The Kentucky Legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill creating a new section of KRS Chapter 140 dealing with felony expungement. Starting July 15, 2016, certain felonies can be cleared from your record in Kentucky. A list of the felonies that can be expunged is long and some of the felonies are obscure. But it's a start. The Legislature has debated felony expungement for years, but did not act. Realizing now that employers, and potential businesses locating in Kentucky, may have a difficult time filling jobs as potential qualified employees are eliminated with the continuing criminalization of the Commonwealth. Some of the more common crimes now eligible for expungement are: assistance program fraud, forgery of a prescription, possession of a controlled substance in the first, second and third degrees, marijuana cultivation, burglary third degree, criminal mischief first degree and various theft offenses. Some of the more obscure and seldom charged felonies that can be expunged are: unlawful use of the DNA database identification system, trafficking in a dietary supplement, filing an illegal lien, operating a sham or front company and bigamy.
Misdemeanor expungement has been available in Kentucky for some time but relief from a felony conviction has only been available by a pardon from the Governor. If you've been convicted of a felony and have not committed a crime in the five years since you completed your sentence or successfully completed probation, you may qualify for felony expungement. The new felony expungement rules do not apply to sex offenders and most violent offenders. However, if you've committed an economic crime, such a theft, or a drug crime such as possession of a drug classified as a felony, you can take advantage of the new law. If you've been granted a pardon by a Kentucky Governor, which does NOT erase your criminal record, you are also now eligible for expungement. If you are eligible and your record is expunged, it is as if the crime never occurred. It is not an easy or fast process. In addition, it is not automatic. Discretion rests in the power of the Circuit Judge. If the Court grants felony expungement and dismisses your felony charge or charges, you do not have to reveal it on job applications.
Call me at 270-442-9268 or email [email protected] to determine if you are eligible for felony expungement.