Law enforcement agencies invest significant workforce and financial resources in investigating and arresting suspected drug offenders. What you may not realize, though, is how there are six different state drug charges that prosecutors can charge you with here in Kentucky and that each has a separate potential fine and jail sentence attached to it.
What drug offenses exist in Kentucky?
There are six primary drug charges that state prosecutors may file against you in Kentucky. These are some associated with illicit drugs, including cultivation, trafficking, manufacturing and possession charges. There are also intent to sell controlled substances and prescription drug fraud charges that prosecutors may wage against defendants.
What you need to know about the degrees of drug possession charges
There isn’t a single catch-all drug possession charge here in Kentucky. Prosecutors may instead charge a defendant with a first-, second- or third-degree offense. The alleged drug involved will dictate which degree of charges you face.
Law enforcement officers may arrest anyone suspected of knowingly and unlawfully possessing Schedule I or II drugs with a first-degree felony. Drugs that fall into this category include gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), flunitrazepam, phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and methamphetamine. First-time offenders may face first-degree Class D felony charges. Repeat or habitual offenders may face Class C charges.
Anyone who prosecutors suspect of knowingly and unlawfully possessing a non-narcotic Schedule I, II or III drug may face second-degree possession charges. Prosecutors generally won’t charge anyone arrested while in possession of marijuana, PCP or LSD with this lesser offense, but instead a first-degree charge. A first-time offender is likely to face Class A misdemeanor charges, and they’re likely to face Class D felony charges for any subsequent offenses.
Any person that police arrest on suspicion of possessing Schedule IV or V drugs is likely to face third-degree drug possession charges. This criminal offense is a Class A misdemeanor. Prosecutors may file Class D felony charges against any defendant charged with any subsequent third-degree drug possession offenses.
Why you should take any drug charges seriously
While many people think of misdemeanors as nothing more than a slap-on-the-wrist type of offense, they’re far more serious than that. An attorney can advise you how both misdemeanor and felony drug possession convictions can affect your ability to retain your Russell job, custody of your kids and your ability to receive government benefits here in Kentucky.