What Are Crimes Against the Person?

Crimes are generally broken down based on the nature of the offense, and they can be broadly organized into the following categories:

Crimes Against Property

These offenses involve interference with another individual’s right to use or enjoy their property and can include theft, burglary, arson, vandalism, or embezzlement. The crucial element here is that there’s no force against an individual; rather, it’s directed at their possessions.

Crimes Against Society

Crimes against society are infractions that violate the laws designed to maintain public order and decency. Examples include drug trafficking, prostitution, gambling offenses, and crimes against public morality or justice – such as bribery or obstruction of justice. These actions primarily affect the community at large rather than targeting individual victims.

Crimes Against the Person

Crimes against the person encompass a range of offenses characterized by harm or the threat of harm directed at individuals. They significantly impact victims’ physical safety, mental health, and overall well-being. For defendants facing charges like these, potential penalties are often severe because these crimes are treated with the utmost seriousness in the criminal justice system.

Understanding some of the specific crimes within this category, as well as their penalties, is essential. Some of the most common crimes against the person in Kentucky include the following:


Murder charges in Kentucky are among the most severe criminal allegations anyone can face. With the premeditation and intention to kill, convictions carry severe penalties reflective of their seriousness. A Class A felony conviction for murder will lead to a minimum prison sentence of 20 years or possibly life imprisonment.

Aggravating circumstances such as a victim being a police officer may elevate the punishment to include the death penalty. 


In Kentucky, the law treats robbery offenses with severity due to their violent nature. These offenses include taking someone’s property through physical force or intimidation. The punishment depends on the circumstances, including whether an injury occurred or whether a weapon was used in the process.

The penalties for robbery in Kentucky are structured to reflect the gravity of the crime and its impact on victims. For example, robbery in the first degree is a Class B felony charge that carries up to 20 years in prison. 

Sex Offenses

In Kentucky, sex offense laws are aimed at preventing and punishing non-consensual and harmful sexual behavior. Sex crimes in this state range from misdemeanors to felonies and don’t always require physical contact with another person; actions such as indecent exposure can also result in charges.

The severity of the charge typically hinges on a range of factors, like:

  • Prior criminal history, particularly those involving sexual misconduct
  • The amount of physical or psychological harm suffered by the victim 
  • Intent behind the act 
  • Relative ages between the defendant and the alleged victim

The legal repercussions for being convicted of a sex offense in Kentucky are severe, with consequences that could include imprisonment, considerable fines, probation, and registration as a sex offender. 


Assault is a serious offense in Kentucky. It generally involves causing serious physical injury intentionally, with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or under circumstances showing extreme indifference to human life. Wanton conduct that leads to severe harm can also fall under assault under state law. 

The penalties of assault depend on the specific circumstances, but can range from a misdemeanor to a felony and can carry probation or significant prison time and fines.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence in Kentucky is an umbrella term for various crimes committed within the context of a family or intimate relationship involving physical harm, threats, harassment, and sexual offenses. Both the degree of violence and immediate threat level affect whether these allegations result in misdemeanor or felony charges.

Penalties can be severe and extend beyond imprisonment and fines to include mandatory treatment programs, protective orders, loss of custody or visitation rights with children, and restrictions on firearm possession.

Potential Collateral Consequences of Crimes Against the Person

Collateral consequences of crimes against the person can significantly impact almost every aspect of a defendant’s life beyond the immediate penalties handed out by a court. These are non-criminal sanctions that arise automatically due to a conviction and may endure even after serving time or paying fines. These most often include:

Loss of Employment Opportunities

A conviction can limit job prospects, particularly in careers requiring a clean record or where background checks are standard.

Restriction on Living Arrangements

Housing opportunities may be reduced due to restrictions that disallow those with violent criminal histories from living in certain types of housing or complexes.

Immigration Consequences

Non-citizens could face deportation or denial of naturalization as a result of a conviction for a crime against the person.

Difficulty Securing Loans and Financial Aid

Convictions might impede a person’s ability to secure loans for education or business ventures. It may also affect eligibility for government benefits and financial aid.

Damage to Reputation and Personal Relationships

These types of convictions can carry social stigma, potentially leading to strained relationships with friends, family members, and partners. Public knowledge of a conviction may lead to lifelong reputational damage.

While this overview isn’t exhaustive, it provides insight into the wide-reaching implications of a conviction for a crime against the person. 

If facing charges for a crime against the person, there are several legal defenses available that can either exonerate you or mitigate the consequences. Some of the most common include:

Self-Defense/Defense of Others

This is among the most common legal defense to violent crimes against the person. If you can demonstrate that your actions were a necessary response to an imminent threat to your safety or the safety of another individual, this could completely justify the use of force in protecting against that threat. 

This defense involves proving that you reasonably believed there was an immediate danger and that the level of force used was necessary and reasonable under those circumstances.

In circumstances where an individual has consented to a certain act, it may negate the requisite criminal intent for charges stemming from that activity. This strategy is commonly employed in sexual offense cases, arguing that the alleged victim willingly participated, thus potentially relieving you of liability. 

Demonstrating consent often involves examining communications and agreements between parties prior to the incident. However, this can be difficult to prove as it often comes down to he said/she said.


If you raise an alibi defense, you are asserting that you could not have committed the crime because you were elsewhere when it occurred. An effective alibi typically requires solid proof through credible witnesses, video surveillance footage, or time-stamped documents showing your presence at another location during the time the incident occurred.

False Allegations

In some cases, you might be accused of a crime against a person even though it never actually took place. These false allegations can stem from several motivations, like revenge, jealousy, or to gain an advantage in civil proceedings such as divorce or custody battles.

To dispel false accusations successfully, your legal team may rely on inconsistencies in the accuser’s story, lack of physical evidence, witness testimony to counter the claims, or any digital evidence – such as texts or emails – that undermine the credibility of the allegations.

Contact Our Lexington Criminal Defense Attorneys If You’ve Been Charged With a Crime Against the Person

The implications of being charged with crimes against the person in Kentucky are serious and long-lasting, underscoring the necessity for strong legal representation. For help, reach out to Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers today at 859-569-4014 to schedule a free consultation with a Lexington criminal defense lawyer.