details. Misdemeanor expungements generally will cost you $390.00, and felony expungements will generally cost $1,590.00. Fees and costs may vary based on your individual circumstance.