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Criminal Records in Kentucky

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Need more information? Check out our guides to Kentucky arrest records and Kentucky background checks.


There are several options for those seeking criminal records in Kentucky. All criminal records are held by the Administrative Offices of the Courts. Access to criminal and court records is available to all individuals, licensing agencies, businesses, and government entities as well as anyone else. There is a $25 flat fee for criminal records. 

Criminal records are based on court activity and Kentucky reports don’t include driving or arrest records. Criminal record information comes from a statewide database that collects information from local systems in the state’s 120 counties. There are millions of records available including misdemeanor and traffic offenses over the last five years and felonies that date back to 1977.

What is a criminal record?

A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and a police record.  

As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.

In the State of Kentucky, criminal records are online but can also be obtained in-person and by a mailed request.

What is included in a Kentucky criminal record?

As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, a Kentucky criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.

Generally, a Kentucky criminal record will include the following information: 

  • A person’s full name and possible aliases
  • Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
  • Fingerprints and mugshot
  • Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
  • Felony criminal offenses and convictions
  • Traffic records
  • Past and outstanding arrest warrants
  • Prior arrests
  • Pending and dismissed charges

Why would someone access a criminal record?

The majority of criminal history searches are done by people on their own records. There are several reasons for this. They could be checking to make sure everything is correct or perhaps need a criminal background check for a business opportunity. Criminal histories are required in adoption proceedings and can also be used in divorce and child custody cases. Sometimes, people or attorneys want them to use the information in a subsequent case. Criminal histories could also be used as an alibi if the person was incarcerated during the commission of a similar crime where they might be suspected. 

One of the most common reasons for a criminal history report is to apply for a visa or get a trade license, such as an accountant, contractor, or caregiver. Those seeking to be on a fire, ambulance, or rescue squad must have a background check done as well as those seeking certain types of housing. In Kentucky, those in the secondary metal recycling business also must have a background check done.

What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?

When you access a criminal record, the person listed on the record may have an offense listed. Criminal offenses are usually broken into three categories: Infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. 

An infraction is a minor violation, a misdemeanor is more serious, and a felony is the most serious type of crime.

To better understand the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each offense and its severity:

  • Infraction: A small traffic violation or littering are considered infractions. An infraction is a minor violation of the law. Usually, punishments are a warning or a fine. Typically, no jail time is associated with an infraction. 
  • Misdemeanor: If someone were to get a DUI or a drug violation, it’s considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction but less severe than a felony. Jail time of less than a year or probation are usually associated with these types of crimes. Likely, the offender will do time in a local or county jail.
  • Felony: Murder, rape, and arson are considered felony charges. A felony is the most serious type of crime. Offenders are typically sentenced to jail for more than a year and are likely held in a state or federal facility.  

What is the difference between a Kentucky arrest record and a Kentucky criminal record?

An arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest. A criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies. 

Both types of documents are usually public records in the United States, although information about specific arrests may be sealed and rendered inaccessible to the public for a variety of reasons.    

Whether an arrest record or a criminal record is accessed, the information listed is for state crimes only. If a person is involved in a federal crime, this information is not listed on a state record. 

How do I search for a Kentucky criminal record?

The primary way to search for a Kentucky criminal record is online through AOCFastCheck. There are two options in ordering a criminal history report this way.

  1. People can go through the fast-check system and get the results online when their payment and order have been processed.
  2. The second option is called a one-time request where people can place a single order and receive the report in the mail. Criminal reports are processed in the order in which they are received and the length of time it takes to get a report can vary.

How do I obtain a physical copy of a Kentucky criminal record?

Those seeking a criminal record history report can order them online through the fast link, in person, or by mail. The first thing to do is download and complete a form at the KSP website. There are several forms aimed at different purposes, so pick the right form. There is no online ordering with this method so you must send the form and payment by mail. The cost is $20 and is payable by check or money order. There are specific instructions and mailing addresses on each form.

Those wanting to order in-person can do so at the drive-through window at the Administrative Office of the Courts, 1001 Vandalay Drive, Frankfort. Hours are 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Be aware that the office doesn’t accept cash, but will accept major credit and debit cards, checks, or money orders payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer. It could take an hour to process, particularly if there is an order of 10 or more requests.

Those wishing to make a general request for criminal records by mail can send their payment and request to the Administrative Office of the Courts Records Unit, 1001 Vandalay Drive, Frankfort, KY, 40601.

How do I search for Kentucky criminal case court records?

The Kentucky Court of Justice page offers a way for the public to have access to court records. This access to public case information is free. Those records that are not online are available at district court where the case was handled. You’ll need to speak with the clerk of court, who is responsible for record-keeping within the courthouse. The clerk may ask you to submit a public records request to have the records mailed to your home or office. 

Does Kentucky allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?

Yes, Kentucky has a process to seal or expunge a criminal case. Under Kentucky state law, every expungement petition must include a certificate of eligibility. Those seeking expungement must complete the certification process to determine their eligibility.

State law allows that all cases dismissed with prejudice or acquitted after July 15, 2020, automatically expunged after 30 days without the defendant needing to request it. This includes traffic cases. Those automatically notified of an expungement include:

  • The defendant and their attorney.
  • County or state attorney.
  • Kentucky State Police
  • Local arresting agency
  • Local jail.

Those who need the order sent to other agencies must tell the court within 60 days of expungement. The Kentucky State Police will notify federal agencies. 

There is a five-year waiting period from the day the sentence is completed to expunged misdemeanor cases.

Also, most class D crimes can be expunged under recent Kentucky laws. In those cases, the defendant applies to have his or her conviction expunged or vacated. Charges are dismissed and the judgment is vacated once the court grants the request. There is an expungement fee, but all records with any agency or official are expunged once the fee is paid.

Kentucky has free expungement information sessions for those seeking expungement through its Clean Slate Kentucky program. Those needing free or low-cost legal help can also go to:

How can I have false information on a Kentucky criminal record corrected?

Those wanting to correct false information on their criminal history report can get help in person at the Administrative Office of the Courts or make a request by mail. Those wanting this type of correction will need to seek an expungement but may need some additional forms to submit to the court.

How long are Kentucky criminal records kept on file?

Criminal records will remain on file until death in Kentucky, but the state limits how long they are publicly accessible. Non-felony records are only dated back five years from the date of the background request.