If you have been arrested, the impact can have long-lasting negative effects, even if the charges have been dropped. Expungement can provide the new beginning you need.
Expungement and Record Sealing
Expungement and record sealing are ways to clear your criminal record. The terms are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing. Officially, expungement removes the offense as if it never happened, and sealing prevents public access to it. However, many states refer to record sealing as expungement.
In Kentucky, if you were found not guilty or chargers were dismissed with prejudice and did not exchange for a guilty plea, you may petition for expungement. This includes destruction of arrest records, fingerprints, photographs, index references and other data, including electronic data. You have 60 days following acquittal or dismissal to file.
If your misdemeanor or violation resulted in dismissed or amended charges, you are eligible for an expungement of records. You should be informed of this right concurrent with the adjudication. The petition must be filed no sooner than five years after probation is complete.
Ineligibility from Expungement
There are certain situations that preclude you from seeking expungement:
- If the offense was a sex offense committed against a child
- You have a prior felony conviction
- You have been convicted of other violation offenses and misdemeanors in the five years leading up to the petition for expungement
- You have not sought prior expungement attempts since conviction
- No pending proceedings exist against you
- The offense was outside of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
To have records restricted, you will need to obtain the form for expungement, fill the form out completely and file the petition in the court where the offense was committed.
You must provide personal information like your birthday and Social Security number and arrest and case details. The arresting agency and the court in the county you were arrested will have records of any applicable court procedure. The fee for the copy of the criminal report is $20.
Upon an entry for order to expunge records, a fee of $100 will be due. The case will be deemed to have never occurred. Records will be destroyed. Copies of the order will be disseminated to all officials named in the order.
Attorney for Expungement?
Expungement can be completed without an attorney, but it may be wise to speak with an attorney to ensure your name is cleared. The Kentucky Court of Justice has forms that are available online. Missing information will result in an incomplete request, and fees may be lost.
Why Contact an Attorney?
Laws change regularly and the legal information in this article is for informational purposes. Seek help from a lawyer should you have questions about expungement.