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Are Kentucky Criminal Records Public?

Yes. Kentucky criminal records are open to interested members of the public under the Kentucky Open Records Act. Thus, anyone can inspect or make copies of these records following a request to the record custodian. However, the record custodian may sequester certain criminal records from public view by law or court order.

Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:

  • The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
  • The record subjects’ last known location, including cities, counties, and states.

Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.

What is Considered a Criminal Record in Kentucky?

Kentucky criminal records, also known as rap sheets, are documents that detail an individual’s criminal history in Kentucky. They include a formal recording of convicted offenses compiled from the local, county, and state jurisdictions and courts and state correctional facilities. Criminal records are one of several police records created in the course of police activities in Kentucky. Others include arrest records, arrest warrants, incident reports, and police logs. Of these, criminal records are the most comprehensive. The others, however, contain supplemental information.

What Shows Up on a Criminal Record in Kentucky

Persons who obtain criminal records in Kentucky can expect to see the following:

  • The full name of the subject (including any aliases)
  • A photograph/mugshot of the subject and details of unique physical identifiers
  • Their full date of birth
  • A full set of fingerprints
  • Current and former addresses
  • Past, pending, and most current arrests, warrants, and indictments
  • Conviction and incarceration history
  • Post-conviction status

How to Obtain Criminal Records in Kentucky?

Kentucky criminal records are available to interested requesters through the state judiciary. The clerk of courts acts as the official custodian for these documents. Generally, there are three ways to obtain criminal records in Kentucky. These include online, in-person, and mail requests. Online case search is the fastest of these three.

To access Kentucky criminal records online, requesters must use the FastCheck portal. Record request protocol directs new users to create an account. Only then can a requester perform a name-based background check for criminal records. Each search costs a non-refundable $25.00 fee payable by credit card. The payment processor will also charge a $2.5 processing fee per transaction. The portal will process the request as soon as it arrives, but it may take several hours before the criminal record is available. A requester may print the search result from the FastCheck portal as soon as it is available.

Requesters making in-person requests for Kentucky criminal records must go to the Administrative Office of the Courts during business hours. Each request also costs $25.00 and is payable by check, money order, or credit card. Most requesters who make in-person requests get the criminal record that day. It is possible to perform a free public criminal record check by requesting a fee waiver from the record custodian. Alternatively, the requester may use free public databases for the criminal record search. However, the accuracy of information obtained from such databases is not guaranteed.

Meanwhile, persons sending mail-in requests for criminal records in Kentucky must complete the request form. Then, the requester must attach payment in the form of a money order or check. Next, the requester encloses the application packet in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mails it to:

Administrative Office of The Courts
Records Unit
1001 Vandalay Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (800) 928-6381

Mail requests typically take ten (10) working days to process from the date of receipt. Making allowance for logistics and delivery, a requester can expect to get the criminal record requested within three weeks. Thus, mail-in requests are best suited for routine background checks that are not urgent.

Are Arrest Records Public in Kentucky?

Yes. Kentucky arrest records are public information. Anyone may request and obtain arrest records from the arresting agency in the county or city where the arrest happened. Generally, this arresting agency is the Sheriff’s Department or the city police department. Per Kentucky’s open records act, the agency must release the public arrest record provided there are no statutory or security reasons to restrict access. Record custodians do not offer free arrest records - the requester must pay copy fees for the arrest records of interest.

What are Considered Arrest Records in Kentucky?

Arrest records contain an official summary of an individual’s arrest history. It provides information about an individual’s detention, confinement, or arrest. Arrest records may also contain information about individuals who have been charged with committing a misdemeanor, felony, or any other offense.

What Shows Up on an Arrest Record in Kentucky?

Some of the information included on a public arrest record includes:

  • Name of the individual
  • Date of birth
  • Physical descriptors (hair colors, skin tone, etc.)
  • Details of the charges leading to the arrest

Although arrest records and criminal records are slightly similar, criminal records contain a more extensive compilation of a person’s criminal history. In addition to details of an arrest, criminal records contain information about all possible charges and criminal convictions.

Arrest Warrant in Kentucky

A Kentucky arrest warrant is an official document that authorizes law enforcement officials to arrest or detain the person(s) named on the warrant. Arrest warrants are issued and signed by a judge or magistrate. Before a warrant is granted, the arresting officer will convince the judge that probable cause exists, indicating the subject may have committed a crime. Kentucky does not have a central database for arrest warrants. Thus, individuals who wish to check active warrants in a county or municipality may conduct an active warrant search on the arresting agency’s website.

Yes, they can. In the state of Kentucky, the police can legally arrest a person for committing a crime even without a warrant. In most cases, this occurs when a person commits a crime in an officer’s presence or if the officer has reasonable cause to believe the offender is guilty.

