A fresh start is available to more people this year with the passing of Senate Bill 57, which expands the list of expungable Class D felony convictions and lowers the costs associated with felony expungements. While a person can still only expunge one lifetime Class D felony conviction, there is an exception or loophole that allows a person to expunge a second lifetime Class D felony, but only if they expunged the first Class D felony conviction prior to June 27, 2019. In addition to the specific list of eligible Class D felony convictions found in KRS § 431.073, the new law expands that list and now allows for most other Class D felony convictions and felony offenses prior to January 1, 1975 that carried sentence of not more than five years, to be eligible for expungement with some exceptions. The newly eligible Class D felonies cannot be sexual based offenses, offenses against a child, or offenses that caused serious bodily injury or death. Felony driving under the influence, felony assault in the 4th degree, impersonating a peace office, or abuse of public office are also not eligible for expungement under this expansion. Individuals seeking expungement for the eligible expanded Class D convictions and offenses have a longer application to complete, and must appear at a hearing where they may be required to show proof of how they have been rehabilitated and how an expungement would make a difference in their life.
Expungements have also become more affordable, as no certificate of eligibility is needed for charges that were dismissed without prejudice by the Court. However, for all convictions, a certificate of eligibility is still required and the certificate costs $40. The cost for Class D felony expungements is now less, as you only have to pay $50 at the time of filing the petition for a felony expungement and an additional $250 when the expungement is granted by the Court. The $250 fee is payable through an installment plan, but the conviction will not be expunged until the fee is paid in full.
Medicaid Managed Care providers are also offering some assistance in paying the fees for expungements. Recently, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass has worked out an agreement with Anthem to have easily accessible funds from Anthem pay up to $540 of expungement fees for individuals whom have Anthem Kentucky Medicaid coverage. Kentucky Humana Medicaid members can request that Humana provide reimbursement of up to $300 for felony expungement filing fees.
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass also partners with organizations, such as Goodwill Industries, to offer screenings and advice at expungement clinics throughout our service area. Goodwill Industries, as well as some other non-profit organizations, often provide financial assistance to obtain certificates of eligibility. People interested in finding out if they may qualify for an expungement can always contact Legal Aid of the Bluegrass to request assistance. It is never too late to get a fresh start, and Legal Aid of the Bluegrass is working hard to remove barriers to employment for our community.