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Are Criminal Records Public In Kentucky?

The Kentucky Open Records Act makes it legal for interested members of the public to request and obtain Kentucky criminal records. The law defines a public record as any report maintained by a government agency, of which judicial bodies qualify. The Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) serves as the central repository for all criminal records in the state.

What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Kentucky?

A Kentucky criminal record is an official document compiling a person’s criminal history. It includes a formal recording of any charges and convicted offenses gathered from the local, county, and state jurisdictions, as well as state correctional facilities and courts. Typically, a criminal record contains the following information:

  • The name and known aliases of the subject
  • The date of birth
  • The physical description including the race, gender, height, hair color, and eye color
  • Alleged offenses and the type of crimes
  • Pending charges 

How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Kentucky?

The Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) maintains all criminal records in the state. It is possible to obtain Kentucky criminal records online, in person, or by mail. Requesting a copy of a Kentucky criminal record costs $25. Make the payment either by check or money order to the Kentucky State Treasurer. Note that the AOC also accepts debit/credit card payments for walk-in requests. 

To request for a Kentucky criminal record report in person, visit the drive-thru window at the Administrative Office of the Courts, 1001 Vandalay Drive, Frankfort, during business hours. The office is open from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

If requesting by mail, complete the Criminal Record Request Form with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Social Security Number
  • DLN
  • Maiden name
  • Date of birth
  • Address

Mail the completed form and the fee of $25 to:

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

There are two options for persons who want to make online requests for Kentucky criminal records. There are the AOCFastCheck and the One-Time Request portal. 

How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Kentucky?

The Administrative Office of the Courts makes no allowance for getting Kentucky criminal records for free. Obtaining a copy of a Kentucky criminal record costs $25, whether the request is made in person, by mail, or online. Credit card vendors also charge an extra $2 for each transaction made online.

How To Search Criminal Records Online In Kentucky?

The Administrative Office of the Courts provides two portals for online requests of Kentucky criminal records. There are the AOCFastCheck and the One-Time Request portal. The AOCFastCheck allows requesters to order criminal record reports and get the results online after the AOC has processed the request. The One-Time Request, on the other hand, lets interested persons place a single order and get the requested criminal record by U.S. mail.

To use the One-Time Request portal, first register an account. Provide the email address, full name, address, and phone number. The site also requires users to select whether the account is to obtain a background check, get an expungement, for a job application, or as an employee with the Kentucky Court of Justice.

Users of the AOCFastCheck must also provide the requester information and the details of the subject of the criminal record in question. Enter the full name, social security number, date of birth, and address of the subject before submitting the request. As soon as the AOC processes the request and gets the criminal record ready for retrieval, the requester receives an email to that effect.

Each online request on either portal costs $25. Requesters can pay using Discover, American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards, and most debit cards. Note, there is an additional $2 fee when making payments by credit card. 

If there are technical issues while using the website, contact the service desk at 502–573–2350. Users can also contact the AOC Records Unit at 800–928–6381 during business hours if there are questions about the results.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In Kentucky?

By Kentucky expungement law, individuals or ex-offenders may expunge felony convictions, misdemeanors, traffic violations, and dismissed charges from their criminal reports. The following persons are eligible to have Kentucky criminal records expunged:

  • Persons convicted of a misdemeanor or Class D felony
  • Individuals who were acquitted or had the charges dismissed
  • Those who received a pardon from the governor

Under Section 431.073 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, a person convicted of a Class D felony may petition for criminal records expungement five years after successfully completing the sentence, probation, or parole, whichever happens later. The petitioner must convince the court that:

  • Expunging the criminal record is in the interest of the welfare and safety of the public
  • The petitioner’s behavior supports the petition as evidenced by participation in rehabilitative activities in prison 
  • The petitioner has been a law-abiding citizen since the release from prison
  • The expungement is in the interest of justice
  • There are no pending criminal proceedings against the petitioner
  • The petitioner has not previously expunged a felony conviction 
  • There was no felony or misdemeanor conviction within the five years prior to making the petition for expungement

By Section 431.076 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, anyone charged with an offense and who has been acquitted, or had the charges dismissed may be eligible for expungement if:

  • The acquittal or dismissal was not in exchange for a guilty plea to another charge
  • Sixty days have elapsed after the order of acquittal or dismissal with prejudice by the court
  • Three years have passed following the order of dismissal without prejudice if it’s a felony charge
  • One year has passed since the date of the order of dismissal without prejudice if it’s a misdemeanor charge

A person originally charged with a felony at the District Court may also qualify for Kentucky criminal records if:

  • The charges did not result in an indictment by the grand jury
  • The Commonwealth’s attorney did not file an information
  • Six months have passed since the date of the decision of the District Court to hold the matter to the grand jury

For misdemeanor convictions, the petitioner must prove that:

  • The misdemeanor was an offense committed against a child or a sex offense.
  • Five years have passed since the successful completion of the sentence or probation, whichever occurred later.
  • There was no felony or misdemeanor conviction within the five years prior to making the petition for expungement.
  • There are no pending felony or misdemeanor charges against the petitioner.

If qualified for expunction, apply for a certificate of eligibility before filing a petition for expungement with the relevant court. KRS Section 431.079 makes this mandatory. To obtain a certificate of eligibility, petitioners must complete the expungement certification process. The process costs $40 and will take up to 60 days. 

Petitions can obtain an expungement certification online, in person, or by mail. The online process requires registering an account. After registering an account, complete the online request form and submit it along with the $40 payment. Make the payment using Discover, American Express, MasterCard, Visa credit cards, or other debit cards. Once the certification packet is available, log in to the registration site and download it. 

For mail-in requests, complete the Expungement Certification Request Form and mail it along with the $40 check or money order made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer to:

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

The AOC then sends the certification packet by U.S. mail to the address provided. After receiving the packet, file the certification documents along with the expungement petition with the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the charge was originally filed. Note, the expungement certification is valid for only 30 days. Therefore, file the petition for expungement before the certification expires. 

On the application for expungement of criminal records, list all the agencies that may have the records relating to the arrest, charges, or conviction. If the prosecutor objects to the petition, the court fixes a date for a hearing. On the other hand, if the prosecutor makes no objections, the court may decide to issue an order of expungement without a hearing. 

The filing fee for the petition for the expungement of criminal records is $100 if the offense is a misdemeanor and $50 for felonies. If the court grants an order expunging a felony, the petitioner is charged an expungement fee of $250, which the petitioner can pay in installments. The expungement is not final until the petitioner pays the total expungement fee. 

How To Get Criminal Records Sealed In Kentucky?

There is no legal provision for the sealing of Kentucky criminal records. Kentucky law, however, allows eligible persons to petition for criminal record expungement. Expunging the criminal record does not seal the record, but removes and deletes the record. It becomes completely inaccessible to the public.

Who Can See My Expunged/sealed Criminal Record In Kentucky?

If the court grants an order to expunge a Kentucky criminal record, the court and all agencies having copies of the record delete them from the computer systems. The subject of the record is also permitted to withhold the fact of the record’s existence when applying for employment, credit, or other applications. 

Despite this, KRS Section 431.073 permits the prosecutor’s office to retain a nonpublic copy of the expunged Kentucky criminal record for law enforcement purposes only. This, however, applies to only expunged felony convictions.

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