In Kentucky, you may be able to have your juvenile court record expunged or sealed, depending on the circumstances of your case. If you were adjudicated delinquent, your records may qualify for expungement. If you were the subject of a hearing for dependency, neglect, or abuse, they may be sealed. Practically speaking, either course of action -- expungement or sealing -- has the same effect on your records: They will be kept strictly confidential and no one will be able to view them unless you officially request it. If your record is expunged or sealed, it is treated as though it never existed. You are not required to disclose information about your expunged or sealed juvenile case to anyone.
Does Your Juvenile Record Qualify for Expungement?
You may ask a court to expunge your juvenile court record if you were adjudicated as a status offender or as a public offender with only a misdemeanor record and:
- you were not found guilty of an offense that would have been classified a felony if it were committed by an adult
- at least two years have passed since the end of your juvenile case -- that is, the end of court supervision or your unconditional release from commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or a public or private agency, and
- since the end of your juvenile case, you have not been convicted of a felony or adjudicated delinquent in another case, and no such proceedings are pending against you.
The court may waive the two-year waiting period if you can show that extraordinary circumstances apply in your case.
(Kentucky Statutes § 610.330.)
Does Your Juvenile Record Qualify for Sealing?
If you were the subject of an action for dependency, neglect, or abuse, you may ask a court to seal the related record after you turn eighteen. The court will seal the record unless it finds good cause not to do so.
(Kentucky Statutes § 620.160.)
How to File
You must file a petition for expungement with the court that handled your juvenile case. Contact the court clerk for more information and for the necessary papers.
Getting Legal Help
Clearing a juvenile record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for expungement or sealing in Kentucky -- or for help completing the necessary paperwork -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.