How to Lookup Kentucky Inmate Records?

Public information on offenders held in Kentucky state prison can be obtained using the online search service managed by the Kentucky DOC. It allows for parties to perform an inmate search by offender type, location and conviction information.

Kentucky inmate records provide information about an individual’s inmate status. Like most states, Kentucky’s prison system is overseen by the Department of Corrections (DOC), which maintains an inmate database that contains information like the inmate’s name, incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense, and sometimes photos.

How Do I Find Sex Offenders in Kentucky?

The Kentucky sex offender registry is a public database of individuals convicted of sex crimes in Kentucky. Any individual may search this database with the name and address of a known or suspected sex offender. The database also has a sex offender map, so residents of a community can track all sex offenders in that neighborhood.

The state of Kentucky has specific laws against rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct. Together, these laws criminalize sexual battery (sexual activity by force or without the other person’s consent). An individual convicted for any of these offenses must register as a sex offender in Kentucky. Generally, the period of registration depends on the circumstances surrounding the sex crime. Thus, lower-tier sex offenders register for ten (10) years, while felony sex offenders often register for a lifetime.

Regardless of the registration period, the registered sex offender must regularly report to local law enforcement for identity verification. The Kentucky State Police makes information collected during this periodic verification available on the sex offender registry.

Understanding DUI Laws in Kentucky

A DUI in Kentucky is a serious traffic violation, which means driving under the influence. Here, a driver controls a motor vehicle or attempts to control a vehicle after consuming a substance that impairs driving ability. Generally, police officers identify impaired drivers following a field sobriety assessment and a chemical test to determine breath or blood alcohol content (BAC).

A driver whose BAC is more than the legal limit of 0.08 will lose driving privileges pending court trial and administrative review by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The penalties for a DUI depend on the offender’s status. Generally, first-time DUI offenders face a $200 fine and four months of license suspension. The driver may also spend at least 48 hours in jail if the DUI is serious. From here on, the penalties for a DUI become stiffer.

Furthermore, a conviction for DUI in Kentucky is permanent on the individual’s driving record. Although difficult, it is possible to expunge a DUI conviction in Kentucky. However, a rule of thumb is to avoid the conviction in the first place. Most drivers will need to get an experienced DUI lawyer in Kentucky to avoid a drunk driving conviction or improve the chances of getting an expungement.

Kentucky Misdemeanors Laws: Offenses and Penalties

A misdemeanor in Kentucky is a non-indictable offense that is legally considered to be less severe than felonies. They’re punishable by up to 12 months in the county or local jail. In Kentucky, misdemeanors are classified by an alphabet-based system designed to describe the severity of the alleged crime: Class A and Class B.

  • Class A misdemeanors are punishable by 90 days to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $500
  • Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days’ penalty

Common examples of misdemeanors in Kentucky include:

  • Burglary
  • Violation of a restraining order
  • Property theft of less than $500
  • Public lewdness
  • Unlawful possession of a weapon
  • Criminal mischief
  • Criminal trespass

Kentucky Felony Laws: Offenses and Penalties

A felony offense in Kentucky refers to any serious crime punishable by a minimum sentence of more than 1 year. They’re served in state prison or county jail. In some cases, a felony conviction can even be punished by death. Kentucky law designates felonies as capital offenses or Class A, B, C, or D felonies. Murder is a capital offense. Capital offenses are punishable by death, life without parole, 25 years to life in prison, or 0 to 50 years’ imprisonment.

Kentucky Parole Records

Parole records contain the official details of a released prisoner who is out on early release on the promise of good behavior. While the prisoner is on supervised parole, the board requires that the parolee pay a monthly supervision fee as a condition of parole. The board may also impose any conditions of parole it deems right to make sure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of Kentucky are served.

The Kentucky Parole Board decides whether an inmate qualifies for consideration of parole. Some of the factors that affect the board’s decision include:

  • The inmate’s past criminal records
  • The severity of the offense
  • Statements from prosecuting attorney and the sentencing judge
  • Conduct of the inmate
  • Any prior history of probation or parole violations
  • Arguments from victims or persons affected by the offender
  • History of alcohol or drug use

The board also publishes a publicly available preliminary list of inmates eligible for parole, arranged by county of conviction. It provides the inmate’s name, DOC number, location, indictment number, and the offense convicted.

Are Probation Records Public in Kentucky?

Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in Kentucky to serve their sentences out of custody as long as they follow probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation may differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case.

Probation terms are open to the public. Members of the public can obtain information by contacting the clerk of court at the courthouse where the judgment was given. Interested persons may also peruse the publicly available parole eligibility list in Kentucky. However, specific details of the probation, such as whether a person is complying with set probation conditions, remain closed to the public.

Are Juvenile Criminal Records Public in Kentucky?

