Drug Possession & Distribution in KY

In Kentucky, it is a criminal offense to willfully possess an illegal controlled substance. Possession, as defined by Kentucky law, means the drugs are in your custody and under your control; it is not necessary that they be on your person. The severity of the charge depends on the substance in your possession.

If you are found in possession of any amount of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, GHB, or any narcotic classified as a Schedule I or II substance, you will face First Degree drug possession charges. Second Degree drug possession applies to drugs that are classified as Schedule I or II but which are not included in the First Degree category. This includes some prescription drugs.

Possession of marijuana is also illegal in Kentucky. Possession of less than 8 ounces is a misdemeanor. Possession of more than 8 ounces is usually charged as “possession with intent to sell” and carries felony penalties dependent on the amount in question and your criminal history.

Diversion & Deferred Prosecution

In some instances, those charged with possession of a controlled substance are eligible for a drug diversion program. Deferred prosecution is also an option in some circumstances, in which the defendant agrees to terms set by the prosecution and the judge, which likely will include enrolling in a substance abuse program. Upon successful completion of the program, charges are dismissed.

If law enforcement officers find illegal drugs in your possession, they will be looking for signs that you actually were involved in distribution. Things like having large quantities of the drug, or having packaging or scales or a large amount of money in your possession could be viewed as indications of drug trafficking, and the charges and attendant consequences will be ramped up considerably.

Distribution of Drugs

Drug distribution (or trafficking) is the selling, furnishing or delivering of an unlawful controlled substance, such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin and prescription drugs such as oxycodone. Distribution charges are often brought against people who try to sell drugs to an undercover officer or a confidential informant. In addition, when police are looking for evidence of distribution, the suspect’s text messages are typically a good source of this type of information.

Both federal and Kentucky state laws apply to drug distribution cases. Drug distribution charges differ depending on factors such as the type of drug, amount of drug and any prior offenses of the defendant.

If you are charged with drug distribution, you will be facing penalties that are much more serious than the penalties for simple drug possession. Several factors impact the penalties applied in distribution cases: type of drug, quantity of drug, whether minors were involved, whether the distribution happened near a school, whether there were prior convictions. In addition, possession or use of a firearm in conjunction with trafficking can result in a stiffer penalty.


Because a charge of distribution is a serious one and could have serious repercussions that last for many years, you would be wise to seek representation from an experienced attorney who will aggressively fight to have the charges reduced.

The actions of the law enforcement officials should be thoroughly scrutinized to determine if the laws pertaining to search and seizure were fully met. When evidence is found to be inadmissible because it was unlawfully obtained, it can greatly enhance the possibility that you will be found not guilty.

A phone call to Dan Carman could be the next step you need to take. We take seriously what could be serious business for you and your family. Contact us by phone at (859) 685-1055 or through our online form here.