Have you been charged with drug trafficking in Lexington, KY? This charge is the most serious felony drug offense in Kentucky with extremely harsh penalties if convicted. You deserve the best possible legal defense to help you protect your rights and fight for your freedom.
Suhre & Associates, LLC is here to fight for you. Contact our law office to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lexington drug trafficking lawyer as soon as possible to begin working on your defense.
How Suhre & Associates, LLC Can Help You Defend Yourself Against a Drug Trafficking Charge in Lexington
When you are charged with a serious drug offense in Lexington, Kentucky, you will likely face an aggressive prosecution with little compassion. Law enforcement and prosecutors often try to use drug users as examples with no sympathy for addiction. This even extends to overcharging simple drug possession as trafficking whenever possible.
You deserve an advocate on your side to protect your constitutional rights and fight for your freedom. The criminal defense team at Suhre & Associates, LLC, is committed to giving every client a vigorous defense, regardless of the alleged offense.
We have more than a century of combined legal experience in and out of the courtroom. Our award-winning defense attorneys include a former prosecutor and former police officer to give us valuable insight into the tactics the state will use against you.
When you choose Suhre & Associates, LLC to defend you, count on us to:
- Gather exculpatory evidence to strengthen your defense
- Explore all possible defense options and offer sound legal advice
- Analyze the prosecution’s case for weaknesses
- Protect your constitutional rights at every step
- Negotiate on your behalf for a dismissal or reduction of the charges or a satisfactory plea deal
- Represent you in court if needed
You do not have to face this legal battle alone. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation with an experienced drug crimes lawyer in Lexington who will tirelessly defend you.
What Is Drug Trafficking in Lexington?
When most people think of drug trafficking, they imagine transporting controlled substances, particularly across state lines or national borders. However, drug trafficking can refer to a variety of drug-related offenses.
Under Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 218A.010, trafficking refers to distributing, manufacturing, dispensing, selling, or transferring controlled substances. It can also refer to simply possessing a controlled substance with the intent to do any of these.
This is a very broad definition and allows law enforcement and prosecutors to upgrade a simple drug possession charge to drug trafficking based on the circumstances of the offense. In many cases, circumstantial evidence such as the amount of the controlled substance or the fact that there are two or more types of substances can be used to support a charge of drug trafficking.
While purchasing, selling, manufacturing, transporting, or possessing controlled substances can be enough for a trafficking charge, the amount of the drug found plays an important role. These crimes can only be punishable as trafficking when a certain amount of the substance is found. The amount varies by controlled substance, but it does not take much to face a trafficking charge instead of simple possession.
Trafficking in controlled substances in Kentucky may be charged in the first, second, or third degree.
First-Degree Drug Trafficking
Charges for first-degree drug trafficking involve:
- 4 or more grams of cocaine
- 2 or more grams of methamphetamine
- Any quantity of heroin, fentanyl, LSD, GHB, and certain other drugs
- 10 or more units of a narcotic Schedule I or II drug
This is a Class C felony for a first offense and a Class B felony for a subsequent offense. Trafficking these drugs below these amounts is a Class D felony for a first offense and a Class C felony for a subsequent offense. If convicted of a Class C felony or higher, you are not eligible for release on probation, parole, or early release until you serve at least 50% of your sentence.
Second-Degree Drug Trafficking
Charges for second-degree drug trafficking involve:
- 10 or more units of a Schedule I or II drug that is not a narcotic
- 20 or more units of a Schedule III drug
This is a Class D felony for a first offense and a Class C felony for subsequent offenses.
Third-Degree Drug Trafficking
Third-degree trafficking is charged for crimes involving trafficking a Schedule IV or V drug. This is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense in most cases or a Class D felony if more than 120 units are involved. It is a Class D felony for subsequent offenses.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Kentucky
A drug trafficking conviction can lead to a long prison sentence, sometimes lasting decades. The penalties for drug trafficking depend on the type of controlled substance and its schedule. Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances have the highest penalties.
Kentucky recently stiffened the penalties for heroin trafficking in particular, allowing individuals who are convicted of trafficking any amount of heroin to be charged with a Class C felony. This makes it even easier for law enforcement to upgrade heroin possession to trafficking. Previously, individuals possessing less than two grams would be charged with a Class D felony on a first offense.
If convicted of trafficking a controlled substance in Lexington, you may face the following penalties.
- Class B felony: 10 to 20 years in prison
- Class C felony: 5 to 10 years in prison
- Class D felony: 1 to 5 years in prison
- Class A misdemeanor: 90 days to 12 months in jail
In addition to prison time, you may face additional penalties if you are convicted of trafficking in Kentucky. These penalties will depend on your criminal history and the degree of the charge.
You may be sentenced to a long probation term, community service, and property forfeiture.
Kentucky law allows police agencies to seize property and cash they suspect is related to trafficking through asset forfeiture. This law gives law enforcement an incentive as they are allowed to keep and use the property, but there is little transparency or oversight.
Drug Trafficking as a State or Federal Charge
Drug trafficking can rise to a federal offense in some cases. You may face not only state but federal charges, or only one or the other.
In general, drug trafficking becomes a federal offense if any of the following are involved:
- Transportation if drugs across jurisdictions, state lines, or national borders
- The arrest is made by federal law enforcement
- Large quantities of controlled substances
- Money laundering or large sums of cash
- Large scale prescription or Medicare fraud
- Death cases linked to the offense outside the state’s jurisdiction
Federal drug trafficking is one of the most serious criminal offenses. Federal charges generally carry much harsher penalties than state laws with long mandatory minimum sentences.
Possible Defenses to a Drug Trafficking Charge
Drug trafficking is often charged when someone is found in possession of drugs exceeding a certain quantity or weight or when there is some indication the drugs are intended for sale. Many cases of drug trafficking are overcharged by law enforcement who push for the most severe charge rather than simple drug possession.
An experienced Lexington drug trafficking defense lawyer will fight to have your charges reduced or even have your case dismissed, when possible.
There are many challenges that may be raised in your case such as:
- There was no intent to sell or distribute the drugs because they were for personal use
- The drugs were not yours, even if they were found in your home or vehicle
- Unlawful search and seizure were used to gain evidence against you
- Your vehicle was stopped and searched without probable cause
- Mistake of fact. This means you believed the substance you were transporting was something other than controlled substances
- Entrapment or coercion by law enforcement
While you may feel hopeless and overwhelmed when faced with a serious felony charge and a long potential prison sentence, remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we will work tirelessly to defend you against your charge you are facing and build the strongest defense possible.
Contact our law office to begin discussing your case and the best defenses available to you.
Contact a Lexington Drug Trafficking Crimes Lawyer for a Free Case Review
A trafficking conviction in Kentucky can change your life forever. In addition to a long prison sentence, you are facing a loss of your rights, your good name, and your employment opportunities once released. Your case is not hopeless with an experienced Lexington drug trafficking defense lawyer to help you build your defense.
Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC today to schedule a free consultation with a Lexington drug trafficking lawyer. Our law firm will give you the vigorous legal defense you deserve.