Every state has different laws and penalties for drug-related charges, depending on the particular substance and any mitigating or compounding factors. In addition, Kentucky classifies the compounds to make drugs, as well as the drugs themselves, as “controlled dangerous substances” (CDS). If you’ve been charged with a drug-related crime and need help with your defense in Lexington, KY, read on to understand the crime—then call an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges.
Drugs and their “schedules”
Kentucky classifies drugs according to five different “schedules,” depending on how dangerous they consider the controlled substance to be. For example, Schedule I drugs have no medical use and a high potential for abuse, Schedule II drugs have abuse potential but at least one restricted medical use, Schedule III drugs have regularly accepted medical uses, Schedule IV has low potential for abuse as compared to Schedule III (plus medical uses) and Schedule V has low potential for abuse compared to Schedule IV in addition to accepted medical uses.
Your charging document will tell you which schedule the applicable drugs or compounds fit into, so you can then determine what the potential penalties may be. Here’s a closer look at possession charges and schedules:
- First degree: Possessing a Schedule I or II CDS may mean being charged with a Class D felony, which comes with a $1,000 to $10,000 fine, one to three years in prison or both. For first- and second-time offenders, the judge may opt to allow a probation or deferred prosecution program. However, third and subsequent offenses will require the defendant to stand trial for the crime—no probation or deferred prosecution will be available.
- Second degree: Certain amounts of Schedule I or II drugs (which are not in the narcotic category) and some Schedule III drugs are eligible for a Class A misdemeanor drug charge in Lexington, KY. If convicted, you could be liable for up to a $500 fine and up to a year in jail, or both.
- Third degree: Schedule IV and V possession are eligible for the same penalties as second degree CDS possession.
- Salvia: If you possess salvia intended for human consumption (and know about it), you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. This comes with penalties of up to $250 in fines and up to 30 days in jail, or both.
- Persistent felony offenders: Some folks are repeatedly caught with CDS, or have other felony convictions under their belts, and courts do not look kindly upon that. First degree felony offenders are people who are over 21 and have had two felony convictions since they turned 18. Second degree felony offenders are older than 21 and had one felony conviction since turning 18. This status is important, as it can increase your sentencing by as much as 20 years in prison. In other words, if you’ve been convicted of a felony before, it’s not worth the risk to possess CDS.
Have you been charged with a drug crime and need help mounting a drug charge defense in Lexington, KY? Get in touch with Oakley & Oakley LLC today to arrange a consultation.