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What Are Kentucky Traffic Court Records?

Kentucky traffic records refer to all legal documents and case files generated as part of the report of events and in-court proceedings related to moving and non-moving violations under the motor vehicle code of Kentucky.

Are Kentucky Traffic Court Records Public Records?

Kentucky traffic court records are regarded as public records and are available to members of the public under the public access to information law. Consequently, any member of the public can request to view all traffic records. The only exceptions to this are records that have been restricted by law or court order.

Getting a Traffic Ticket in Kentucky

A Uniform Citation ticket is an official long-form document issued for traffic violations within the state of Kentucky, and a law enforcement officer issues it. It is an attestation of the violations as observed by the officer. The officer may complete the various sections of the ticket before giving it to the offender. The officer may fill in the:

  • The offender/Violator section which may contain the offender's full name, date of birth, address, and other pertinent bio-data. Information about the offender's license may also be included here.
  • The Vehicle section may contain all pertinent details about the vehicle in question and denote the speed recorded if it is a speeding ticket.
  • Date/Time section, which may note the date, time, and location of the incident, including the city or county.
  • Charge section, which may outline the charge with the violation code and the statute/ordinance section being violated.
  • Court section, which may specify the court date, time and location. It may also indicate if the ticket is "payable", which means it can be paid without a court appearance or if a court appearance may be required to resolve the ticket. If the ticket is payable, the total fine amount may be listed here. If not, then you are required to appear in court.
  • Case section, which may list all witnesses (if any) and addresses. The officer may include his agency, badge ID and signature. The back of the ticket may contain information about responding to the ticket.

Traffic fines in Kentucky vary by violation but are typically uniform across the state. If the cited offense can be paid before the court date, i.e., it is pre-payable, then the exact amount may be noted on the ticket. Penalties for traffic violations can include added fines, points on your driving record, license suspension/revocation, and even jail time. Kentucky employs a points system to monitor driving behavior and discourage dangerous driving. Convictions for traffic violations are reported to the Kentucky Department of Driver Licensing (DDL), and accumulating up to 12 points in 2 years may cause your license to be suspended. Points from traffic violations may stay on your record for 2 years.

Kentucky traffic violations are divided into moving and non-moving violations. Moving violations are more serious or major offenses committed by a vehicle while in motion. Non-moving violations are less serious or minor offenses generally committed when a vehicle is parked or associated with faulty vehicle equipment.

What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Kentucky?

Upon receipt of a traffic ticket in Kentucky, you may:

  • Choose to pay the traffic ticket (Guilty Plea)
  • Choose to contest the ticket (Not Guilty Plea)

Either action may be taken by the court appearance date indicated on the ticket, or there may be added consequences, including late fees, license suspension, and even a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

If you choose to pay the ticket, this may be taken as a Guilty plea by the court and an acknowledgment of all charges against you. If the offense does not require a court appearance, the ticket may be marked payable, and a fine amount may be listed. You can pre-pay the fines rather than wait for the court date. Fine can be paid online through the Kentucky court website (not available in all locations) and may be made at least 3 days before your court appearance date.

  • By Mail: Send the total amount listed on the ticket, with a copy of the citation to the court address listed on the back of the citation.
  • In-Person: By visiting the court clerk's office of the listed court and making payment in person.
  • The total fine amount should be received before the scheduled court appearance to avoid additional penalties.

If the offense requires a court appearance, the ticket may be marked "court, "and there may be no fine amount listed. You may need to show up in court on your scheduled date if this is the case. You may be arraigned on your court date, where you may enter a plea and receive your sentence, which may include the fine for the violation and any other penalty given by the judge. The conviction may be reported to the Kentucky DDL and points may accrue on your record.

Contesting a Traffic Ticket in Kentucky

If you choose to contest the ticket, you can appear on your court date to enter your plea before the court. After your arraignment, a date may be scheduled for your trial, and you may have the chance to make your case (as may the prosecutor), after which the judge may render judgment. If you are found "Not Guilty" then all charges are dismissed, and fines are voided. There may be no report to the Kentucky DDL and no points may be added to your driving record. You may still cover Court fees. If you are found "Guilty", then you may be liable for the total fine and any additional penalties set by the judge. A record of the conviction may be sent to the DDL, which may result in points being added to your driving record, and you may still be required to cover Court fees.

If you may be unavailable on the court date and are unable to pre-pay the fine, you must inform the court, or you may face added penalties.

How Do I find Kentucky Traffic Court Records?

Traffic court records in Kentucky are available at the court clerk's office where the records are stored, i.e., where the case was heard. Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties may be required to provide:

  • The name of someone involved, providing it is not a juvenile
  • The assumed location of the record in question, such as a city, county, or state name

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

What Information is required to Obtain Kentucky Traffic Court Records?

To obtain a traffic court record in Kentucky, you may need to provide details about the record, including the defendant's full name, date of birth, and case file number. You may also need to provide a valid ID when making the request. You may also be liable for court costs, especially if you require copies of the records.

Are all Traffic Violations Handled The Same Way in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, traffic violations are usually processed similarly, irrespective of the type of violation. Fines and penalties for violations may be different and based on existing laws and statutes governing the violation. The processes involved in responding to a citation and the ensuing procedures may be similar. However, if you are arrested at the incident scene, there may be a bond hearing to decide your bail.

Can Kentucky Traffic Records be Sealed or Expunged?

Arrest records may be expunged if:

  • The charges were dismissed with prejudice
  • The grand jury did not indict the motorist
  • The motorist was found not guilty of the offense.

In cases where individuals are convicted of misdemeanor violations or traffic infractions, records may be expunged 5 years after completion of the sentence provided:

  • The subject has not been convicted of a felony in the 5 years
  • No criminal proceedings are pending against the subject
  • The offense was not committed against a minor

Kentucky law requires that every petition for expungement include a certificate of eligibility from the Kentucky State Police unless the case is dismissed.

How Does One End Up in a Kentucky Traffic Court?

In Kentucky, you end up in traffic court if you receive a ticket for a traffic violation from a law enforcement officer. You can also end up in traffic court if the ticket is marked "Payable", but you wish to exercise your right to contest the ticket.

Which Courts in Kentucky Have Jurisdiction to Hear Traffic Violation Matters?

Kentucky traffic violations and infractions are heard in the District Court of the location of the offense. Appeals for traffic violation cases are heard in Circuit court.

How to Prepare for Traffic Court in Kentucky

To prepare for the Traffic Court in Kentucky, begin by reviewing the Kentucky Revised Statutes governing traffic offenses. Each county in Kentucky may have its procedures for traffic court. For instance, in Jefferson County, you may have the option to participate in a traffic school program to have your citation dismissed or reduced. Additionally, Kentucky offers a driver improvement program that allows drivers to reduce points on their driving record by completing a defensive driving course. Thus, it is worth exploring all available options and getting prepared to present your case effectively in court.

Kentucky Traffic Court Records
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