Kentucky Expands Expungement Opportunities

July 25, 2023

Earlier this year, the General Assembly in Kentucky passed an expungement bill. According to the bill, it would give residents additional opportunities to expunge past offenses. Many hope it will remove some obstacles caused by criminal records.

Kentucky’s current expungement statutes received several amendments through House Bill 369. For example, individuals could expunge multiple Class D felony offenses. Previously, they could expunge only one or several from the same charge. 

Anyone trying to rebuild their lives after past mistakes could view this bill as great news. Felonies on records often make obtaining employment, education, or housing difficult. This bill would improve your odds by removing eligible convictions. Should your offenses qualify, you could even purchase and operate firearms again.

If you qualify for an expungement, you must apply and pay a filing fee. You cannot apply until five years have passed since the completion of your sentence, probation, or parole, whichever is later.

Either the Commonwealth’s attorney or county attorney should respond to your application within 60 days. However, they could extend the wait with good cause. The hearing on your application to vacate the judgment will occur no later than 120 days from when you file. Should the state find the application grossly incomplete, they can order the person or agency filing it to supplement it.

Should the Commonwealth’s attorney or county attorney neither object to having the judgment vacated nor respond to the application filing within 120 days, the court can vacate the judgment without a hearing. Otherwise, you or your attorney must appear at the hearing. After the prosecutor states why they object to the expungement, you or your attorney can present evidence in your favor. 

The state can also hear other witnesses and relevant matters. Afterward, the court will determine whether the circumstances warrant an expungement. The court will also determine whether any harm to you from keeping the record public outweighs the public interest in the record being public.

With an order to vacate and expunge the conviction, “the original conviction shall be vacated and, upon full payment of the fee in subsection (11) of this section, the record shall be expunged. The court and other agencies shall cause records to be deleted or removed from their computer systems so that the matter shall not appear on official state-performed background checks.”

In addition, “[t]he court and other agencies shall reply to any inquiry that no record exists on the matter. The person whose record is expunged shall not have to disclose the fact of the record or any matter relating thereto on an application for employment, credit, or other type of application. If the person is not prohibited from voting for any other reason, the person’s ability to vote shall be restored, and the person may register to vote.”

Though the process takes effort, it could provide significant benefits. You should consider running a self-background check after the courts expunge your records. This review ensures expunged offenses do not appear on background check reports. Should you find mistakes in your report, you can have the information corrected before you apply for new jobs or housing.

Background checks don’t have to be complicated. Try running a self background check today and give yourself a head start.