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What Are Kentucky Traffic Court Records?
Kentucky traffic records refer to all legal documents and case files generated as part of the report of events and in-court proceedings related to moving and non-moving violations under the motor vehicle code of Kentucky.
Are Kentucky Traffic Court Records Public Records?
As with most courts of public records, traffic court records are regarded as public records and are available to members of the public, under the public access to information law. Consequently, any member of the public can request to view all traffic records. The only exceptions to this are records that have been restricted law or court order
Getting a Traffic Ticket in Kentucky
A Uniform Citation ticket is an official long-form document that is issued for traffic violations within the state of Kentucky. It is issued by a law enforcement officer. It is an attestation of the violations as observed by the officer. The various sections of the ticket will be completed by the officer before being given to the offender. The officer will fill in the:
- Offender/Violator section, which will contain the full name, date of birth, address and other pertinent bio-data of the offender. Information about the offender’s license will be included here.
- Vehicle section, which will contain all pertinent details about the vehicle in question and denote the speed recorded if it is a speeding ticket.
- Date/Time section, which will note the date, time and location of the incident including the city or county.
- Charge section, which will outline the charge with violation code and the statute/ordinance section being violated.
- Court section, which will specify the court date, time and location. It will also indicate if the ticket is “payable”, which means it can be paid without a court appearance or if a court appearance will be required to resolve the ticket. If the ticket is payable, the total fine amount will be listed here. If not, then you are required to appear in court.
- Case section, which will list all witnesses (if any) and addresses. The officer will include his agency, badge ID and signature. The back of the ticket will contain information about responding to the ticket.
Traffic fines in Kentucky vary by violation but are typically uniform across the state. If the cited offense can be paid before court date i.e. it is pre-payable, then the exact amount will be noted on the ticket. Penalties for traffic violations can come to include added fines, points on your driving record, license suspension/revocation and even jail time. Kentucky employs a points system to monitor driving behavior and discourage dangerous driving. Convictions for traffic violations are reported to the Kentucky Department of Driver Licensing (DDL) and accumulating up to 12 points in 2 years will cause your license to be suspended. Points from traffic violations will stay on your record for 2 years.
Kentucky traffic violations are divided into moving and non-moving violations. Moving violations are more serious or major offenses, which are committed by a vehicle while in motion. Non-moving violations are less serious or minor offenses, which are generally committed when a vehicle is parked or associated with faulty vehicle equipment.
What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Kentucky?
Upon receipt of a traffic ticket in Kentucky, you can either
- Choose to pay the ticket (Guilty Plea)
- Choose to contest the ticket (Not Guilty Plea)
Either action must be taken by the court appearance date indicated on the ticket, or there will be added consequences which could include late fees, license suspension and even, a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.
If you choose to pay the ticket, this will be taken as a Guilty plea by the court and an acknowledgment of all charges against you. If the offense does not require a court appearance, the ticket will be marked payable and a fine amount will be listed. You can pre-pay the fines, rather than wait for the court date. Fine can be paid online through the Kentucky court website (not available in all locations) and must be made at least 3 days before your court appearance date.
- By Mail- send the total amount listed on the ticket, with a copy of the citation to the court address listed on the back of the citation.
- In-Person- by visiting the court clerk's office of the listed court and making payment in person.
- The total fine amount must be received before the scheduled court appearance to avoid additional penalties.
If the offense requires a court appearance, the ticket will be marked "court "and there will be no fine amount listed. You must show up in court on your scheduled date if this is the case. You will be arraigned on your court date, where you will enter a plea and receive your sentence which will include the fine for the violation and any other penalty given by the judge. The conviction will be reported to the Kentucky DDL and points will accrue on your record.
If you choose to contest the ticket, you must appear on your court date to enter your plea before the court. After your arraignment, a date will be scheduled for your trial and you will have the chance to make your case (as will the prosecutor), after which the judge will render judgment. If you are found "Not Guilty" then all charges are dismissed, and fines are voided. There will be no report to the Kentucky DDL and no points will be added to your driving record. You will still cover Court fees. If you are found "Guilty", then you will be liable for the total fine and any additional penalties set by the judge. A record of the conviction will be sent to the DDL which will result in points being added to your driving record and you must still cover Court fees.
If you will be unavailable on the court date and are unable to pre-pay the fine, it is your responsibility to inform the court or you will face added penalties.
How Do I find Kentucky Traffic Court Records?
Traffic court records in Kentucky are available at the Court Clerk's office of the court where the records are stored, i.e. where the case was heard. Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
What information is required to obtain Kentucky Traffic Court Records?
To obtain a traffic court record in Kentucky, you will need to provide details about the record including the full name of the defendant, date of birth and the case file number. You will need to provide a valid ID when making the request. You may also be liable for court costs, especially if you require copies of the records.
Are all Traffic Violations handled the same way, in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, traffic violations are usually processed similarly, irrespective of the type of violation. Fines and penalties for violations will be different and based on existing laws and statutes governing the violation. The processes involved in responding to a citation and the ensuing procedures will be similar. However, if you are arrested at the scene of the incident, there will be a bond hearing to decide your bail.
Can Kentucky Traffic Records be sealed or expunged?
Arrest records may be expunged if:
- The charges were dismissed with prejudice
- The motorist was not indicted by the grand jury
- The motorist was found not guilty of the offense.
In cases where individuals are convicted of misdemeanor violations or traffic infractions, records may be expunged 5 years after completion of the sentence provided:
- The subject has not been convicted of a felony in the 5 years
- No criminal proceedings are pending against the subject
- The offense was not committed against a minor
Kentucky law requires that every petition for expungement include a certificate of eligibility from the Kentucky State Police unless the case was dismissed.
How does one end up in a Kentucky Traffic court?
In Kentucky, you end up in traffic court if you receive a ticket for a traffic violation from a law enforcement officer. You can also end up in traffic court if the ticket is marked “Payable”, but you wish to exercise your right to contest the ticket.
Which Courts in Kentucky have jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?
In Kentucky, traffic violation cases are heard in the District Court of the location of the offense. Appeals for traffic violation cases are heard in Circuit court.