So far, we have looked at the prefiled felony expungement bill in its entirety. I want to take a minute tonight to break down the mechanics of how this bill will work, and what possible compromises we might expect out of a final bill. The bill that was filed in the house contains the following major changes from our current expungement statute:
- Cases that are not indicted by the grand jury (no true bill) will now be eligible for expungement twelve months after the case is bound to the grand jury.
- The bill allows someone to expunge a Class D felony, or a series of Class D felonies arising from a single incident.
- However, the victim cannot be a child, the offense a sex offense (as defined in KRS 17), or an offense under KRS 209 (elder abuse).
- The person seeking an expungement will have to wait five years after either serving out their sentence, paying their fine, or completing probation.
- The requirement that the person have had no offenses in the five years preceding the offense to be expunged has been removed.
- Felons who receive an expungement will be eligible to possess firearms.
Overall, this opens up a huge category of Kentuckians who will become eligible for expungements if this version of the bill passes. Some drug trafficking cases, all drug possession cases, theft under $10,000, burglary of a building.
I think the most likely changes we can expect to see, if there is a compromise on this bill, is to see the five years preceding the offense requirement stay in place, or, a ten year waiting period for felony expungement. I hope I’m wrong, but it seems possible. Another concern that was previously voiced by Republicans in the Senate was making theft and financial crime convictions available to banks for the purpose of setting credit scores. In today’s information age, it’s almost certain they have this information already. And this version of the bill doesn’t seem to run into the creation of a protected class problem that prior ones had.
All in all, I’m optimistic that we will see felony expungement in Kentucky this year.