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What are Kentucky Juvenile Court Records?

In Kentucky, the juvenile court system is a section of the family court, under the circuit court, which handles legal matters involving individuals below 18 years. The Department of Juvenile Justice, together with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, oversees legal disciplinary actions against juvenile offenders in Kentucky. Also, the Kentucky Unified Juvenile Code (Title LI of the 2019 Kentucky Revised Statutes) regulates the operations of the juvenile court system and all other juvenile-related governmental agencies. The Office of the Circuit Court Clerk maintains juvenile records.

What Information is Contained in a Kentucky Juvenile Record?

A juvenile court record contains relevant details of the legal procedures or disciplinary action involving persons below 18. These include the processes from the arrest to the filing of petitions, the transfer hearing, the trial, and the disposition. Juvenile court records are confidential information under Kentucky’s Public Record Act, and unless exempted by law, no section of a juvenile file is obtainable except by authorized persons. Eligible parties include the juvenile addressed in the record, the parents or guardian of the juvenile, and individuals with a court order. Qualified persons can access court records in person and must present a form of valid identification. Under Section 320 of Chapter 610 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, so far the juvenile’s identity and parents are not revealed, the court proceeding of the juvenile case can be open for viewing.

What Cases are Heard by Kentucky Juvenile Courts?

The juvenile court has jurisdiction over lawsuits involving individuals under the age of 18, according to KY Rev Stat § 610.010. The cases heard by the juvenile court include cases of dependency, neglect or abuse, truancy, beyond control juveniles, paternity, and juvenile criminal cases.

Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Kentucky?

Juvenile records are confidential information and protected from public view by the Kentucky Public Records Act. Persons authorized to view a juvenile record are:

  • The individual involved in the case detailed in a document.
  • The parents or guardian of the juvenile.
  • The staff of the Cabinet for Health Family Services and the Department of Juvenile Justice, carrying out an official duty.
  • Parties with a court order.

Juvenile court records can only be accessed in person, and identification is required to prove eligibility.

The provisions of KY Rev Stats § 610.320 give the public partial access to juvenile records in which the juvenile offender is 14 years or older when committing an offense, and the crime will be considered a capital crime or a Class A, B, or C felony if an adult commits such or the crime involved the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon. For juvenile cases of this type, the court clerk creates a special record that contains limited information on the issue, such as the petitions in the case, the adjudication order, and the disposition of the case.

How to Find Juvenile Records in Kentucky

Juvenile court records in Kentucky maintained by the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk are obtainable only through a physical visit to the office. Requestors for juvenile court record must be one of the persons authorized by law to view the files. These include the juvenile in question, the parents or guardian of the juvenile, employees of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or the Department of Juvenile Justice on an official business, and other persons authorized by the court. Identification is required to verify eligibility.

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 person resides in or was accused in.

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

Can You Lookup Kentucky Juvenile Records Online?

No, Kentucky juvenile records are only accessible through a physical visit to the Office of the Circuit Court Clerk. This is due to the confidentiality imposed on juvenile records under the Kentucky Public Records Act.

Do Kentucky Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?

No, juvenile records are not public information and will not show up in a background check. The information on persons guilty of delinquent offenses is protected under the Kentucky Public Records Act. If certain circumstances surround a case, the court can create a special record containing limited information on the legal action. The special record is a public record and will show up in a background check.

How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Kentucky?

Juvenile files in Kentucky are maintained for many years, even if the juvenile in the case has reached adulthood until a motion for expungement is filed. According to KY Rev Stat § 610.330, the court does not allow expungement for juvenile records with sex offenses or violent crime convictions. To file for expungement at the court, the petitioner can be the child, the probation officer, a staff of the Department of Juvenile Justice, or a representative of the Cabinet for Health Family Services. If the court accepts the expungement application, then the record will be expunged, and all traces of it deleted. A petition for expungement can be filed no sooner than two years after completing the sentence or the termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the juvenile offender.

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