Thursday, June 5, 2014
How to do an Expungement from Beginning to End (including everything you need to know about Kentucky Expungement Forms)
Today I’m going to go through the actual steps to file an expungement. If one were so inclined to take on the job of doing an expungement -- these are the steps to get it done.
I approach this blog post like a rabid dog – this is only for people who are hell bent on doing an expungement by themselves. As a general rule, you should NOT do an expungement by yourself. You should always get a lawyer.
And as a point of digression I’ve come up with a quick test to see if you should get a lawyer. Ask yourself these questions: Is the job that I want done possibly going to require a court appearance? Is it going to have legal consequenses? If you answered “yes” or "I don't know" to either of the aforementioned questions, you should get a lawyer. Specifically for expungements, the answer to BOTH of those questions would be “yes.” Also, expungements are pretty cheap and they can be done quickly. So there’s no reason not to get a lawyer.
That being said…let’s start our journey into the expungement process.
The steps, generally are 1) background check; 2) research the law; 3) get the forms; and 4) submit/schedule.
The journey begins with a trip to the AOC website. The AOC stands for administrative office of the courts. Not that you’ll need to know that. I’m just showing off.
This is the website to start your expungement:
It says at some point that a background check costs $20, but it’s actually going to cost you $40. Once you order the criminal history, it is sent to Kentucky State Police. KSP will take their sweet time (expect 2-4 weeks) and then the AOC will send you a message saying your criminal history is ready.
The criminal history that you receive will have the word “yes” or “no” written to the side of each charge. This refers to whether the Kentucky State Police agree that the charge is expungeable. It is important to note that the fact that KSP may disagree, does not make them CORRECT. 1) They ain’t the boss of you. 2) Expungement law has some room for interpretation, and different judges read the law differently. 3) The law changes. It changes all the time. Literally every year, laws change. And over the last few years, expungement law has changed drastically.
So before you go to the AOC website for expungement petitions, I would bone up on the law if I was you. You’re going to need to know whether or not you can actually petition for an expungement based on your criminal history and the current law. After all, you don’t want to pay a $100 petition filing fee if your petition is destined to be denied.
Once you’ve done your legal research, visit http://courts.ky.gov/resources/legalforms/Pages/default.aspx and find the petition that you need.
You may need a petition for a conviction or you may need a petition for a dismissal or acquittal, or you may need both. Without looking at your record, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which form you need. But you can check those forms out at
By the way, those aren’t the only forms you’ll need. You want to go ahead and fill out (not completely) a proposed order for the judge to sign, granting your expungement. But that’s a restricted form for Court personnel only – so you’ll want to get that from the courthouse.
Once you’ve researched the law and filled out your forms, it’s time to submit/schedule. It gets a little complicated at this point because every county is different. In some counties, you submit the form without scheduling a court date. The county attorney then reviews the forms to see if they agree, and if so, you get your expungement. If not, they schedule a court date. In other counties, you schedule the court date immediately. Sometimes you serve a copy on the county attorney. Sometimes you don’t. You should check the local rules for your county to make sure you’re going through all court procedure correctly. Find your county and the applicable rules here: http://courts.ky.gov/Pages/localrules.aspx.
Don't forget to submit your criminal history report WITH the petition and the proposed Order.
Also, you’re going to need to know what fee to pay the clerk. It may be $100 or it may be FREE.99. It depends on which type of Petition you intend to file. The clerk should be able to help you out with that. And be very nice to the clerks! They have a pretty stressful job and they can give you a great deal of assistance – so again, be nice to them.
If you end up in front of a judge arguing your own expungement case, I wish you luck and advise you to be respectful. Say “Yes, your honor” or “No, your honor.” If it gets heated, just cry. That helps.
In conclusion, don’t do any of this stuff yourself.
Call a lawyer because getting an expungement done is complicated. Hiring a lawyer for an expungement, on the other hand, is cheap and easy. Call me, Greg Simms, at 502.618.4949 and I will gladly work on your expungement case so you don’t have to.