What is a misdemeanor or traffic expungement and how can I get my record expunged in Kentucky?
An expungement is a process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from the state or Federal repository. Basically, anyone looking at your record (unless you are applying for a job at the FBI, CIA, or other high governmental agency) will see a clean slate where your previous crimes were once posted. This will help you if you are looking for a job and don't want your employer to find out about a past criminal record that you may have had.
The most common type of expungement occurs on your 18th birthday. If you have any type of juvenile record, the state should seal those records automatically. I emphasize the word 'should' because sometimes your record may fall through the cracks, and it will be visible on your 18th birthday, or you may have been charged as an adult, even though you were under 18 when the offense was committed. If your record is expungement eligible, and the court failed to seal it, contact me immediately.
However, any offense committed after your 18th birthday will require proactive measures to have the records sealed or destroyed.
As I mentioned in a Facebook post on my page, on January 1, 2014, expungement law went through some changes in Kentucky.
Up until now, in order to get a record expunged, all you had to do to get a record expunged was to go to the Kentucky Court of Justice website and pay $20 to get your AOCFastCheck. You then would pay $100 to the Administrative Office of the Courts (giving them your printed AOCFastCheck) and that would get the process started in Court to get your record expunged. If your expungement is denied, you only get $50 back.
However, starting January 1, 2014, a new statute, KRS 431.079, now requires a mandatory certification by the Kentucky State Police. This replaces the old AOCFastCheck. KSP conducts a background check for a $40 fee and then sends you a letter regarding which charges on your record are expungeable, and which are not. You will still have to pay the $100 Administrative Office of the Courts fee. Be careful; as sometimes KSP may state that an offense is not expungeable, when it in fact may be expunged. so hire an attorney to make sure that KSP did not miss anything or give you incorrect information.
You could request a hearing or you may choose to have the expungement proceed without one -- I would personally recommend requesting a hearing. That will allow you to argue your case, and will prevent the prosecutor or judge from denying your petition without an adequate basis. This is a good place to hire a good attorney to help you along. You can certainly proceed by yourself, but your chances of successfully expunging your records are greatly enhanced when you have a knowledgeable attorney by your side.
If everything was done in accordance with KRS 431.078 (the statute governing expungements), then your record will be sealed, and you will be on your way.
As I mentioned in a blog post, if you are expunging a DUI, there is one caveat. If in the future the Kentucky legislature decides to change our current DUI laws to, for example, increase the penalties for subsequent DUIs committed within a ten year period (instead of the five it is currently), then you will still be charged with a 'DUI 2nd' if you get caught within those ten years notwithstanding the fact that your current DUI is expunged.
Lastly, there is one more possible change coming to expungement law with the proposed House Bill 47. HB47 would amend KRS 431.078 to allow the expungement of Class D felonies. However, it has not budged since its arrival in the Senate in February, 2013, and I do not see it gaining any traction in the near future. As of July 15, 2016 certain felonies can be expunged from your record.
Update for February, 2015: If your charge was dismissed, you no longer have to file a petition with KSP to get a certification. You may go directly to AOC and get your expungement case on the docket, thus avoiding the $40 KSP Certification Fee. However, if you were found or plead guilty, you must go through KSP.
Update for July 15, 2016: Certain felonies are now eligible for expungement. Read the new blog post.
Read my blog post (OUTDATED regarding felonies; Read the new post on felony expungement in Kentucky) about helpful tips to expunge your record!
If you need help with a record expungement, you need competent and experienced counsel to help you. Do not delay, call the DUI Guy today.