How to Expunge my Public Records in Kentucky

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By law, the Kentucky State’s Archives, Libraries and Records Commission are empowered to decide on the retention and destruction of public records under Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 171.670. According to the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, the destruction of public records must follow laid down guidelines and may only be authorized by:

  • Obtaining permission from the State Archives and Records Commission via the application of General Retention Schedules
  • The provisions of specific state legislation that allows the destruction of certain public records.

Generally, the Kentucky Judicial Branch can order the disposal or destruction of public records. In Kentucky, residents may choose to delete their public records for reasons such as:

  • Breach of privacy or confidentiality
  • The contents of the record may expose them or their families or property to certain perils
  • Exposure of the record violates certain municipal, state, or federal law provisions

What is a Public Record in Kentucky?

According to Kentucky's Open Records Act, Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 171.410 (1), a public record is any documentary material, regardless of its physical form, which is created, used, or maintained by  a public agency, unless otherwise stated. Exceptions to this rule include;

  • Trade secrets
  • Personal information of public agency workers
  • Medical records
  • Law enforcement investigation reports
  • Any public information sealed by rules of evidence

Since democracy requires a government that is answerable to its people, the citizens must be empowered to track the performance of the government. The Kentucky Open Records and Open Meetings Acts are important laws that empower the citizens of Kentucky to access the officials and agencies in their government. Public records are available at official repositories and may also be available through Non-FCRA Compliant third-party background checks.

Does Kentucky allow Expungement?

Yes. However, Kentucky criminal records expungement is only applicable to certain arrests and convictions. The State allows expungement of misdemeanor offenses (excluding sex crimes and offenses against a juvenile) and class D felonies that fall under Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 431.073(1). Acquittal and dismissed charges, and pardon by the State Governor can also be expunged.

An an applicant becomes eligible for expungement under the following conditions:

  • The applicant does not have any pending criminal charges
  • The applicant does not have any no conviction records of any misdemeanors or felonies within the past five years
  • In Kentucky, people can file for expungement five years after a misdemeanor or Class D felony charge and 10 years after a DUI charge. The waiting period may begin from the date the charge was filed or immediately after completing a sentence.

How do I Expunge my Criminal Record in Kentucky

According to the Kentucky Revised Statutes 431.076, if an accused person is acquitted of criminal charges, or has the charges dismissed with prejudice, the court of jurisdiction must order the records of such case expunged after 30 days, unless there is an objection to such by the said accused. Since July 2020, the accused does not have to take any action to effect a record expungement. However, if for some reason, the expungement is not automatically granted 60 days after the ruling, the subject may file the Acquittal, Dismissal & Failure to Indict Form without the certification packet.

Dismissals without prejudice are eligible for expungement one year after the ruling for misdemeanors and three years after the ruling for felonies. These types of expungement can be requested with the same Acquittal, Dismissal & Failure to Indict Form. Expungement for a Failure to Indict can be requested six months after a party is first indicted and can be requested by filling the same form.

The court will not charge any fee for an acquittal, dismissal, or failure to indict expungement, and no certification packet is required.

For cases other than the above, below is an outline of the Kentucky criminal record expungement process:

  1. Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility.

In Kentucky, only eligible persons can file for expungement. To do this, the individual or organization will need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for $40. This form can be purchased online or by mail. For a mail application, the requesting party will need to send a Request for Certification Form and a $40 money order to:

Records Unit/Administrative Office of the Courts

1001 Vandalay Drive

Frankfort, KY 40601

The Records Unit will return a packet which will confirm whether or not the requester is eligible for expungement.

  1. Court Filing

The requesting party and attorney will need to file the certification packet and the Certification Request form with the court within 30 days after receiving the packet from the Records Unit. The certification packet will expire if the requester fails to file the required documents within the set time.

The court document must contain the county where the conviction took place. The requesting party can locate the county of conviction by conducting a search online. All documents should be directed to the Office of the Clerk of Court.

For a misdemeanor conviction record expungement, the requesting party should file the Misdemeanor Conviction Expungement Form together with the certification packet. The court will charge $100 per case to expunge a misdemeanor conviction and will refund $50 if the judge does not grant the request.

To expunge a Class D felony conviction, the requester will need to file the Application to Vacate Felony Conviction form and the certification packet. This filing costs $500 per case and the court will refund $450 if the judge rejects the request.

The expunction of a final verdict on misdemeanor convictions may take about one month or up to four months for Class D felony expungement if the judge decides to hold a hearing.

The State of Kentucky can provide free to low-cost legal help for people who cannot afford the court fees.

Will my Expungement Record Show up on a Background Check in Kentucky?

No. Conviction, dismissal, or acquittal records will not appear on any state background check. Once a Kentucky court grants an expungement petition, the court orders all state and county repositories to erase the record subject’s  records. The law enforcement agencies will remove all non-conviction arrests or misdemeanors on their records. However, the prosecutor's office may keep a confidential copy of an expunged Class-D felony record strictly for law enforcement purposes. This document will not be open to the public. A successful Kentucky arrest record expungement will also erase any information about the event.

