Have you been charged with a drug crime in Lexington, KY? Drug charges are considered very serious under Kentucky law with severe penalties that may include large fines and lengthy prison terms. You do not need to face these charges alone; a Lexington drug crimes lawyer can serve as your advocate to fight for your freedom.
Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC to schedule a free case review to explore your legal options and possible defenses. We will help you aggressively fight the charges you are facing.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help When You Are Facing Drug Charges in Lexington
Drug crimes are harshly punished in Kentucky with little understanding or compassion, even when defendants are facing addiction. The criminal justice system focuses on punishment which can be harmful to people who are most in need of help. Prosecutors are often aggressive in pursuing drug charges and may seek any reason to upgrade charges.
When you are facing a drug charge in Lexington, you may feel helpless and frightened by the prospect of high fines, a long jail sentence, and difficulty finding employment later with a drug conviction. A Lexington criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights and fight for your freedom by exploring many possible legal defenses.
At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we are committed to giving every client a vigorous defense. We will work to:
- Gather evidence to support your defense
- Find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you
- Protect your rights against self-incrimination, unreasonable search and seizure, and unlawful arrest
- Negotiate with the prosecution to seek dismissal or reduction of your charges or a more lenient sentence
- Represent you in court if a satisfactory plea deal can’t be reached
The Lexington criminal defense lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC have more than a century of combined experience representing clients in and out of the courtroom. Our award-winning criminal defense attorneys include a former police officer and former prosecutor for greater insight into the tactics that the state will use against you.
Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC today to schedule a free case review with a defense attorney to explore possible legal defenses.
What Are Controlled Substances in Kentucky?
Kentucky classifies controlled dangerous substances into five schedules similar to federal law. Well-known drugs like cocaine and heroin are controlled substances as well as the compounds used to manufacture them. Prescription drugs may also be scheduled drugs.
- Schedule I controlled substances have a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical use.
- Schedule II controlled substances have accepted medical uses but a high potential for abuse.
- Schedule III controlled substances have a potential for abuse and accepted medical benefits.
- Schedule IV controlled substances have a low potential for abuse and accepted medical uses.
- Schedule V drugs have a lower potential for abuse and medical uses.
Common examples of controlled substances under Kentucky law include: Xanax, Ativan, Oxycontin, ketamine, heroin, marijuana, LSD, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
The schedule of the drug can determine the potential penalties of a drug crime. The amount of drugs may also affect the charge you face.
Common Drug Crimes in Lexington
Crimes involving controlled substances can relate to possession, cultivation, manufacturing, trafficking, or intent to sell. These are all separate offenses.
One of the most common drug charges in Lexington is possession of a controlled substance. You may be charged and convicted if a controlled substance is in your possession and under your control. This charge can be a first, second, or third-degree offense depending on the type and quantity of the drug.
- First degree drug possession is a Class D felony for a first offense and a Class C felony for a second or subsequent offense. This crime is charged for possession of a Schedule I or II narcotic, methamphetamine, and controlled substance analogues.
- Second degree drug possession is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class D felony for a second or subsequent offense. This crime is charged for possession of non-narcotic Schedule I or II drugs or most Schedule III drugs.
- Third degree drug possession is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class D felony for a second or subsequent offense. This charge refers to possession of Schedule IV or V drugs.
Note that a controlled substance does not need to be found on your person to be convicted of drug possession if it can be reasonably shown that the substance was under your control.
Drug Distribution or Trafficking
Drug trafficking and distribution is a felony in Lexington with charges that depend on the area, quantity, substance, and who the drugs were sold to. If the drugs were sold to minors or near a school, penalties can be increased, for example.
Drug trafficking can be charged in many ways:
- First degree: Most commonly, this involves 2+ grams of heroin, methamphetamine, or fentanyl; 4+ grams of cocaine; or 10+ dosages of a Schedule I or II narcotic. This is a Class D felony for a first offense and a Class C felony for subsequent offenses.
- Second degree: This involves 20+ dosage units of a Schedule III drug or 10+ dosage units of a non-narcotic Schedule I or II drug or anabolic steroids. It is a Class D felony.
