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Kentucky has some of the harshest drug possession laws in the country. While many states have relaxed their drug laws and even allowed certain substances for medical and even recreational use, the penalties for possession in the Commonwealth are still very stiff. If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, the consequences for a conviction may be far worse than you believe.

If you are in this situation, you may think that you can talk your way out of it. This would be a very big mistake. In fact, under the wrong set of circumstances, your drug possession charge maybe enhanced to a more serious charge, such as possession with intent to sell. The best way to fight the charges against you is to retain strong legal counsel, so you can have your case thoroughly reviewed, go over your legal options, and employ the most effective defense strategy.

Louisville criminal defense attorney Ron Aslam has extensive experience working in the Kentucky criminal justice system. Ron is a former prosecutor, and he has spent many years working on both sides of the fence in a criminal proceeding. Ron thoroughly understands the inner workings of the prosecutor’s office, the common tactics they use, and how to successfully defend against these tactics. If you are facing a drug possession charge, Ron will fight hard to protect your rights, and he will put his experience to work to explore every potential legal avenue toward minimizing the negative consequences as much as possible.

Kentucky Drug Possession Laws

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, drug possession means that the drugs were in the defendant’s custody or under the defendant’s control. Kentucky classifies drugs into five different “schedules” based on the type of substance and how it is used.

  • Schedule I: These are drugs that are considered to have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use.
  • Schedule II: Drugs in this category are also considered to have a high potential for abuse, but they have at least one severely restricted medical use.
  • Schedule III: Drugs in this category are considered to have a potential for abuse that is not as high as those in Schedule I and Schedule II, and they also have accepted medical uses.
  • Schedule IV: Drugs in this category are considered to have a lower potential for abuse than those in Schedule III, along with some acceptable medical uses.
  • Schedule V: Drugs in this category have the lowest potential for abuse and also have some acceptable medical uses.

Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, marijuana, mescaline (or peyote), MDMA (or ecstasy), GHB, psilocybin, synthetic marijuana and analogs (spice, K2), methaqualone (Quaalude), Khat (Cathinone) and bath salts (synthetic stimulants).

For Schedule II through V drugs, you can view the full listing at:

When you are found to be in possession of a controlled substance, the offense you are charged with depends on the type of substance you were in possession of, the amount you possessed, and other circumstances in your case. You may be charged in one of three categories:

Possession in the First-Degree

Someone who knowingly and unlawfully possesses certain Schedule I or Schedule II substances may be charged with first-degree possession. First time offenders are typically charged with a Class D felony, and second time offenders may be charged with a Class C felony. Penalties may include heavy fines and prison time, although first and second offenders may be eligible for presumptive probation or a deferred prosecution program. For third and subsequent offenses, the defendant is not eligible for either of these options.

Possession in the Second Degree

If someone knowingly and unlawfully possesses a Schedule I or Schedule II drug that is not a narcotic, or possesses a Schedule III drug other than LSD, phencyclidine, or marijuana, they may be charged with second-degree possession. For a first-time offender, the charge would typically be a Class A misdemeanor, with fines of up to $500 and up to one year in jail. For second or subsequent offenders, the charge may be upgraded to a class D felony.

Possession in the Third Degree

If someone knowingly and unlawfully possesses a Schedule IV or Schedule V drug, they may be charged with third-degree possession. For first-time offenders, this would normally be a Class A misdemeanor. For second-time offenders, the charge may be upgraded to a Class D felony.

Marijuana Possession

Although it is a Schedule I drug, marijuana is given special consideration. It is currently a crime to possess any amount of marijuana in Kentucky, although lawmakers have talked about decriminalizing possession of very small amounts. Marijuana possession is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable with fines of up to $250 and up to 45 days in jail. However, possession of larger amounts could also lead to a trafficking charge, which could upgrade the offense to a felony if you are in possession of more than 8 ounces.

Defending your Drug Possession Charge in Kentucky

In order for someone to be convicted for possession of a controlled substance, the Commonwealth must prove:

  • The identity of the substance that was found;
  • That the defendant was in actual or constructive possession of the drugs;
  • That the defendant was aware that they were in possession of the drugs.

There are various defenses that may be employed to fight the prosecution’s case against you. The right defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. For example, if you were found to be in “constructive possession” of the drugs (i.e., you knew about and/or had control over the drugs, but they were not on your person), an effective defense might be to assert that the drugs belonged to someone else who had access to them. On the other hand, if you are found to be in “actual possession” (i.e., the drugs were found on your person), you could attack the charge by claiming that the drugs were unlawfully obtained through an illegal search and seizure, and therefore, they are inadmissible as evidence.

Contact Louisville Criminal Defense Attorney Ron Aslam Today

If you have been charged with drug possession in Kentucky, you cannot afford to be without a strong defense. Attorney Ron Aslam is ready to go to work for you and to help preserve your legal rights and freedom. Call our office today at 502.581.1676 to set up a free initial consultation. You may also send us a message through our online contact form or stop by our Louisville office at your convenience.

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