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How to Get a Felony Expungement in Kentucky

How to Get a Felony Expungement in Kentucky

Felony expungement in Kentucky is possible! If you have served time, were indicted but not charged for a felony, or you have been pardoned for a conviction, then you may be eligible to have your felony expunged in Kentucky. You might also be wondering how much felony expungement in Kentucky costs, and we have information on how to have the fees for felony expungement waived. Read on for this information and more!

Who can get a felony expungement in Kentucky?

People who have a class D felony conviction in Kentucky may be eligible to expunge their record. A full list of class D felony convictions eligible for expungement is available on the Kentucky Court of Justice website. 

In addition, those who had an offense prior to January 1, 1975 that resulted in five or fewer years of incarceration may be eligible. Offenses committed prior to 1975 must not involve an abuse of public office, a sex offense, or an offense committed against a child, and must not have resulted in serious bodily injury or death. 

Expungement may also be available to those who have had a full pardon, and those who have been charged with a felony, but not indicted by a grand jury. 

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What does it mean to have a felony expungement in Kentucky?

When an application to expunge a felony is accepted and the expungement fee is paid or waived, then all records of the felony will be deleted by courts and other agencies that might have information on file. 

Further, once a felony is expunged, it will not appear in any official background checks performed by the state. It also means that when you apply for something that would typically require disclosure of a felony (like a job, credit, etc), you do not need to provide that information. Expungement of a felony also means that the right to vote will be restored, as long as the person is not prohibited from voting for another reason (e.g. they are not a U.S. citizen). 

Having a felony expungement in Kentucky does not mean that your conviction is overturned or mean that the person is being found innocent. It also does not mean that it has been found that there was an error during the legal proceedings. However, a felony expungement in Kentucky can give a person with a felony conviction a chance to live a life that is not limited by having a felony in the public record. This creates a more level playing field in matters of employment, voting, and even obtaining a line of credit.


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How much does it cost to have a felony expungement in Kentucky?

The full cost of getting a felony expungement in Kentucky is $340, which is paid in three parts. First, it is required that an expungement certification is filed, which indicates the records that are eligible to be expunged, and this costs $40. Then, a $50 application fee is required, and it is non-refundable. Finally, if a felony expungement is granted, an expungement fee of $250 is required to complete the expungement.

However, fees totaling $340 meant that there was a serious barrier to many people seeking to have their records expunged. So, in 2021 the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that anyone seeking a felony expungement in Kentucky could have the fees waived if they could show that they are unable to pay. You might hear this referred to as having the fees paid in forma pauperis. This is a Latin term used in legal language to refer to the fact that in most cases, people who are unable to pay for legal proceedings can have their fees paid by the state. 

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What is the process for getting a felony expungement in Kentucky?

To apply for a felony expungement in Kentucky, you must first request an expungement certification from the Administrative Office of the Courts. This can be done by creating an account and then submitting an online request form along with the $40 fee. 

When the expungement certification is returned via email, the application to vacate and expunge felony conviction should be filed with the Office of the County Clerk in the county where the conviction occurred along with the expungement certification and the filing fee. 

If the judge accepts the application, then the records will be expunged. If the prosecutor objects to the application, a hearing will be scheduled. 

For those who wish to file in forma pauperis, contact the Administrative Office of the Courts prior to requesting the expungement certification to find out the best way to file the application to proceed without paying the fees. 

Getting a felony expungement in Kentucky is possible, even if you are unable to pay. Obtaining an expungement is a great way to enhance your ability to find a good job, regain the right to vote, and enjoy a fuller life.

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Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.