How to Expunge a Felony or Misdemeanor in Kentucky

The Kentucky General Assembly has been focusing on criminal justice reform for several years. “Tough on crime” rhetoric has started to give way to being “smart on crime.” Among the reforms was HB 40, enacted during the 2016 General Assembly - commonly referred to as “felony expungement.” Understanding the scarlet letter of a felony conviction follows people long after they've repaid their debts to society, the General Assembly is allowing people an opportunity to expunge certain felony convictions.

While felony expungement is new in Kentucky, misdemeanor expungement has been around for some time. Previously, an individual could only expunge one misdemeanor in their lifetime, and they could not expunge their misdemeanor until after five years of good behavior. Now an individual can expunge multiple misdemeanors, but they can only be expunged once the applicable “enhancement period” has expired. Enhancement periods are different for different crimes. For example, Driving Under the Influence can now be enhanced for ten years, but that may not withstand constitutional scrutiny.

Only certain felonies and misdemeanors can be expunged. For a comprehensive list, click here. If your offense qualifies, you must apply for a Certificate of Expungement Eligibility, which is $40 and can be accessed here. A Certificate of Expungement Eligibility is only valid for 30 days, and a Petition for Expungement will be rejected without a valid certificate. The Administrative Office of the Courts has provided a sample Petition for Expungement for misdemeanors and for felonies. It currently costs $100 to expunge misdemeanors and $500 to expunge felonies. These costs are court costs and are in addition to any fee an attorney may charge.

Expungements are not automatic. Prosecutors are permitted to oppose expungements and a court is not required to expunge your record if a prosecutor objects. It is for this reason that you should retain an attorney to defend your interests, instead of solely relying on this or any other resource. This article is meant to provide access to helpful links for public research, and should not be considered legal advice. The attorneys at Barsotti & Manley, PLLC, can represent you during your expungement for a nominal fee, in addition to the costs mentioned above.