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Kansas Court Records

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Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records in Kansas

The Kansas judicial system presumes all accused persons innocent until proven guilty. However, a criminal record will be created once an individual is accused and apprehended by a law enforcement officer in the state. These records are accessible to interested state residents. Open criminal records often result in the inability to access social aid as well as employment, housing, and financial loans. In Kansas, residents can have their criminal history record expunged or sealed. An expunged record will not appear on the statewide repository maintained by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. This way, the public would believe that an alleged or convicted offender has never committed a crime. However, not all crimes can be expunged in the state of Kansas. The Kansas expungement law lists all the crimes and describes the criteria for restricting a record from public view.

The Difference Between Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records

The term sealing and expunging have separate meanings. While a sealed record is a partial removal of criminal history records from the public, expungement is the complete erasure of a criminal history file from the record custodian’s database. In Kansas, there is no difference between a sealed and an expunged record. The only alternative to expungement in Kansas is obtaining a state pardon from the Governor. State clemency or pardon is granted by the Governor on the advice of the prisoner review board. A pardon does not expunge or seal the conviction record. However, just like expungement, state clemency may restore the rights of the ex-convict.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Seal a Criminal Record in Kansas

Not all records can be sealed in Kansas. Selected arrest records, records of trials that resulted in acquittal, and records of dropped or dismissed charges are eligible for sealing. Individuals convicted for a crime may also get their records sealed, provided they have completed their sentences and paid all fines. Also, the convict must have completed the three years or five-year waiting period. Note that record sealing is not open to:

  • Sex offenders
  • Convictions for murder or manslaughter
  • Child abuse and all other offenses listed under K. S.A § 21–6614(e).

According to K. S. A. 12–4516 (g), eligible persons may initiate the process of expungement by submitting a petition to the criminal court. The petition should contain important details such as:

  • The name of the applicant. More preferably, the name of the applicant at the time of the arrest or conviction.
  • The applicant’s date of birth, sex, and race
  • The type and date of the offense committed.
  • The law enforcement agency, prosecutor, and court that pronounced the verdict.

Requestors must be informed that municipal courts in Kansas may charge a petition fee. After filing the petition, the court will verify the eligibility status of the applicant. A hearing date will be chosen where persons with information about the applicant may testify. The court may also go through reports about the applicant from the prisoner review board or department of corrections.

Once the court grants the expungement, the court clerk must mail a copy of the certified order of expungement to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (K. B. I.). The law enforcement agency will process the expungement within two or four weeks. The department will also update its public database and inform all necessary public agencies of the new developments.

What Crimes Can Be Expunged in Kansas

Selected arrest records and records of criminal trials in which the alleged offender was acquitted are eligible for expunction.

Furthermore, offenders convicted for minor crimes such as traffic infractions, misdemeanors, class D or E felonies, and drug-related felonies may have their records restricted on request. However, these expungement requests may only be made three years after the offender’s sentence is complete.

Severe offenses, such as convictions of class A, B, and C felonies, perjury, and vehicular homicide, may be expunged. The expungement will be granted five years after the date of the conviction. Fines, jail, and probation sentences must have been completed before expunging this criminal history.

How to Expunge Criminal Records in Kansas

In Kansas, the term ‘expungement’ and ‘sealing’ are used interchangeably, and the procedure for each of these processes are the same. However, expunging a record in Kansas only removes the document online or from other public platforms. According to law, the record is still open to approved agencies listed under K. S.A § 21–6614(l).

Do Sealed Records Show up in Kansas Background Checks?

No, online background checks and other public platforms are restricted from including an expunged criminal file. Authorized persons with exclusive access to the file must state their reasons, which must align with the Kansas expungement law. During a job interview, individuals whose criminal history record has been expunged may deny taking part in a crime.

Who Can See Sealed Criminal Records in Kansas

Sealed Criminal records in Kansas are not destroyed. However, state residents cannot access this record online. As stated under K. S.A § 21–6614(l), documents that have been expunged is still accessible to:

  • The record holder
  • Private patrol operator or private detective agency
  • The state police
  • School and health-care officials
  • Financial institution
  • Real Estate companies
  • State agencies such as Kansas sentencing commission, Kansas lottery, Kansas racing and gaming commission, Kansas department for aging and disability services, Kansas Securities Commissioner, Attorney General, etc

How to Obtain Sealed Records in Kansas

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation maintains criminal history records. The records are restricted from the public after the court notifies the department of the expungement. However, authorized persons such as approved state agencies and the record-holder may have access to the sealed criminal record. Typically, agencies seeking to obtain the record need a court order. This is granted by the criminal court, where the order of expungement was given. The record holder can get the file by submitting a mail request and a personal identification fingerprint card. The request must contain:

  • The name of the record holder
  • The purpose of the request
  • The mail address of the record holder
  • A $35 check or money order for processing the request

Completed mail request should be sent to:

Kansas Bureau of Investigation
Criminal History Records Section
1620 SW Tyler
Topeka, KS 66612–1837

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