In Kentucky, expungement is the legal process you can use to petition the court to seal felony arrest information and court records, if you are acquitted (found not guilty) of the charges or the charges are dismissed. Felony convictions, including juvenile convictions that could have been charged as a felony if you were an adult, cannot be expunged or sealed. Once 60 days have passed since your acquittal at trial or any time after the charges are dismissed, you can petition for an expungement of the records related to the felony charges. An expungement order will mean that the arrest records, court records and any other records related to the felony charge are sealed from public view.
Gather the information concerning your felony criminal record from the date of your arrest until the case was dismissed or you were acquitted of the charges at trial. You should have information regarding the Kentucky Revised Statute you were charged with violating and the names of the law enforcement agencies with records of your case. If you do not have this information, you can obtain it from the Administrative Office of the Courts. You can submit a request for the information through the Kentucky Courts’ website, by mail or in-person.
Contact the clerk for the circuit court in the county where you were arrested and inquire about obtaining the forms required for an expungement: the petition for expungement, order for expungement, and re-docket form, which is necessary to have your case put back on the court's active list. Follow the clerk's instructions on how to obtain the forms, which will probably require going to the clerk's office. The contact information for all circuit court clerks is available from the Kentucky Courts' website (See References). You can also download from the website the petition for expungement form (See References).
Complete the petition for expungement by inserting your identifying information and the information you gathered regarding your felony record. Do not sign the form until you go to file it with the circuit court clerk because the clerk must notarize your signature on the petition. Insert whatever information you can in the order for expungement and re-docket form, excluding those parts of the forms for use by the clerk and judge.
Take all the forms to the circuit court clerk's office for filing. Sign the petition when instructed to by the clerk. Do not leave the clerk's office without obtaining a hearing date for your petition.
Go to court on your hearing date. You should anticipate the judge asking you questions about your case, so be prepared to discuss the facts. After the judge grants your petition, obtain a copy of the order for expungement from the clerk for your records.
The clerk is responsible for forwarding a copy of the order for expungement to the agencies identified in your petition so that they will know to seal your records.
Because pre-employment screening routinely includes a search for criminal records, do not assume that after the expungement order has been made that your felony record can never be found. It would be prudent to perform a record check yourself a month or two after the hearing to determine that the record has been sealed, before finding yourself in the position of being requested to disclose felony criminal records on an employment application. If the record shows up in your search, you can contact the necessary agency regarding its compliance with the expungement order.
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