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Legal Information: Kentucky

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 15, 2023

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Kentucky, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order may be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in Kentucky.1 All law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC database, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

1 See KRS § 403.751

How do I register my protection order in Kentucky?

In order to register (authenticate) your out-of-state order in Kentucky, you can file a certified copy of your order in district court or circuit court.  A certified copy generally has a court seal or stamp and a signature on it from the clerk or judge.  If you do not have a certified copy, you can still file it in court.1  See Can I register my protection order if I do not have a certified copy? for more information. 

Your order will then be presented to the district judge or circuit judge, who will read over the order and add any information that is necessary for entry into the Law Information Network of Kentucky system (LINK system), which is a statewide database of protection orders in Kentucky that all law enforcement officers have access to.  A law enforcement officer will check the LINK system when enforcing your order, which is why it is helpful to make sure that your order is registered in this system.1 Once your order has been reviewed by the judge and entered into the LINK system, it will be considered authenticated and you will receive a certified copy of the affidavit that declares your order authenticated.2  Your order can then be enforced in any county in Kentucky, just as if it were a Kentucky domestic violence order.

To find a courthouse near you, go to our KY Courthouse Locations page. 

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Kentucky for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our KY Advocates and Shelters page.

1 KRS § 403.7521(1)-(3)
2 KRS § 403.7529(3)

Do I have to register my protection order in Kentucky in order to get it enforced?

Kentucky state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect. It does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Kentucky police officer, but the officer does need to believe that the order has not expired.1

1 KRS § 403.7521

Can I register my protection order if I do not have a certified copy?

It is possible to register your order without a certified copy but it is a more complicated process. To register an uncertified order, you can bring the uncertified copy to a courthouse in Kentucky where your order will be filed and will be considered valid for 14 days, which means it can be enforced during the 14-day period.  The clerk will contact the courthouse that issued your order and ask them to send a certified copy.  If a certified copy is not sent within the 14-day period, your order will be extended for another 14-day period.  However, Kentucky law says that if the Kentucky court does not receive a certified copy after the full 28 days have passed, your order will be considered expired and cannot be enforced.1 

You may want to check with the clerk of court before the 28 days have expired to make sure that the court received a certified copy of your order.  

If this your order does expire, you may be able file for a Kentucky domestic violence order if you qualify. You may want to get in touch with a local domestic violence organization in Kentucky for help with this process.  You can find contact information for local organizations on our KY Advocates and Shelters page.  

1 KRS § 403.7527(3)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Planning page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our KY Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)


What if I don't register my protection order?  Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

While federal law does not require that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a Kentucky law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real.  Once you have authenticated your order by filing it in court, the court will direct law enforcement to help you in having the order followed and order that it be enforced in any county.1

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Kentucky. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Kentucky, go to our KY Advocates and Shelters page. 

1 ​KRS § 403.7529(2)

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

A fee cannot be charged for registering your out-of-state protection order in Kentucky.1

1 KRS § 403.745