Although drug policies have changed a lot in the last few decades, most of those changes occur on a state-by-state basis. Some states have made major adjustments to their priorities regarding drug prohibition, and others have remained relatively stagnant.
Kentucky is far from a bastion of liberal progress when it comes to drug policy. The state still has very strict rules regarding drug possession. Those accused of non-violent drug offenses may feel like their alleged crime affects no one but themselves. Unfortunately, the state will still prosecute them aggressively, and they may end up with a lifelong criminal record because of the behavior that wouldn’t even be illegal in another state.
A guilty plea won’t protect you from the consequences of a drug charge, as it will just leave you at the mercy of a judge for sentencing and will saddle you with a criminal record for the rest of your life. There is an alternative option that might drastically reduce the impact of pending drug charges.
You can ask to undergo drug court proceedings
Defendants facing allegations of non-violence drug crimes may qualify to have their cases heard in Kentucky drug court instead of in criminal court. Drug court is very different from standard criminal proceedings.
Instead of a defendant and prosecutor fighting over whether someone committed a crime, the defendant cooperates with the court and asks for help addressing a substance abuse disorder. They usually have to attend numerous hearings and meetings with court officials and will potentially need to undergo extensive substance abuse counseling, if not inpatient rehabilitation services.
Throughout someone’s involvement with the Kentucky drug courts, they will typically be subject to randomized drug testing. Provided that you successfully complete all of the requirements established by the drug courts, your arrest won’t lead to a criminal conviction or to any criminal penalties.
The courts will eventually close your case, at which point you will not have a conviction on your record. Drug court is beneficial not just because it eliminates criminal penalties and criminal records but also because it helps support people who want to address the addiction that led to their criminal behavior. Learning more about your options when facing Kentucky drug charges can help you plan for the best future possible despite the allegations.