In Kentucky, most felonies MAY NOT be expunged, unless of course the person was not convicted (charges dismissed with prejudice or not guilty verdict issued). A crime charged as a felony but reduced to a misdemeanor would be eligible for expungement even if there was a misdemeanor conviction.
While the expungement statute does not provide for expungement of felonies, on its face, it is possible where the defendant completed a class D felony pretrial diversion program under KRS 533.250 et. seq. For instance, in Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Orville Eugene Shouse, 183 S.W.3d 204 (Ky.App. 2006), the court allowed a person who successfully completed his pretrial diversion program to expunge his dismissed-diverted charge. Felony diversion programs, where offered, are usually only for first-time drug possession charges. Kentucky House and Senate billshave been proposed to expand expungement to more Class D felonies but have not yet been enacted.
Finally, the charge of possession of controlled substance in first degree, a Class D felony, may be voided. In accordance with KRS 218A.275, a voided conviction has the same effect as an expungement: the records are sealed and will not show up on background checks, the defendant will not have to disclose the record on employment applications, etc.
Misdemeanors and Violations
In Kentucky, misdemeanors and violations MAY be expunged. Some common misdemeanors include DUI, criminal trespassing, theft by unlawful taking (shoplifting), possession of marijuana, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication, but there are countless others. Since certain crimes may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, it is usually best for an attorney to review the criminal history record to determine which offenses qualify for expungement.
Certain misdemeanor convictions are NEVER eligible for expungement. They are:
- Sex offenses (rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, indecent exposure). KRS 431.078(4)(a)
- Offenses committed against a child. KRS 431.078(4)(a)
Any misdemeanor or violation may NOT be expunged if:
- The person is still on probation. KRS 431.078(2)
- There is a pending proceeding against the person for a felony, misdemeanor, or violation. KRS 431.078(4)(e)
Traffic Offenses / Traffic Tickets
In Kentucky, traffic offenses MAY be expunged since they are misdemeanors or violations like other non-traffic crimes. This is beneficial because, while private individuals may only request another person’s 3-year driving history record from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the same private individual could request another person’s full criminal record report where the charges remain unless expunged. While most people would not feel too poorly about having a few speeding tickets or seatbelt violations on their record, multiple traffic offenses do look bad to prospective employers, landlords, lenders, etc. In addition, certain traffic charges are more serious and potentially damaging to one’s reputation. These include reckless driving, operating on suspended / revoked operator’s license, failure of owner to maintain required insurance / security, leaving the scene of an accident / failure to render aid or assistance, or driving without a license / negligence in accident.
In Kentucky, juvenile offenses MAY be expunged if the offense was adjudicated under KRS Chapters 630, 635, or 645 only, but not under KRS Chapters 620 or 640. KRS 610.330(1). This means expungement-eligible juvenile offenses are misdemeanors, violations, Status Offenses, or Mental Health issues. Expungement is NOT available for Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse issues or felonies.
Any juvenile offense may NOT be expunged if:
- The person has been convicted of a felony or another juvenile offense since the court’s jurisdiction over the person terminated or after the person’s unconditional release from commitment. KRS 610.330(3)(a)
- There is a pending proceeding against the person for a felony or another juvenile offense. KRS 610.330(3)(b)
If you have read all this and are still not sure whether your records are eligible for expungement, consider having our firm review your criminal records prior to filing for expungement. Please see the Expungement of Kentucky Criminal Records page for more information.