Criminal Record Expungement - Frequently Asked Questions

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

We offer an online criminal record expungement for free to low income individuals in Kentucky. Please read the Frequently Asked Questions below before proceeding to the online form.

I. General Expungement Questions


II. Process Questions


III. Record-Specific Questions


IV. After Expungement Questions


I. General Expungement Questions

What is an expungement?

An expungement is a legal process where the petitioner or attorney asks the court to seal court records and arrest information. People seek expungements in order to obtain employment or housing.

Back to Top

I’ve never heard of an expungement before. Is this legal?

It is not uncommon for people to be unaware of expungements. Kentucky statutes allow certain offenses, after a certain amount of time, to be expunged. Any charge that was dismissed or for which you were found not guilty may be expunged as well. Each state has different statutes concerning expungements, and you must apply for an expungement in the state in which you were convicted.

Back to Top

Who may file for an expungement?

There are two types of person who can file for an expungement:

(1) A person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor or violation, or a series of misdemeanors or violations arising from a single incident,

and;

(2) A person who has been charged with a criminal offense and who has been found not guilty of the offense, or against whom charges have been dismissed with prejudice, and not in exchange for a guilty plea for another offense.

Back to Top

Why file for an expungement?

Once an expungement is granted, all records relating to the arrest, charge or other matters linked to the case are sealed. People frequently seek an expungement for employment purposes or to erase their past.

Back to Top


II. Process Questions

What is the expungement process for a criminal charge?

There are three phases in the process: Intake, Court, and After Court.

  1. Intake: To initiate the process, the petitioner must obtain and provide the following:
    1. Obtain a statewide criminal history background check through the AOC Pre-Trial Services (AOC-PT-49 form)

    2. Determine which record(s) one seeks to have expunged.

    3. Complete paperwork (petition, order, and re-docket forms) for each case that a person wants to petition the court to expunge.

    4. Provide a valid picture ID, if re-docketed by the defendant

    5. Pay in advance $25.00 per guilty charge. If the court denies any motion for expungements in which the fee was paid, it will be refunded to the mailing address that was provided at the time of the payment.

    6. Receive an assigned court date from Special Services before you leave the office.

  2. Court: Once a court date was been assigned and a disposition determined:
    1. Upon the filing of a petition, notice of the filing is sent to the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, as well as any victims of a guilty conviction.

    2. Defendant information is updated as needed, i.e., address, phone number, etc.

  3. After Court: After an expungement has been granted:
    1. Review of Court order is performed to verify accuracy.

    2. Check of court records is conducted for any outstanding bench warrants/summons in the case.

    3. Certified copies of the expungement order is sent to the defendant, Louisville Metro Police Department, Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Kentucky State Police, and any other law enforcement agency that has information on the case.

    4. The case is then sealed. Please note the defendant should do a re-check in 4-6 weeks to ensure the expunged information was removed from the arresting agencies.

Back to Top

Where does a person go to file a motion for an expungement?

All expungements related to District Court criminal and traffic cases are “processed” through the Office of Circuit Court Clerk’s Special Services Division. If a defendant is indicted, they must go through Circuit Court.

Back to Top

How do I get my records from the AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts)?

The record request form for AOC records is AOC-PT-49 and can be found at http://courts.ky.gov/resources/legalforms/Pages/legalformlibrary.aspx You must fill out this form accurately and completely, and include the $10 fee for your records search. You will be sent a copy of your current criminal record.

Back to Top

How do I get my records from the KSP (Kentucky State Police)?

To request copies of or inspect public records, you must make a written request to the Official Custodian of Records. Sign the request, print your name, and describe the records (be specific, i.e. name, date, location) you wish to inspect or obtain copies of. Please include your address and phone number. Mail, fax or hand-deliver your request to the Kentucky State Police Official Custodian of Records at the following address:

Kentucky State Police Headquarters

Room 102

919 Versailles Road

Frankfort, KY 40601

The fax number is 502-573-1636. Send to the attention of Official Custodian of Records. If you have questions, call 502-695-6391 or 502-695-6320.

Back to Top

I went to the courthouse archives and nothing came up under my name; what should I do?

You may need to see if anything shows up when you request records from the AOC or the Kentucky State Police; records from the AOC and KSP will be more likely to show older charges. Also, offenses committed when you were a minor (under the age of eighteen) may not show up on some criminal record searches.

Back to Top

How much will this cost me altogether?

The filing fee as of now for an expungement is $100. You will need to request your criminal record from the AOC, so at the very minimum, the process will cost you around $110. If your AOC records do not show any charges, you will have to get records from the KSP, which will be an additional $10. It may end up costing you $120.

Back to Top

Will I have an attorney represent me?

NO. You will be going through the expungement process pro se. This means that you will be representing yourself and will not have an attorney on hand to represent you. This is nothing new to the courts, and people go to court pro se for various reasons. Do not be alarmed and nervous. Just be sincere, honest and deferential towards the judge, and take advantage of your day in court.

Back to Top

Will I have to go to court?

Yes, you are filing your petition pro se, or on your own behalf, and you will not have any representation. Expungements are civil proceedings concerning criminal matters and you must show up for your scheduled court date. Remember to be deferential towards the judge, and honest, and do not interrupt the judge while he or she is speaking.

Back to Top

I have a lot of stuff on my record. Will I have to file each petition separately, and pay a separate fee for each petition?

