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Kentucky Criminal Records

Kentucky Criminal Records are an essential resource for law enforcement agencies, attorneys, employers, and other entities in the state. These records provide a comprehensive history of an individual's criminal background, including arrests, convictions, and associated penalties or fines.

Individuals who obtain a Kentucky Criminal Record can anticipate the following information:

  • The subject's complete identity, including any aliases
  • Their date of birth
  • Current and former addresses
  • A subject's photograph or mugshot and unique physical identifier information
  • A set of fingerprints
  • Past, recent, and pending warrants, arrests, and indictments
  • History of convictions and confinement
  • Post-conviction status

The Kentucky Open Records Act governs the public's access to criminal records in the state. According to this law, criminal records are considered public records and are available for inspection and copying by any member of the public unless otherwise exempted by law.

Criminal records in Kentucky are crucial in various contexts, including background checks for employment or housing, investigations of suspected illegal activity, and court proceedings.

Law enforcement agencies use criminal records to track individuals' criminal histories, identify suspects, and solve crimes. Attorneys use criminal records to prepare cases and argue in court, while employers use them to make informed hiring decisions.

However, it's worth noting that not all criminal records are available to the public. Some records may be restricted or sealed by court order or state law, particularly those related to juvenile offenses or expunged convictions.

What Are the Types of Crimes in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, various criminal offenses are categorized into different types based on the offense's nature and severity.

These offenses can range from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies, each carrying a different legal punishment.

Here's an overview of the types of crimes in Kentucky:


The most severe criminal offenses usually result in felony charges. A felony is a crime that carries a punishment of at least one year in prison, and in extreme cases, a life sentence may be imposed.

In Kentucky, as in many other states, felonies are classified into categories, each with its corresponding penalty.

The most severe category is capital offenses, while Class A represents the most serious punishment for the remaining felony classes, with Class D being the least.

Capital Offenses

Capital offenses in Kentucky are the gravest felonies and carry the harshest penalties. These crimes include kidnapping and murder. The punishment for a capital offense is either the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Class A Felonies

In Kentucky, a Class A felony is one of the most severe types of felony offenses. This category includes first-degree rape when the victim is younger than 12 and first-degree arson. The punishment for this felony class is imprisonment for no less than 20 years and no more than 50 years or life imprisonment.

Class B Felonies

First-degree assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree robbery, and child sex trafficking are all examples of Class B felonies in Kentucky. An individual guilty of a Class B felony in Kentucky may face a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years.

Class C Felonies

A Class C felony conviction in Kentucky could lead to a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years. Class C felonies include over $10,000 in theft by extortion, second-degree manslaughter, and first-degree strangulation.

Class D Felonies

Lastly, Class D felonies in Kentucky carry a prison sentence of one to five years. Felony bail jumping and stalking against a protective order are Class D felonies in Kentucky.

Apart from prison terms, those convicted of felonies in Kentucky must pay a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 or twice the amount of money gained from the crime, whichever is greater.


In Kentucky, misdemeanors are considered less serious criminal offenses than felonies, but they can still have significant legal consequences. The maximum penalties for misdemeanors are a $500 fine and one year in jail.

Kentucky classifies misdemeanors into two categories: Class A and Class B.

Class A Misdemeanors

Kentucky law considers Class A misdemeanors to be more severe than Class B misdemeanors, and offenders may face up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $500. Some of the offenses that fall under this category are as follows:

  • Resisting arrest
  • Third-degree forgery
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Promoting prostitution
  • Rioting
  • Wanton endangerment
  • Theft by unlawful taking (property valued at less than $500)
  • A second DUI-related license suspension within five years

Class B Misdemeanors     

Kentucky categorizes Class B misdemeanors as less serious offenses with a maximum prison sentence of three months, a fine of up to $250, or both. Examples of crimes under this category include:

  • Public intoxication
  • Menacing
  • Prostitution
  • Harassment
  • First-offense DUI
  • Second-degree criminal trespass

Kentucky law provides enhanced felony penalties for certain misdemeanors. Offenses such as indecent exposure, family assault, third-degree criminal gang recruitment, and minors with handguns can be elevated to a Class D felony upon subsequent convictions within a specified time frame, usually 5 or 10 years.