Under Kentucky law, a person can legally deny the existence of an arrest or criminal record after expungement.

How to Seal a Record in Kentucky

Kentucky arrest or conviction records sealing is a process that involves the filing of a motion to restrict access to the information provided on the record. As a result, a sealed record will not be open to third-parties.

To seal a court record in Kentucky, an applicant will need to file a petition in the court. The petition must contain information about the record. Afterward, a judge will review the petition and may hold a hearing. If granted, the judge will order all the agencies in possession of the record to seal it.

Not all records in Kentucky are sealable. For example, only adoption records, juvenile records, and some civil cases may be sealed; adult criminal records do not qualify for sealing. The information which go under seal in sealed cases include:

  • Names of parties involved
  • Information relating to a minor
  • Financial information
  • Trade secrets

A party involved in putting an eligible record under seal will have to file a petition to that effect in the current court of jurisdiction. A judge then decides after a hearing whether or not to grant the request. The underlying principle is that the reason for wanting the records sealed must be found to outweigh the reason to have such a record in the public domain. The safety of parties involved and removal of the effect of external influence on a trial are some of the foundational reasons for which a sealing request may be granted.

Who Can See My Sealed Record in Kentucky?

Sealed records are not open to the public and are kept by the Clerk of Court in the court that ordered the sealing of the record. Statutorily, four entities may have access to a sealed record:

  • Persons listed on the record
  • The authorized attorneys of the subjects of the record
  • Court authorities
  • Law enforcement agencies

However, third-parties can file a petition to unseal the record and if this is successful, they will have access to the record.

How to Delete Bankruptcy Records in Kentucky

Under normal circumstances, a person cannot request to delete a bankruptcy record in Kentucky, unless the bankruptcy report contains discrepancies. If there are any errors, the party can challenge the information on the record by querying the United States Bankruptcy Trustee's Office in Kentucky. The contact details is as follows:

John Daugherty, Assistant U.S. Trustee

100 East Vine Street

Suite 500

Lexington, KY 40507

Phone: (859) 233-2822

Phone 2: (859) 233-2822

Fax: (859) 233-2834

Fax 2: (859) 233-2834

John Daugherty, Assistant U.S. Trustee

601 West Broadway

Suite 512

Louisville, KY 40202

Phone: 502-582-6000

Phone 2:(502) 582-6000

Fax: (502) 582-6147

Fax 2: (502) 582-6147

The Trustee's Office will direct the bankruptcy report complaints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who will then investigate the claim. After this, the party will need to file a case in court.

Otherwise, the only option is to wait until the legal staying period on a bankruptcy report elapses. The legal staying period of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is ten years, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy record, on the other hand, will remain on a credit report for seven years.

What are Consumer Protection Laws in Kentucky

The Kentucky Consumer Protection Act makes it illegal for any company or organization to use false, misleading, or deceptive means to conduct trade or commercial activities within the state. Most of the state's laws regarding consumer protection are in Kentucky's Revised Statutes Chapter 367.

Under this law, an individual can take legal action against a company or organization if they suffer damages or loss (money or property) due to the company's false, manipulative, misleading, or deceptive acts. Any company found guilty may also face a penalty of up to $2,000.00 per violation from the Kentucky Attorney General’s office and $10,000.00 for actions targeted towards 60 people or more.

The Kentucky State Assembly in 2014 passed two laws guiding the use of personal information of citizens by businesses and government agencies. These laws are known as the Information Holder Law and the Agency Law.

Within the context of the Information Holder Law, the law describes an information holder as business entities or persons who, for legal reasons, possess private personal information of citizens which include:

  • First name or first initial accompanied with the last name
  • Social Security Number
  • Driver’s License Number
  • A combination of one of an individual’s account, or credit card, or debit card number, and the required passkey to access such a person’s financial account.

This law requires information holders to notify Kentucky residents if a breach of information occurs, where their system exposes residents’ unencrypted personal information to unauthorized access, particularly if this breach is believed to leave citizens vulnerable to identity theft. A similar protection law; Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 365.725, demands that when information holders dispose of records that are not meant to be retained, it should do so in a manner that leaves no trace of usable personally identifiable information.

The Agency Law contained in Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 61.931 - 61.934 on the other hand, outlines procedures for the safety of personal information and the investigation of a breach of such system for government branches, agencies, and other non-affiliated third parties that have been granted access to citizens’ personal information.

How to Delete Lien Records in Kentucky

According to Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 413.090, a Judgement Lien will remain on a debtor's property for 15 years, regardless of the owner of the property. That is, even after selling a property, the lien still remains. Therefore, people will have to wait until after 15 years before a lien is taken off the property.

However, another option is to file a case in court. The party must provide substantial evidence that there are no outstanding debts on the property. Only then can the court order the removal of the lien on the property.

The public can find lien records using the Kentucky UCC search platform provided by the Secretary of State's Office. The record seeker should fill in the Filing Number and the name of the individual or organization in the provided search boxes. It is important to note that the search result will not display any Social Security Number, in compliance with KRS 61.878(1)(a).

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