November 2, 2023 | Criminal Law
If you’ve found yourself involved in a criminal matter in Louisville, Kentucky, understanding the concept and process of expungement is crucial. In essence, an expungement gives you the chance to essentially “reset” your criminal history, allowing for positive life changes like seeking employment or housing without worries over background checks.
It’s also critical to understand that working with an experienced lawyer should be your top priority when considering applying for expungement. This process isn’t always clear-cut and can involve intricate procedures along with procedural deadlines, which are hard for a non-expert to navigate alone.
What Is an Expungement?
Expungement is the legal process where certain information from your criminal record—like records of an arrest, charges, pleas, or convictions—are eliminated. Upon successful execution of this process, pertinent details about your past criminal actions do not show up when background checks are run.
Traces of Your Charges May Linger
It’s worth noting that expungements aren’t foolproof. Despite an expungement being granted by a court authority, traces of a defendant’s previous offenses may linger, like on online platforms and websites showcasing mugshots or electronic newspaper articles.
In such circumstances, you can approach these website administrators privately to solicit the removal or deletion of the information they’re displaying regarding those incidents.
In the area of expungements, there exists a process known as “automatic expungement,” which refers to the process initiated by law enforcement agencies without requiring any action from you.
If your case was dismissed with prejudice or if you were acquitted on or after July 15, 2020, these records will be automatically erased after a period of thirty days, with the exception of traffic cases.
As for felony expungements, it becomes a little more complicated. Class D felonies ― the lower tier of felony offenses―do qualify for potential expungement as long as you haven’t been convicted of a sex crime or a crime involving a child. These convictions usually relate to drug or theft crimes.
According to Kentucky’s legal specifications under KRS 431.073, an involved person can file an application requesting their conviction to be vacated and consequently expunged.
If the court grants your application in such instances, they vacate the judgments that were held against you and dismiss the charges, and they will no longer show up on your criminal record.
Waiting Period for Felony Expungements
When it comes to expunging a felony, there’s often a required waiting period before you can apply. Any application for the expungement of Class D felonies cannot be filed until at least five years have passed.
This waiting period commences from either the successful completion of your sentence or the successful completion of probation/parole conditions – whichever happens later.
Bear in mind that all penalties and orders imposed by the court should also be satisfied in full within those five years before making an application. Only after these requirements are met does your case stand a chance for expungement.
Benefits of Expungements
Expungement offers several very tangible benefits:
More and Better Job Opportunities:
Most employers conduct background checks before hiring employees. A criminal record often results in limited work opportunities or lower starting pay rates if it’s viewed unfavorably. This is where an expungement can change everything; with clean records, you may find yourself with more and better job opportunities.
Increased Housing Options
Landlords, like employers, often run background checks on prospective tenants. A criminal history might cause a landlord to deny your rental application. With expunged records, you are likely to be granted access to more housing options that may have been beyond your reach before.
Reduce the Stigma of Having a Criminal Record
Society, at times, has a very particular way of treating individuals with criminal records, and it’s usually not good. This can cause significant stress and provide barriers to reintegration into community life. When your record is expunged, it can get rid of this stigma and afford you another chance at a “normal” social life.
Need Help With an Expungement? Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm
If you have any questions or need help with an expungement application, we’re here for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.