- Third degree: This involves 20+ units of a Schedule IV or V drug. It is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense involving 120 or fewer dosage units, a Class D felony for more than 120 units, and a Class D felony for a second offense.
- Aggravated trafficking: This is charged for 100 grams or more of heroin, a Class B felony.
- Trafficking in marijuana: For less than 8 ounces of marijuana, it is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class D felony for subsequent offenses. If under 5 pounds, it is increased to a Class D felony for a first offense and Class B felony for subsequent offenses.
It’s not uncommon for prosecutors to attempt to escalate a simple drug possession to much more serious trafficking charges.
Manufacturing a controlled substance is considered a much more serious crime in Lexington than drug possession. Manufacturing methamphetamine is a Class B felony under Kentucky law for a first offense and a Class A felony for subsequent offenses.
Federal Charges After a Lexington Drug Charge Arrest
In most cases, defendants in Lexington arrested for a drug crime are charged under Kentucky state law. However, you may also face federal drug charges under the Controlled Substances Act. This law makes it illegal to manufacture, possess, distribute, or dispense any drug on the federal controlled substances schedules:
- Schedule I: LSD, ecstasy, marijuana, and heroin
- Schedule II: Adderall, Vicodin, oxycodone, methamphetamine, and cocaine
- Schedule III: Ketamine, testosterone, and anabolic steroids
- Schedule IV: Xanax, Darvocet, Ambien, and Valium
- Schedule V: Parepectolin, Lomotil, Motofen, and Lyrica
Drugs on the first two schedules are considered unsafe and highly addictive. The higher the schedule, the higher the severity if you are convicted of a drug crime.
Federal charges are generally more serious than charges under state law with more serious penalties and a different legal process. Suhre & Associates, LLC represents Lexington residents who are facing federal drug crimes.
Penalties for Drug Crime Conviction in Kentucky
Drug crimes in Lexington can range from possession and transportation of controlled services to prescription fraud, intent to sell, and manufacturing. In addition to the type of action you have been accused of, the schedule of the drug involved will also play a major role in the potential penalties.
Depending on the charge, you may be facing the following penalties:
- Class A felony: 20 to 50 years in prison
- Class B felony: 10 to 20 years in prison
- Class C felony: 5o to 10 years in prison
- Class D felony: Up to 3 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 (or double the gain from the crime)
- Class A misdemeanor: 90 days to 1 year in jail and a $500 fine
- Class B misdemeanor: Up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $250
Your Lexington drug crime lawyer will work to have your charges dismissed or reduced. Depending on the charge and your criminal history, you may qualify for a reduced sentence such as deferred prosecution or presumptive probation.
Persistent Felony Offender Status
There are increased penalties if you have been convicted of prior felony charges when you are facing new drug charges. If you are found to be a persistent felony offender in the first degree, a currently charged Class B felony will have an increased prison sentence of at least 20 years. For charges that are currently a Class C or D felony, the prison sentence increases to at least 10 years. If you are a persistent felony offender in the second degree, your sentence can be increased to the next highest degree for the crime.
Defending Against Drug Charges in Lexington, KY
You have the right to defend yourself if you are accused of a drug-related criminal offense in Fayette County. Our attorneys will carefully review the details of the charges against you and determine which defense strategies might be most effective. This could include aruging any, some, or all of the following:
- You were the victim of an unlawful arrest or an illegal search and seizure
- You didn’t have actual or constructive possession of an illegal controlled substance or paraphernalia
- The drugs were planted, and you didn’t know that the drugs were in your possession
- The substance in your possession is not classified as a controlled substance or analogues
Many times, evidence in drug cases is secured illegally. If we find that this has happened to you, we’ll immediately file a motion to have the tainted evidence excluded from the state’s case. In that situation, prosecutors might be forced to discuss a plea deal or drop the charges altogether.
Contact a Lexington Drug Crimes Lawyer
Are you facing a drug charge in Lexington? While you may feel overwhelmed and hopeless, you have many legal options to explore. An experienced Lexington drug crimes lawyer can help you explore defenses and fight to have your charges or sentence reduced, or even dismissed.
Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC today for a free consultation with a drug charge lawyer in Lexington who can help you protect your rights and fight for your freedom.