The state of the law today

Right now, the only felony conviction potentially eligible for an expungement in Kentucky (well, it’s really a different process called voiding, but it’s really no difference) is Possession of a Controlled Substance, First Degree (what lawyers call PCS 1). PCS 1 is a Class D felony that carries one to three years in prison (though it is also eligible for deferred prosecution–more on that in another post). PCS 1 is the possession of the most serious drugs–schedule 1 and 2 narcotics, LSD, meth, and a few date rape drugs. It comes up most commonly in cases of possession of heroin, meth, LSD, cocaine, or oxycodone.

KRS 218A.275 gives us the particulars of how that process works. Any conviction for PCS 1 can be voided after completion of the sentence, whether it be probation, treatment, or prison. Prior versions of the law left more discretion in the judge’s hands. The current version appears to be more mandatory.

While the draft version of Kentucky felony expungement is not nearly as lenient as the voiding provision for drug possession (it will require a five year waiting period), it is definitely a step in the right direction. Under the current law, a Kentuckian convicted of being $1000 behind in child support, or for receiving $100 more in unemployment benefits than they should have, is unable to ever remove the felony stigma from their life. That has to change.

Tomorrow we will look at the draft bill that has been prefiled for the January 2016 legislative session.

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