It means that individuals with prior misdemeanor convictions for these offenses may face harsher legal consequences if they are charged and convicted again.

How Does Probation Work in Kentucky?

Probation is a sentencing alternative to incarceration that allows offenders to serve their sentences in the community under certain conditions. It's an opportunity for individuals to receive supervision and guidance while maintaining their everyday life.

In Kentucky, not everyone is eligible for probation. Generally, people convicted of non-violent offenses and with a low risk of reoffending are considered eligible for probation. However, those convicted of certain crimes, such as capital offenses, Class A felonies involving a deadly weapon, or sex offenses, are not eligible for probation.

When placed on probation in Kentucky, offenders must comply with specific conditions set forth by the court. These conditions include regular meetings with a probation officer, drug or alcohol treatment, community service, or other rehabilitative measures. The primary goal of probation is to help offenders reintegrate into society and avoid committing future crimes.

The Division of Probation and Parole (DPP) of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) supervises probation in the state. They monitor offenders' progress and ensure they comply with their probation conditions.

If an offender violates the terms of their probation, they may be subject to additional penalties or even revocation of their probation. If authorities revoke probation, they may require the offender to serve their original sentence in jail or prison.

The length of probation in Kentucky depends on the Kentucky Criminal Records. Generally, the maximum term of probation for a misdemeanor is two years, while a felony has five years.

If the probationer violates the terms of their probation, the court may extend or revoke their probation at any time.

How Does Parole Work in Kentucky?

Kentucky parole is a form of early release from prison that permits offenders to complete their sentences in the community under supervision. The Kentucky Parole Board (KPB), a group of nine members appointed by the governor, governs the parole process in Kentucky.

In Kentucky, prisoners can be eligible for parole after serving 15% of their sentence, except for sex offenders who must complete a treatment program and violent crime convicts who must serve 85% before being considered.

When an inmate becomes eligible for parole, the KDOC notifies the KPB. The Board then holds a hearing to decide whether to grant the inmate parole.

The Board considers various factors when deciding, including the inmate's criminal history, the seriousness of the offense, their behavior while in prison, and their plans for release. They also consider statements from the victim, the prosecutor, and the judge who sentenced the inmate.

If the Board decides to grant parole, the inmate will be released from prison and placed under the supervision of a parole officer. The officer will work with the inmate to develop a plan for reentry into the community, including finding employment, attending treatment programs, and complying with special parole conditions.

However, if the Board decides not to grant parole, the inmate must wait a certain period before becoming eligible for another hearing. This time varies depending on the length of the inmate's sentence.

It's important to note that parole is not guaranteed and is a privilege, not a right. Inmates must demonstrate that they can live in the community without harming society. If they violate the conditions of their parole, they may be returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence.

How Does Expungement Work in Kentucky?

Expungement is the legal process of removing an arrest, charge, or conviction from a person's record. Failure to request expungement in Kentucky can negatively impact job opportunities, education, and government assistance programs.

The Clean Slate Kentucky (CSK) of the Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) offers resources to help individuals expunge their Kentucky Criminal Records. It provides guidance on eligibility, the application process, and training sessions to assist with expungement.

Expungement Eligibility in Kentucky

Generally, if an individual has a dismissed charge or the grand jury did not indict them, they are eligible for expungement in Kentucky. No certificate of eligibility or filing fee is necessary for this eligibility. The expungement requirements for these situations are as follows:

  • Individuals in Kentucky who have been acquitted or had their case dismissed with prejudice after July 2020 will have their expungement processed automatically. Individuals may file for it 60 days after the dismissal or acquittal if the court does not grant the automatic expungement.
  • Individuals charged with a misdemeanor for dismissal without prejudice are eligible for expungement after one year, and those accused of a felony are eligible after three years.
  • A person charged with a felony in District Court and not indicted within six months may also file for expungement.

Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor in Kentucky can apply for expungement of an unlimited number of charges. However, there is a waiting period of five years after completing their sentence before becoming eligible for expungement.

If an enhancement period is in effect, individuals are ineligible for expungement in Kentucky until the period ends. For instance, the enhancement period for DUI offenses is ten years, which means that individuals cannot petition for expungement until ten years have passed.

