What Is Expungement?

Criminal offenses can remain on your criminal record even if you were never convicted. A criminal conviction will remain on your record by default and can negatively impact many aspects of your life. Luckily, in some cases, you can have your criminal record expunged or erased.

What Is an Expungement in Lexington?

What Is an Expungement in Lexington?

Criminal charges can affect your educational and employment opportunities. In addition, being convicted of a crime could affect your eligibility for some government benefits. However, you might be able to get rid of your criminal record through the expungement process.

Expungement is the legal process of having a criminal charge, arrest record, or criminal conviction removed from your record. Expunged convictions and arrests do not appear on background checks or public records. Instead, the records are removed from official government databases, so your criminal history is clean.

That said, expungement does not remove records from private websites. Therefore, information about your arrest or conviction might still be found in newspaper articles or websites. Your mugshot could still be on the internet for a potential employer to find if they perform an online search.

You can contact the websites to ask them to remove the information. Also, you can explain that the records were expunged if the matter comes up. Unless a party brings up the matter, you can legally answer that you have not been arrested, charged with a crime, or convicted of a crime once it is expunged from your record.

Am I Able to Have My Criminal Record Expunged?

State laws determine whether a person is eligible for an expungement. Some criminal offenses are eligible for automatic expungement. A person might be eligible for expungement if:

  • The court ordered your criminal charges dismissed with prejudice
  • You do not have any pending criminal charges
  • At least five years have passed since you completed your criminal sentence or probation
  • You have never been convicted of a sex crime or a crime involving a child
  • Your Class D felony is eligible for an expungement

You may also petition the court to expunge your arrest record and criminal charges if the state did not prosecute you, you were acquitted of the charges, or the court dismissed the charges.

What Criminal Charges Are Eligible for Expungement in Kentucky?

Generally, non-violent misdemeanor charges can be expunged from your record. Some Class D felonies are also eligible for expungement. Examples of criminal offenses that you might be able to have expunged from your criminal record include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Traffic violations
  • Identity theft
  • Public intoxication
  • Third-degree burglary
  • Drug possession
  • Shoplifting
  • Marijuana cultivation
  • Bigamy
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Criminal trespass 
  • Juvenile crimes

Even if the charge is a misdemeanor, crimes involving children and sex crimes are not eligible for expungement. 

You must wait at least five years after completing the terms of your probation and your criminal sentence to petition the court for expungement. 

However, if the court dismissed your case with prejudice, you could begin the expungement process 60 days after the court enters the dismissal order. All cases dismissed with prejudice or acquitted on or after July 15, 2020, will be automatically expunged after 30 days, except for traffic cases. You do not need to take any action.

How Do I Apply to Have My Criminal Record Expunged?

The steps to have your criminal record expunged in Kentucky are:

  • Request an expungement certification.
  • Complete and file the correct petition for expungement with the court. The petition must be filed in the county of the original criminal charge. 
  • The prosecutor has 60 days to object or respond to the petition for expungement.
  • If the prosecutor objects, the court schedules a hearing. If not, the court could issue an expungement order without a hearing.
  • At the hearing, the judge reviews the petition for expungement and considers the arguments by both parties. 
  • If the judge grants the expungement, the court issues an order to expunge your records. 

The fee for an expungement certification is $40. The court charges a $300 fee for a felony expungement. 

You must pay a non-refundable fee of $50 when you file your application. Then, if the court grants the expungement request, you must pay the remaining $250 to complete the process. The court does not expunge the records until you pay the entire fee.

Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer to File for Expungement?

You are not required to have a lawyer file for expungement. However, having legal counsel can make the expungement process less stressful and can increase your chance of completing the process the first time.

The court cannot give you legal advice. It cannot tell you how to complete the forms. If the prosecutor objects to the expungement, you must present evidence and a legal argument at the hearing to convince the judge to grant your request.

Without a lawyer, the chance of making a mistake increases dramatically. A simple error could result in the court denying your expungement petition. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have questions about an expungement or need legal advice about a criminal matter, contact our law firm to speak with an attorney. Call today at (859) 569-4014 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.