Attitudes toward marijuana have been changing as states across the country have pushed to legalize the drug. While Kentucky is not one of the 23 states to have currently legalized or decriminalized marijuana in some capacity, Kentuckian’s don’t appear to be opposed to the idea.
A poll found that an overwhelming 78% of Kentuckian’s support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, while 40% of Kentuckian’s also support legalizing marijuana for any purpose. Despite shifting opinions, the impact of criminalization are still being felt.
Something as small as a low-level drug conviction can have lasting impacts. Even with a great job and great credit, a conviction can prevent individuals from landing their dream home, receiving a student loan, or obtaining professional licenses.
Fortunately, individuals with a marijuana possession charge on their record can file a motion to have their convictions voided and sealed. Voiding has the same effect as expunging a conviction, so a record will be cleared of the conviction. An offender is only allowed to void a possession conviction once.
Historically, it hasn’t been easy for the average person to file their own motion to void and seal a conviction. In an effort to change that, the attorneys at Baldani Law Group have created an automated motion to void and seal generator. Now, anyone can create a motion to void and seal by simply filling out a form. Once the document is generated, an offender simply needs to take the document to their circuit court clerk’s office.
Create Your Motion To Void & Seal
Fill out the form below to create an automated motion to void and seal for your marijuana possession conviction under KRS 218A.276.
Am I Eligible to Have My Drug Possession Charge Voided?
There are two provisions in Kentucky Law that allow you to have a conviction voided and sealed. You may have a first-time drug possession (even felony-level possession) voided and sealed, or any conviction for possession of marijuana, synthetic drugs, or salvia voided and sealed. For both types of cases, you are eligible to file a void and seal motion once you have satisfactorily completed treatment, probation, or another sentence. If a conviction is voided and sealed, then it is not considered a first offense or a conviction.
The major difference between the two laws is that you can only have a first-time conviction sealed for possession of a controlled substance. There is no requirement that a marijuana conviction be a first-time offense in order to have it voided and sealed. In other words, if you are convicted of possession of methamphetamine, that conviction can only be voided and sealed if it is your first conviction for that offense. However, if you have been convicted of possession of marijuana, you can have that conviction voided and sealed even if it is not your first offense.
If you are not eligible to have your possession charge voided and sealed, you may still be able to have the conviction expunged. Consult with a Lexington expungement attorney to find out if you meet the requirements for expungement and to start the process.
Why Should I File a Void and Seal Motion Instead of Seeking Expungement?
There are a number of reasons why you may choose to pursue a void and seal motion for a marijuana possession charge instead of expungement. First, expungement has a specific set of requirements, including that a certain amount of time has passed since your conviction (typically 5 years) and that you do not have a pending criminal case. A void and seal motion can be filed once you complete the term of your sentence, and even if you have a pending criminal case.
Second, you must pay a fee for an expungement, whereas there is no fee for a void and seal motion. The fee for an expungement of a dismissed case is $40 (to obtain a certification of eligibility), plus a $100 filing fee for a misdemeanor ($50 of which is refundable if your expungement is not granted). For a felony expungement, there is a $500 filing fee, $450 of which is refundable if your expungement is not granted. There is no requirement to obtain a certificate of eligibility or to pay a filing fee to a void and seal a case.
For these reasons, voiding and sealing a first-time drug possession or marijuana possession charge is often preferable to seeking an expungement. Voiding and sealing functions in largely the same way as an expungement, so it may be viewed as a less expensive and more straightforward way to have your record cleared if you are eligible to do so. A Kentucky marijuana possession attorney can help you with the process.
What Happens After I File a Motion to Void and Seal?
Once the court receives your motion to void and seal, it will review the terms of your conviction to ensure that you have completed your sentence or treatment successfully. If so, then it will “set aside and void” the conviction, and issue a certificate to you.
As part of this process, the court will order that all records related to your conviction be sealed. Every agency with records relating to your arrest, the charge, or matters related to the offense will be ordered to seal these records, and to certify to the court within 60 days that the records have been sealed.
After these records are sealed, then the conviction cannot be used against you, except for determining your eligibility to have a future conviction voided. The conviction won’t show up on a criminal background check, and you will not have to disclose the conviction when applying for a job, credit, housing, or otherwise. In this way, voiding and sealing a conviction is very similar to having a conviction expunged.
What Are the Benefits of Voiding and Sealing My Marijuana Possession Conviction?
Having a criminal record can seriously impact your ability to move forward with your life. It isn’t unusual for employers, landlords, and mortgage officers to run background checks on applicants. As a result, having a conviction on your record can affect your ability to get a job or get an apartment or house.
Similarly, some misdemeanor drug offenses may make you ineligible for federal student loans. If you have that conviction voided and sealed, then you may be able to get student loans and complete your education.
Finally, many professional boards will not grant you a license if you have a conviction on your record. By going through the voiding and sealing process, you will be able to move forward with your career without being held back by a criminal record.