Individuals convicted of a Class D felony in Kentucky may be eligible for expungement. Like Kentucky misdemeanor expungement, Class D felonies have a five-year eligibility period.

For the complete lists of eligible Class D felonies, refer to pages 4-5 of the CSK Quick-Reference Guidebook. Under certain circumstances, individuals may be able to have more than one Class D felony expunged from their record, depending on the specific laws and regulations.

Expungement Process in Kentucky

When an individual seeks expungement of their criminal record, they must follow a series of steps. Obtaining a certificate of eligibility is the initial step for individuals seeking conviction expungement.

After obtaining the certificate, the individual must file it along with their expungement petition in the appropriate court or the court that filed the case.

It is essential to use the correct Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) form when filing for expungement.

To request expungement, individuals must use the appropriate form depending on the type of conviction. Misdemeanor expungement requires the misdemeanor expungement form, while felony expungement requires the felony expungement form.

Individuals must file the AOC-497.2 form in the court that filed the charge for acquittal, dismissal, or failure to indict expungement.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in Kentucky

The Kentucky Court of Justice (KCOJ) makes criminal records available to interested parties through background checks. Through KCOJ, there are generally three methods to obtain a criminal record. These include inquiries made online, in person, and through the mail.

Online access to Kentucky Criminal Records, the quickest of the three options, requires using the FastCheck portal. To use this portal, one must first create an account. The requester can then conduct a name-based background check for criminal records.

Each search incurs a non-refundable, credit card-only fee. Aside from that, the payment processor will assess a transaction processing fee. The portal will process the request as soon as it arrives, but the criminal record may not be accessible for several hours. Once available, one can print the inquiry result from the FastCheck portal.

Another option to request a criminal record in Kentucky is visiting the AOC during business hours. Each request costs a significant fee payable with a debit or credit card or check or money order made to Kentucky State Treasurer. Most in-person requestors receive their criminal records on the same day.

In the meantime, those requesting criminal records by mail in Kentucky must fill out the appropriate form. Then, the requester must include a money order or check as payment. After that, the applicant must enclose the application packet in a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope and send it to the mailing address specified in the form.

When requesting a criminal record by mail, it can typically take up to three weeks to receive the document. As a result, mail-in requests are more appropriate for routine background checks that are not time-sensitive.

In addition to the three methods mentioned above, the Kentucky State Police (KSP) administers background checks for licensing, criminal justice, and employment purposes.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, employers can legally conduct criminal background checks on prospective employees as a part of the hiring process. However, the screening procedure must be fair and legal to satisfy state and federal standards.

In February 2017, Kentucky passed the Fair Chance Employment Initiative, commonly called the Ban the Box law. Under this law, employers must not ask about Kentucky Criminal Records on the first page of the application or during an initial interview. Instead, the employer must wait until after the initial screening process before asking about an applicant's criminal history.

If an employer wishes to conduct a criminal background check, they must first obtain written consent from the applicant as per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

After receiving written consent from the candidate, they may conduct a criminal background check. However, they must comply with specific requirements outlined by the FCRA. For example, they must ensure that the information acquired is correct and up-to-date and give the applicant a copy of the report if adverse action is taken based on the report.

Moreover, Kentucky's House Bill 47 permits individuals to expunge specific convictions, and employers or businesses must not consider expunged convictions during the hiring process or for other purposes.

Lastly, though certain criminal convictions may be grounds for denying employment, employers are encouraged to consider the nature of the offense, the time since the crime occurred, and the applicant's rehabilitation efforts before making a decision.


Counties in Kentucky

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Kentucky

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office531 Court Pl, Louisville, KY
Fayette County Sheriff's Office150 N. Limestone, Lexington, KY
Kenton County Sheriff's Office1840 Simon Kenton Way, Covington, KY
Boone County Sheriff's Office3000 Conrad Lane, Burlington, KY
Warren County Sheriff's Office429 E 10th Ave, Bowling Green, KY
Hardin County Sheriff's Office150 N Provident Way, Elizabethtown, KY
Daviess County Sheriff's Office212 St. Ann Street, Owensboro, KY
Campbell County Sheriff's Office1098 Monmouth St, Newport, KY
Madison County Sheriff's Office135 W Irvine St, Richmond, KY
Bullitt County Sheriff's Office300 Buckman St, Shepherdsville, KY