A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information about criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not convicted of a crime like an adult but instead are “adjudicated delinquent”. These criminal records are often thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. Suppose a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense. In that case, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.

What is a Conviction Record?

A conviction record is an official document providing information that a person was found guilty, pleaded guilty, or pleaded no contest against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges may be classified as a felony, misdemeanor, or other offense. A conviction also includes when a person is delinquent, honorably discharged, or placed on probation, fined, imprisoned, or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed, or otherwise rendered inoperative.

Kentucky History and Accuracy of Criminal Records

The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Kentucky criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s, when criminal and arrest data were first centralized and compiled into an organized database much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past. However, by the 1990s, the quality and accuracy of record-keeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer.

How to Find Kentucky Criminal History Record for Free

A criminal history record or a police record, also popularly known as a “RAP” (Record of Arrests and Prosecutions) sheet, is a document that contains information regarding the arrests, convictions, and prosecutions of an individual. The details of the document, which may vary based on Jurisdiction, either state or country, include:

Court case Information, incarceration information, parole information, certificates, and search warrant information.

According to the Kentucky Open Records Act, public records are open to all members of the state at different levels, with a few exceptions as stated under KRS 61.878(1). Criminal records in the state of Kentucky are available to members of the public, employers, and government agencies through the Administrative Office of Courts (AOC). Access to criminal history records is granted through the Kentucky Court of Justice online portal (also known as FastCheck), in person or by mail. The AOC FastCheck retrieves the information from a state records repository known as “CourtNet 2.0”, containing data on all 120 counties.

The FastCheck portal offers two main options:

  • FastCheck allows registered users to order the criminal records and retrieve the results online after the request is processed.
  • One-Time-Request allows the user to fill out an online request form, make a submission and receive a response via U.S. mail after the request is processed.

Note: Criminal record reports are processed in the order in which they are received, hence this would affect the response time, depending on how many requests are queued. A processing fee of $25 is required (check or money order).

Another option for obtaining a criminal history record in Kentucky is to visit the

Are Police Records Public in Kentucky?

Largely, yes they are. Police records fall under the category of public records according to the Kentucky Open Records Act, KRS 61.870 to 61.884. In a bid to maintain transparency by government officials and for citizens to gain sufficient access to government, public records have been made accessible to Kentuckians, as long as it complies with the Open Records Act. A wide-ranging definition of public records includes; all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, discs, diskettes, recordings, software, or other documentation regardless of physical form or characteristics (KRS 61.870(2)).

All such documents as mentioned fall under the category of “public Records”. Public police records may include the following information:

  • Name, address, gender, race, phone, age, height, weight, physical description, and other characteristics.
  • You would also get to see fingerprints and mugshots. The record will list charges, warrants, arrests, convictions, misdemeanors and felonies, incarcerations, bail, fines, bond, and any sentencing.

In addition, “Booking photographs and photographic record of inmate," is defined under KRS 61.870(9) as "a photograph or image of an individual generated by law enforcement for identification purposes when the individual is booked into a detention facility as defined in KRS 520.010 or photograph and image of an inmate taken under KRS 196.099". However, KRS 61.8746 prohibits a person from using a booking photograph in a publication or posting it on a website of booking photographs or official inmate photographs, if removal of the photograph requires payment of a fee (as stated in the Open Records Act).

Finally, it is important to note that not all records are accessible to the public. There are a few exemptions, based on certain infringements that the disclosure of such records would cause. Following the Kentucky Open Records Act, there are about sixteen exceptions to the release of public records clearly stated, except a court order is issued to the party requesting access. Some of these apply to the release of police records and they include:

  • Sensitive personal information may result in an unwarranted privacy invasion.
  • Records that have the potential of tampering with ongoing investigative activities if prematurely released, hence disrupting Justice.
  • Records that the federal law or regulation prohibits its disclosure.
  • Records that the statutes of Kentucky prohibit its disclosure.
  • Records the disclosure of which would have a reasonable likelihood of threatening public safety by exposing a vulnerability in preventing, protecting against, mitigating, or responding to a terrorist act, as defined in the exemption, and limited to eight precisely described categories of records. ( KRS 61.878(1))

The law enforcement agency must endeavor to state reasons for denial of access to the requesting party, based on the above-mentioned exemptions, and where applicable give the needed directive on the appropriate course of action.

How to Obtain Police Records in Kentucky

Kentucky police records are as accessible as every other public record, and this assertion is based on the Kentucky Open Records Act, where the guidelines are clearly stated. Any individual that is seeking to obtain a police report in Kentucky would simply need to decide from three options, which would be most efficient for retrieval. However, this would largely depend on the laws that exempt disclosure; the intended seeker may explore any of the following options:

Firstly, the FastCheck online portal, under the Administrative Office of the Courts, Kentucky Court of Justice, provides an online retrieval alternative that enables registered users to access criminal records. The requesting party is to provide a few details to aid in fetching the data, which will then display to the user.

