December 7th, 2017 by Attorney Dan Carman
Kentucky statutes spell out what sentence can be given for what level of crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, but there is some flexibility in what sentence a defendant in a particular case may receive. One reason it’s important to retain a defense attorney in a criminal case is that, if you choose to represent yourself, you simply won’t know how to effectively limit your potential exposure to prison time.
Most criminal cases end with a plea bargain agreement. Normally that means the defendant pleads guilty to a certain charge in order to avoid the uncertainties of a trial. The defendant and the prosecution come to an agreement as to the terms of the plea deal, but the judge has the final say. These cases often involve multiple charges, with one or more being dropped. Without knowledge of criminal law, a defendant won’t know the potential punishment for a specific charge and factors that may persuade a judge or prosecutor to agree to a lesser sentence.
For crimes under Kentucky law, sentencing guidelines are not cut in stone. Judges look at the facts of each case when handing down a final sentence and could give a sentence outside the suggested range. Major factors a judge can consider are the defendant’s behavior before, during and after the crime.
Actions that may increase a sentence above the suggested maximum are aggravating factors and include:
- Someone being killed in the course of the crime
- A crime victim being seriously injured
- Use of a weapon
There are also mitigating factors that may justify a sentence less than the suggested minimum, including:
- Helping law enforcement arrest others involved in the crime
- Whether the victim contributed significantly in provoking the defendant in some way
- The defendant was coerced or committed the crime under duress.
Under Kentucky statute, maximum sentences for misdemeanor are:
- Class A: The term can’t be more than twelve months.
- Class B: The term can’t be more than ninety days.
The maximum prison terms for felonies are:
- Class A: Not less than twenty years or more than fifty years, or life imprisonment
- Class B: Not less than ten years or more than twenty years
- Class C: Not less than five years or more than ten years
- Class D: Not less than one year or more than five years.
Whatever crime you have been charged with, Lexington, KY, BWI attorney Dan Carman can help. He was a Judge Advocate “JAG” (defense lawyer and prosecuting attorney) for felony charges against Marine Corps and Navy personnel. This experience gives him insight into both the prosecution and defense sides of the legal process, which can be very helpful to those facing criminal offense charges. He knows how the Kentucky criminal justice system operates and will work closely with you every step of the way.
Based in Lexington, he represents clients throughout Kentucky who find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Let him work with you to plan the aggressive defense that you will need. Use the convenient online inquiry form or call (859) 838-1415 for a free initial consultation.