DRUG POSSESSION LAWS IN KENTUCKY


Penalties for Possession of Controlled Substances in Kentucky

Drug laws are among the most complex criminal laws on the books. In Kentucky, class designations are assigned to the various drug offenses; specific drug offenses are grouped into these classes; sentences are then prescribed according to mandated ranges. These drug sentencing guidelines set absolute minimum and maximum sentences for specific drug crimes and, as in most states, the guidelines largely remove any discretion from judges when it comes to setting sentences.

Federal Controlled Substance Schedules ]

Since the class schedules among illegal drugs overlap, and because the penalties can be so difficult to summarize in a brief manner, primary reference is often made only to the class designation. Reference to the individual Kentucky state code(s) should provide more detailed information; the specific Kentucky state code(s) dealing with drug offenses are listed below.

Categories of drug offenses in Kentucky include the following:

  • Drug possession
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Drug cultivation
  • Prescription drug fraud
  • Intent to sell controlled substances

Drug Rehab in Lieu of Jail Time

In the case of drug conviction in Kentucky, one of the most prudent actions for you and your lawyer to take is to work toward a drug rehab or treatment option in lieu of some or all of the jail time or incarceration portion of the sentence. Many guests at Discovery Place (just outside Nashville, Tennessee) have had highly positive, effectual experiences in our thirty-day residential recovery program and our long-term recovery programs. If you find yourself in this situation, please get in touch with the Admissions team at Discovery Place by calling 1-800-725-0922.

Drug Possession in Kentucky

Drug possession in Kentucky means the drugs are actually in one's custody and under one's control. A conviction for drug possession must be based on concrete evidence legally acquired through proper police procedure, beyond a reasonable doubt.

The consequences for breaking Kentucky drug possession laws are based on whether the charge is considered a first-degree offense, second-degree offense, or third-degree offense. Kentucky law determines the degree by the type of drug involved.

Drug Possession Laws in Tennessee ]

First Degree

A person is guilty of possession of a controlled substance in the first degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses a drug that contains any quantity of methamphetamine, any narcotics (i.e., opioids) in Schedule I or Schedule IILSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), PCP (phencyclidine), GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid), or flunitrazepam (Rohypnol, or roofies). All of the above also includes the salts, isomers, and salts of isomers relating to the above drugs. The penalty in Kentucky for possession of a controlled substance in the first degree is:

First offense: Class D felony
Second or subsequent offense: Class C felony

Second Degree

A person is guilty of possession of a controlled substance in the second degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses a drug classified in Schedule I or Schedule II which is not a narcotic drug (i.e., opioid) or a controlled substance classified in Schedule III except for LSD, phencyclidine, or marijuana. The penalty in Kentucky for possession of a controlled substance in the second degree is:

First offense: Class A misdemeanor
Second or subsequent offense: Class D felony

Third Degree

A person is guilty of possession of a drug in the third degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance classified in Schedule IV or Schedule V. The penalty in Kentucky for possession of a controlled substance in the third degree is:

First offense: Class A misdemeanor
Second or subsequent offense: Class D felony

Drug Trafficking in Kentucky

In Kentucky, drug trafficking charges are much more serious than drug possession offenses. The decision to charge a person with drug trafficking rather than drug possession in Kentucky is typically based on the quantity of drugs in the suspect’s possession, the packaging of the drugs, or the presence of related items like large amounts of cash, scales, plastic bags, etc.

The most severe penalties in Kentucky relate to for trafficking (or conspiring to traffic) drugs categorized as Schedule I or Schedule II substances. The first conviction results in a fine of up to $10,000 along with possible imprisonment for up to ten years; the penalties are doubled for repeat offenses.

Trafficking Marijuana in Kentucky

Kentucky law considers the first offense of trafficking marijuana involving less than eight (8) ounces of marijuana to be a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties for the sale or transfer of less than eight ounces of marijuana range from one to three years in the county jail and/or a fine of less than $500.00. Penalties increase to as high as ten years in the state penitentiary and/or a fine of up to $10,000.00 for any offense involving five or more pounds of marijuana.

The possession of eight (8) or more ounces of marijuana is deemed to be clear evidence that the person possessing the marijuana had the intent of selling or transferring it. The same applies to planting, cultivating, or harvesting marijuana plants. Kentucky drug laws state that it is self-evident in the case where five (5) or more marijuana plants were planted, cultivated, or harvested, that it was for the purpose of sale or transfer.

Drug Manufacturing in Kentucky

Manufacturing Methamphetamine

A person is guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine when he knowingly and unlawfully manufactures methamphetamine; or, with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, possesses two or more chemicals or two or more pieces of equipment used in the manufacture of meth.

Manufacture of methamphetamine is a Class B felony for the first offense and a Class A felony for subsequent offenses.

Kentucky Penal Code Designation of Offenses

Class D Felony: Imprisonment for at least one (1) but not more than five (5) years
Class C Felony: Imprisonment of at least five (5) but not more than ten (10) years
Class A Misdemeanor: Imprisonment with a maximum of ninety (90) days to twelve months

Kentucky Marijuana Laws

Code Section: 218A.010, et seq. Possession: Class A misdemeanor (includes less than 5 plants); over 5 plants: Class D felony
Sale: Under 8 oz.: Class A misdemeanor; Subsequent offense: Class D felony; 8 oz. to 5 lbs.: Class D felony; Subsequent offense: Class C felony Over 5 lbs.: Class C felony; Subsequent offense: Class B felony; Possession of over 8 oz. is considered intent to sell

Kentucky Cocaine Laws

Code Section: 218A.010, et seq.
Possession: Class D felony 1st offense, Class C felony subsequent offenses
Sale: Class C felony 1st offense, Class B felony subsequent offenses
Selling to minor: Class C felony 1st offense, Class B felony subsequent offenses
Trafficking: Class C felony 1st offense, Class B felony subsequent offenses; Higher penalties within 1000 yards of a school

Kentucky Heroin Laws

Code Section: 218A.010, et seq.
Possession: Class D felony 1st offense, Class C felony subsequent offenses
Sale: Class C felony 1st offense, Class B felony subsequent offenses
Selling to minor: Class C felony 1st offense, Class B felony subsequent offense
Trafficking: First offense: Class C felony 1st offense, Class B felony subsequent offenses; Higher penalties within 1000 yards of a school

Resources: Drug Possession Laws in Kentucky