The second option involves filling out an online request form, where the application is processed and the results sent via U.S. mail. This includes a processing fee of $25 and would be suitable for records that are not available online.

The third option is to visit the nearest State Police division in person and file a request for the records needed. The official Kentucky Police website would contain all the contact information and some other useful information.

Are Police Reports Public Records?

A police report is a document written after an incident to report to law enforcement, detailing the circumstances of the event; this might be an accident or a crime. Reports commonly contain the names of victims involved, witnesses to aid in investigations, a clear narrative of the occurrence, offense classification, and any other relevant detail based on request.

There are four Major types of Police reports:

  • Arrest Reports: Details the information of an arrested suspect(s), it captures date, time, personal information, and occurrence.
  • Incident Report: This contains a brief overview and description of a distress call attended to by an officer.
  • Crime Report: Details general description and suspect information of a crime. Examples may include armed robbery, rape, murder, etc.
  • Accident Reports: Capture the details of an accident, which may include Vehicles or Machinery at any given location. The report records the names of victims, circumstances surrounding the accident, and the degree of damage sustained.

In the state of Kentucky, police reports are subject to the Kentucky Open Records Act, hence it classifies under public records. Access and retrieval still operate under the confines of Act exemptions. In the case of police reports, non-disclosure mostly borders around situations where investigation could be compromised.

Generally, police reports are important documents within the Criminal Justice System seeing as it facilitates the procedure for the Judiciary to arrive at Justice. The degree of accuracy of a police report can determine the outcome of a case and for Justice to prevail.

How to File a Police Report with Kentucky Law Enforcement.

The State of Kentucky grants that police reports can be documented and submitted through the online civilian incident system, at no cost, but this is dependent on the nature of the incident, whether it is an emergency or not, and also whether a firearm is involved or not. In a life and death situation, online filing is not an option. Filing an online police report in Kentucky would largely depend on the individual's city or county. The County Sheriff's offices and the city police departments, spread across the state, provide an online platform that avails the citizens of this privilege, based on the victim or reporter’s location. Considering a few Cities/Counties, such as Lexington, Madison, Bowling Green, Louisville Metro, etc. there are conditions for filing a police report, and these may differ based on the different peculiarities per Jurisdiction. To illustrate, let us consider Madison County and the criteria to meet for filing a report:

The Madison county Sheriff's office uses Kentucky's online crime incident reporting system, which allows you to submit a report immediately and print a draft copy of the police report for free. In cases of emergency involving firearms or life and death situations, victims should immediately call 911.

The only crimes reported using the online civilian reporting system are as follows:

  • Non-Criminal Property damage.
  • Harassing communications.
  • Property Lost or Mislaid (under $500).
  • Theft by unlawful taking (under $500).
  • Criminal Mischief (Less than $1000 damage).
  • Larceny from Auto (under $500).
  • Fraudulent use of Credit Card or Debit Card (under $500 over six months).

(Note: Most of the other Cities/Counties' Law Enforcement agencies operate with similar guidelines).

A person can file a police report, by visiting the law enforcement agency within your locality or by placing a call through to the Sheriff's office or police department, as the case may be. The details of the contact address for each county/city law enforcement agency are available on the various online platforms. For more details, visit the state police web page.

Where to Find Free Public Police Records.

According to the Kentucky Open Records Act, all law enforcement agencies at state and local levels are mandated to provide the general public with records on demand, especially when these requests include files that violate the exemptions as stated in the Act. This then means that any individual or organization demanding access to public police records, having filed the request through the appropriate law enforcement agency, should be assured of getting the desired results.

Another way that public police records can be accessed is by visiting the Kentucky Court of justice web portal under the Administrative Office of the courts' section, using the “fastCheck” access point for retrieval of the desired information. An example of records found in such a public domain may include a criminal record history document that details any event of arrests or prosecution of an individual.

How to Find Mugshots in Kentucky.

A mugshot or “mugshot” is an informal name for a “police photograph”. It is simply a photographic portrait of an individual. Images appear in both front and side profile views. The law enforcement agency takes these pictures, after suspects have been arrested and brought into custody, and it is specifically for documentation and identification.

In Kentucky, based on the Open Records Act 61.870(2), booking photographs or Mugshots falls under the category of the public records, and thereby available for public access. However, KRS 61.8746 prohibits a person from using a mugshot in a publication or posting it on a website for booking photographs or official inmate photographs, if the retrieval of the photograph requires payment of a fee. Mugshots can be retrieved online or by filing a request to the appropriate law enforcement agency.