Each petition can only pertain to one criminal case. If you have numerous criminal cases, you must file a separate petition for each one, including pay a separate filing fee.

Back to Top

What is the general time-frame for the expungement process?

It is difficult to say, but from start to finish, which includes retrieving your criminal record to receiving the order granting your expungement, the expungement process may take up to 6 months. Expungements are not granted instantly, and sometimes records may be difficult to locate. After you get your order of expungement, it may take the agencies that have your criminal offense on file up to 6 weeks before your expunged charge is removed.

Back to Top


III. Record-Specific Questions

What happens if I am not eligible to have my record expunged?

Your eligibility depends on what the statutory requirements are. The statutory requirements are decided by the Kentucky legislature. Sometimes there is a waiting period that is in place; sometimes the criminal offense simply cannot be expunged. In that case, you may try to see if you are eligible for a pardon, but these are rarely granted and may not solve your housing and/or employment problems.

Back to Top

What if I have a felony conviction as well as misdemeanor convictions?

A felony conviction will prevent you from getting your otherwise eligible misdemeanor convictions expunged. This is because the Kentucky expungement statutes bar expungement for individuals who have a felony conviction in their record.

Back to Top

Why can’t my felony conviction be expunged when it is such an old charge?

Unfortunately, under Kentucky statutes, most felony convictions cannot be expunged at this time. The only felony convictions that may be expunged are Class D drug felonies. For all other felonies, it does not matter if the charge is 20, 30, or even 40 years old. You simply cannot expunge a felony conviction. A felony charge that is dismissed with prejudice, or where you are found not guilty, may be expunged at any time.

Back to Top

I’m still on probation or have pending criminal charges. Can I apply for an expungement for my other charges?

You are not eligible for an expungement, regardless of what your criminal record indicates, if you are still on probation and/or have pending criminal charges against you. These items need to be taken care of before you may attempt to apply for an expungement.

Back to Top

What if my conviction involved a minor and/or offenses of a sexual nature?

Offenses that involve children or offenses that are of a sexual nature may not be expunged in the state of Kentucky. While there are public policy reasons, what is important is that such offenses cannot be expunged at this time. However, if your case was dismissed with prejudice or you were found not guilty, you may be eligible for expungement.

Back to Top

Can you clear my driving record and traffic violations?

Traffic violations, such as parking and speeding tickets, may not be expunged at this time. You must be charged with a criminal offense, not just a traffic violation.

Back to Top

Can the multiple charges that are on my record be considered to have been part of the same incident?

The statute permits those with multiple misdemeanor convictions arising out of the same incident to be expunged after a certain waiting period. Misdemeanor convictions are considered to have arisen out of the same incident when they have the same case number. Sometimes one case number will have numerous different charges; this is to show that it arose out of the same arrest/incident. Unless this is your case, your multiple charges may not be considered to arisen out of the same incident.

Back to Top

My charge was dismissed. Can I get it expunged?

Yes, if your case was dismissed it is eligible for an expungement. However, if you have numerous other convictions, getting one dismissed charge expunged may not guarantee the housing and/or employment you are seeking right away.

Back to Top

I have a charge in another state, but now live in Kentucky. Can I get my out-of-state charge expunged in Kentucky because I live here now?

You must apply for an expungement in the court in which you were convicted. For example, if you were charged with drunk driving in the state of New Mexico, and are eligible for an expungement there, and have been living in Kentucky for the past 20 years, you must file your expungement petition in New Mexico, in the same court in which your initial proceedings took place. If your charge was in Kentucky, you would then try to get your record expunged in the Kentucky court in which you were convicted.

Back to Top

I have a federal and/or military charge. Can I get that expunged in Kentucky?

In order to get your federal charge expunged, you would have to go through the federal court system, through the court in which you were originally convicted. The same goes for a military charge, which may not be expunged through the Kentucky civil court system.

Back to Top


IV. After Expungement Questions

What happens if the court does not grant my expungement?

Each expungement application, after meeting the statutory requirements, is still up to judicial discretion. There are numerous reasons a judge may not grant your expungement; it may have to do with whether or not the expungement is in the best interest of the state. You may not be eligible to re-apply for an expungement.

Back to Top

What will show up on my record if it is successfully expunged?

If your motion for expungement is granted, the charge for which you filed an expungement for should be gone. This will not affect your other charges from showing up, only that specific charge will be deleted.

Back to Top

Will I have to say that I was convicted of a crime if I already got it expunged?

After receiving your successful order of expungement from the court, you will not have to say that you were previously convicted of the crime for which the expungement was granted. This means that you have to truthfully disclose any other charge as you normally would, but you do not have to disclose the charge that was expunged.

Back to Top

How can I make sure that my charge is really expunged?

In order to make sure that your charge is really expunged, and no longer showing up on criminal record searches, you may want to perform a record check yourself just like you did at the beginning of the expungement process. After up to 6 weeks of your final order of expungement, your charges may still show up. It is best to check after several months to make sure all the databases are clear.

Back to Top

I got an expungement, and my employer still found charges on my criminal record. What should I do?

You should do a record check on yourself before you start apply for jobs. If something comes up on your record that should not be there, you need to speak directly with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and/or Kentucky State Police (KSP), the agencies that may have your records on file incorrectly.

Back to Top