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What are Kentucky Criminal Court Records?

Kentucky Criminal Court records are court documents detailing the proceedings of criminal case hearings and trials in state courts in the Commonwealth. In addition to dockets and case files, these records include transcripts, orders, summons, petitions, and assessments/evaluations. It is possible to find some Kentucky Criminal Court records online. Members of the public can also view and obtain them from the offices of Kentucky court clerks.

What is Included in a Kentucky Criminal Court Record?

The contents of a Kentucky criminal court record vary with the case and the judicial district where they are created. In most cases, it will provide an official account of a criminal court hearing as well as pre-trial processes like warrant issuance and arrest. The details featured typically include:

  • The personal information of the plaintiff and defendant: including their full name, birth date, address, social security information, etc. 
  • Case details: the case number, arrest date, charges filed against the individual, the arresting agency
  • Details of the judicial proceeding: court hearing/appearance dates, courtroom number, names of the judge and attorneys involved
  • Judicial documents: including complaints, indictments, motions, etc.
  • Dispositions: details of the case outcome - whether or not the defendant was found guilty or the case was dismissed
  • Sentencing, probation, and parole information: Details of any fines, probation, jail/prison sentences as well as probation and parole if applicable
  • Kentucky Arrest Records and warrants: this includes details of any outstanding Kentucky Warrants or previous arrests

Structure of the Kentucky Criminal Court System

Kentucky does not have a separate criminal court. Rather, criminal cases filed in the Commonwealth are heard in its District and Circuit Courts. These are trial courts of general jurisdiction. In Kentucky, the Circuit Court is higher than the District Court. The state’s Circuit Courts hear all felony cases while its District Courts have jurisdiction over criminal cases qualifying as misdemeanors. Appeals of criminal cases tried in the District and Circuit Courts go to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. However, the Supreme Court handles appeals of lower court rulings imposing jail terms of 20 years or longer, life imprisonment, and the death penalty. The Supreme Court of Kentucky is the highest court in the Commonwealth and the final interpreter of state law.

On the other hand, federal crimes in Kentucky fall under the jurisdiction of two United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Kentucky and the Western District of Kentucky.

Are Kentucky Criminal Court Records Accessible by the Public?

Yes. Criminal Court records in Kentucky are public records. Generally, the proceedings and records of criminal cases are presumptively open. Members of the public can attend criminal case proceedings and hearings as well as view and copy records of these trials. While Criminal Court judges may seal case files, this is rarely the case in Kentucky. In addition to the records of trial courts, the state also makes appellate proceedings and records public. Therefore, members of the public can access dockets and files of criminal cases appealed to the state’s Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

How to Access Criminal Court Records in Kentucky

The public can access Kentucky Criminal Court records in a variety of ways, including online and in-person. Record seekers can view criminal case files online by visiting the CourtNet 2.0 portal of the Kentucky Court of Justice website. Searches typically require a case number, name of one party involved in the trial, or a citation number. Results can also be filtered by selecting Criminal from the Case Category menu and choosing a county.

The CourtNet 2.0 search index only provides access to limited case information. It may also be useful for looking up docket information on misdemeanor and felony criminal cases held in Kentucky. This database can provide records of misdemeanor cases for at least the last five years and records of felony cases from 1978 to date.

For full access to case files, members of the public can visit the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the case was heard. Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks are responsible for maintaining the records of both District and Circuit Courts. The Kentucky Judicial Directory provides a listing of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all Circuit Clerks in the Commonwealth.

Circuit Clerk Offices typically have public access terminals where court records can be viewed. Access from these computer terminals is free. Records accessible from these terminals have more details and include more files than those found online on CourtNet 2.0. To inspect paper copies of criminal case records, requesters may need to contact the staff of the Circuit Clerk’s Office with their request. They can also help locate archived records stored off-site and those recorded on microfilm.

Publicly available records may also be accessible from some third-party websites. Operating as a standalone entity without connections to any state government agency, these websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific record or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide the following information:

  • Name of a party involved in the case as long as it is a not a juvenile
  • Assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name

Note that third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.

Requesting Copies of Kentucky Criminal Court Records

Anyone can request copies of Kentucky Criminal Court records from Circuit Clerks in the various counties of the Commonwealth. First, check the Kentucky Judicial Directory to look up the contact information of the Circuit Clerk in the county where the case was filed. Call the Clerk’s Office to inquire about the availability of the records and other requirements for obtaining copies of these records. Calling ahead gives the Clerk ample time to search for and prepare those records. It takes time to locate records stored in the archive.

Other information to ask when calling a Kentucky Circuit Court Clerk’s Office to obtain criminal case records include:

  • Fees for copies of court records
  • Additional documents required
  • Business hours, if submitting a request in person
  • Mailing address, if submitting a mail request

Circuit Clerk’s Offices may provide plain (regular photocopy) and certified copies of court records and charge differently for them. Cash is usually accepted for payment when requesting copies of court records in person. Checks and money orders are acceptable for mail requests.

How Do I Request Criminal History Records in Kentucky?

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) provides criminal record reports for Kentucky. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies can submit requests for these reports. The AOC charges $25 for each request for criminal history records. The criminal records provided by the AOC comes from CourtNet 2.0 and does not include arrest records or inmate records.

The AOC allows the public to request/order criminal history reports online, in person, and by mail.

To request a Kentucky criminal history report in person, come to the drive-thru window of the AOC located at:

Administrative Office of the Courts
Records Unit
1001 Vandalay Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601

This location opens to the public from Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The AOC accepts the $25 fee for each report in cash, credit/debit cards, as well as check or money order, made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer.

To submit a mail request for a Kentucky criminal history report, requesters may need to download, print, and fill out a Criminal Record Request Form. Requests may also need to be sent along with a check or money order, for copy fees, made out to the Kentucky State Treasurer to the AOC address listed above.

Kentucky Criminal Court Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!