EXPUNGEMENT: Erasing the Mistakes of Your Past

The French Novelist Marcel Proust once said, “There is no man, however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory.”

Many, gaining wisdom and experience, regret the mistakes of their youth, particularly if they have made mistakes resulting in a record. A criminal history can haunt a person long after the fine has been paid and jail time served. Luckily, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has recently made the process of erasing the legal mistakes of your past easier through expungement certification.

The 2013 Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 78, which requires every expungement petition in Kentucky to include a certificate of eligibility beginning Jan. 1, 2014. This ensures that judges and prosecutors reviewing expungement petitions have accurate, current information regarding the status of petitioners.

To request an expungement certificate, you will need your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth. An email address is required for online requests. The certification costs $40 and the process takes approximately 60 days. This time frame allows the Kentucky State Police and the Administrative Office of the Courts to run criminal record reports on the requestor and thoroughly review the requestor’s information.

An expungement certification is not the same as an expungement of your criminal record. Only a judge can grant an expungement. After you receive your certification, you will still need to file a petition for an expungement with the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the original charge was filed. This action sets the expungement process in motion through the courts. It is important to act as soon as you receive your certification as it is only valid for 30 days. If you need help filing an expungement petition, you might want to consult with an attorney.

If your certification shows that you are not eligible for expungement, you may still file for an expungement. You may file a petition for expungement regardless of the eligibility determination by the Kentucky State Police. It is important to note that Kentucky law currently only permits expungement of misdemeanor offenses. Expungement of a felony conviction is not allowed. However, there may be other legal methods through which a felony can be removed from one’s criminal history. Consulting an attorney is very important under such circumstances.

To begin your expungement certification, click here.

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