Written by attorney Thomas Edge

Kentucky Expungement Rules

Kentucky Expungement Rules

By: Tom Edge, [email protected]

The state of Kentucky has several rules regarding the expungement of criminal records and the process involved. The process of expungement requires that several papers be filed with the appropriate court, which is reviewed by multiple entities. The process may take several weeks to be approved and even longer to ensure that the records are fully expunged. However, any person attempting an expungement should hire an attorney, because expungement is not a right and may even require a hearing. Moreover, any expungement will likely not be granted if you have a pending criminal charge. Below are the different areas and related rules to the expungement of criminal records:

Case Dismissed or Acquittal

If your case has been dismissed or you were acquitted of the charges, expungement can be 60 days after the dismissal or acquittal occurred. KRS §431.076 lays out the basic procedure for expungement and the statute can be found at:


Although most felonies convictions cannot be expunged, the opportunity may be available if the person charged completed a pretrial diversion program (typically first time drug offenders) instead of pleading guilty. Completion of the program results in the charge being listed as “dismissed-diverted." This listing does not constitute a criminal conviction and the charged is not required to list the disposition on most employment and licensing applications. Because of this listing and even though there is no statutory procedure for expungement of the “dismissed-diverted" felony, the Kentucky Court of Appeals has allowed for expungement in Commonwealth v. Shouse, 183 S.W.3d 2004 (Ky. App. 2006).

Misdemeanors & Violations (including traffic offenses)

Most misdemeanors and violations can be expunged except: (1) sex offenses; (2) offenses committed against a child; (3) no prior felony convictions; (4) no other misdemeanor or violation convictions since misdemeanor person seeks to expunge or (4) there is pending felony, misdemeanor, or violation charge against the person. Misdemeanors and violations can file for expungement after 5 years after the completion of a person’s sentence.

It is important to understand that person’s sentence does not end until the time for conditional discharged time has expired (up to two years). Even though you may have completed the conditions prior to the expiration of the conditional discharge time does not mean the discharge time has ended. For example, you are sentenced March 1, 2000 with 2 years conditional discharge time. Thus, you would not be eligible for expungement till March 2007 (2 years conditional discharge time plus 5 year expungement waiting period equals 7 years).

Another item to note is that although traffic offenses stay on your driving history record that is accessible by others for 3 years past, it is still a misdemeanor or violation and will stay on your criminal record until it is expunged. For some, like an applicant for a commercial driver’s license, a reckless driving charge that is still on your criminal record, no matter how long ago, may be detrimental.

Lastly, with a misdemeanor drug charge, a person may be able to get his or her conviction voided and recorded sealed after the successful completion of treatment under Kentucky Revised Statute 218A.275 and 218.276

Juvenile Offenses

Juvenile offenses may be expunged if the offense was adjudicated under chapters 630,635, or 645 of the Kentucky Revised Statute, which includes misdemeanors, violations, status offenses or mental health. If the offense is under chapters 620 or 640, it cannot be expunged, which includes felonies.


The content of legal guide has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or legal opinion and should not be relied upon for individual situations.

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