There is a lot of misinformation about expungement in Kentucky. This overview is to assist you in determining whether you qualify for expungement in Kentucky. 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.
Many Kentuckians 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 really is an example of fake news, because it is not true! Your state criminal record contains every charge on your record-including dismissed charges, traffic charges, and all convictions, no matter how many years ago they were committed. It is available for anyone who knows how to use a computer. Your charges, even those cases that were dismissed, stay on your criminal record forever, the only process for removing charges from your Kentucky Criminal Record is by petitioning the sentencing court to expunge your record!
Kentucky is no different than other states who have passed expungement reform. A recent study by the University of Michigan Law School reveals that only 6% of the individuals eligible for expungement pursue an expungement within 5 years of eligibility in the state of Michigan. Sadly, the last statistics on expungement revealed less than 3% of those eligible for felony expungement, have petitioned a Kentucky Court for expungement.
The most startling revelation from the Michigan study was that those who expunged their records, on average, saw their wages increase by made than 25% within 2 years of expunging their criminal record! Collateral Consequence Resource Center
The Louisville Courier -Journal noted in a May 2019 editorial by Sarah Davisher-Wisedom Greater Louisville, Inc., Chief Operating Officer:
A recent study found that expungement not only improves an individual's chances of finding employment but also leads to better jobs and increased wages. In Michigan, for example, the study showed that successful applicants saw their wages increase, on average, 25 percent within two years of expungement.
With the passage of Senate Bill 57: 126,000 Kentuckians can now petition the court to expunge their eligible Class D felony!
Why would you not expunge your record?
Kentucky first passed expungement reform in the late 1980s. In. 2016, Kentucky passed House Bill 40 which permitted the expungement of 61 eligible Class D felony offenses. In the Spring of 2019, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 57 which now permits the expungement of hundreds of Class D felony offenses previously barred from expungement. Under either law, expungement is not automatic, prosecutors and victims can object, and often do object to a petition to void and expunge a felony. Senate Bill 57, while permitting the expungements of hundreds of Class D felonies, places the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence on the person petitioning the court to expunge their record. It is important to prepare for this hearing with an experienced expungement attorney.
Our expungement law now 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. Hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians are now eligible to expunge their record. House Bill 40 and Senate Bill 57 now permits hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians the opportunity to petition the court to expunge the eligible criminal charge on their Kentucky criminal record, who were previously denied the right to expunge.
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. Dismissed felonies have a unique set of laws and protocols to follow. It is important to review petitions to void and expunge a felony charge with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
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. A filing fee of $100.00 is charged by the clerk to file an expungement for a misdemeanor conviction.
At the hearing the Judge must find:
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.
The 2019 law (Senate Bill 57) requires:
The person had not:
If the prosecutor or victim objects, the court shall schedule a hearing within one hundred twenty (120) days of the Commonwealth's response. The prosecutor shall specify in the objection the reasons for believing a denial of the application is justified. At the hearing at which the applicant or his or her attorney must be present, the applicant must prove by clear and convincing evidence that:
At the hearing, you may testify as to the specific adverse consequences you may be subject to if the application is denied. The court may hear the testimony of witnesses and any other matter the court deems proper and relevant to its determination regarding the application.
The Commonwealth may present proof of any extraordinary circumstances that exist to deny the application. A victim of any offense listed in the application shall have an opportunity to be heard at any hearing held under this section.
If the court determines that circumstances warrant vacation and expungement and that the harm otherwise resulting to the applicant clearly outweighs the public interest in the criminal history record information being publicly available, then the original conviction or convictions shall be vacated, and the records shall be expunged.
The order of expungement shall not preclude a prosecutor's office from retaining a nonpublic record for law enforcement purposes only.
I believe we can personalize you to the court and persuade the judge to expunge your order. Because I need to personalize you to the court, I ask that you call my receptionist Charlene Manley at (502) 589-6190 to schedule an appointment to meet with you. If you live out of town, my receptionist will schedule a phone interview. I do not charge for the initial expungement client interview
You can review the bill yourself by clicking: https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/19RS/sb57/bill.pdf
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 Expungement 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 www.helpexpungeme.com on your smartphone or computer and complete the contact us form. I will look up your criminal history, review it with you, and order the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts Criminal Record and the Kentucky State Police Certificate of Expungement Eligibility documents 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 $250.00 for filing a felony expungement petition and order. The legislature after June 27, 2019, will permit the $250.00 fee to be paid in installments. The first installment of $50.00 must be paid at the filing of the felony expungement petition. The remaining $200.00 can be paid over an 18-month period. The expungement order will not be entered until the balance is paid.
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!
If the Governor has granted a full Pardon, you may file with the sentencing court in which you were convicted a petition to expunge your charge/conviction.