Kentucky Expungements: How do I Get Rid of that Old Criminal Charge?
So at some point in our lives, we have all made mistakes. Unfortunately if it was a criminal charge, there is a permanent record to let the whole world know you messed up. The good news is the law is changing and for certain criminal convictions in Kentucky, you can make that old Kentucky crime you committed go away.
Now, you can file this yourself, but as always, it is recommended you hire an attorney. I know, it costs money, but most attorneys will not charge much, and it is at least getting done correctly. There are many resources online that can help you if you wish to do it yourself, and those resources are listed below:
They are all great resources, but the process is simple if you can understand these fundamental steps:
Step 1 – Am I Eligible for Expungement?
All criminal charges that have been dismissed with prejudice are eligible for expungement. Basically, prejudice means “can’t bring it again.” Sometimes, misdemeanors are dismissed without prejudice, which means the prosecutor can refile those charges if the prosecutor files the charges again within one year. So, if charges are dismissed, or one year has run on a charge that has been dismissed without prejudice, then 60 days after that, you can file for expungement.
Now, for charges that you were found guilty of, pled guilty to, or convicted under an Alford plea/no contest, whether you can get the charges expunged or not depends on the crime and the time. The majority of misdemeanors are eligible for expungement five years after you have completed your sentence. Pay attention: five years after you have completed your sentence. So if you have a sentence of 1 year to serve, conditionally discharged (aka CD) for two years, then you will have to wait seven (7) years before you are eligible for expungement. Same thing applies to felonies, but the list for felonies is much shorter than misdemeanors in terms of eligible crimes and has to be no higher than a Class D, non-violent felony. Check out KRS 431.073 for a list, but the resources listed above also provide a list of crimes by description. Pretty much, violent crimes, crimes against children, and certain sex offenses cannot be expunged. Certain felony drug offenses under KRS 218A.1415, 218A.1416, or 218A.1417 may be voided and sealed under KRS § 218A.275(9). But that is just voiding and sealing it, and the Court can still see it, so it is not as good as expungement.
The easiest way to see if you are eligible, and a step necessary for expungement anyway, is to get your KSP Expungement Certification, which costs $40 (they raise the price from time to time, so do not assume that is the cost). You can do it online here: https://kycourts.gov/Expungement/Pages/process.aspx . Doing that will let you know what convictions the KSP thinks are eligible for expungement. Now, KSP can be wrong, so if KSP says you are not eligible, get a second opinion from an attorney. Once you get that certification back from KSP, you have 30 days to file your expungement petition. So do not mess around, get it filed or contact an attorney to get it filed.
Step 2 – File Your Expungement Petition with Your KSP Expungement Certification
Attorneys can file petitions for expungement electronically, but if you are doing it yourself, you will have to walk it down to the courthouse. The fees are subject to increase, but right now, here are the costs:1) Conviction dismissed/acquitted/etc. – Free; 2) Misdemeanor Conviction - $100 (plus $3 convenience fee if electronically filed) for each case (some cases have multiple charges, so those are included); and 3)Felony Conviction - $50 when filed and another $250 if the expungement is granted.
Step 3 – Make Sure it is Expunged!!!
Courts and court clerks are humans, and humans mess up from time to time (just like you did when you allegedly committed your crime, right?). So, you need to make sure the criminal record is expunged. An attorney can do searches online, you can go to the clerk’s office and have them check, check jailtracker, etc. Now, one thing that will not be removed is if your mugshot ended up on one of those mugshot websites, or if a private entity has saved your data of your conviction, or a newspaper/website article, or social media platform (Facebook, YouTube, etc.). Getting rid of that is not going to be easy.
So if you need help with your expungement, you can call us to ask for help or go those links and read up on what you need to do. If you think you are eligible, you should go and get those charges expunged. It may increase your ability to get jobs and other opportunities that you have been missing out on. We hope this helps.