What is the Average Sentence for Drug Possession?

February 19th, 2019 by Attorney Dan Carman

What is the Average Sentence for Drug Possession?

What is the average sentence for drug possession? The possession of many different kinds of drugs is considered illegal under Kentucky law, leaving it difficult to determine the average sentence for drug possession. If found guilty of possession, the sentence will vary depending on the amount in possession, what drug was possessed and whether or not the defendant is a repeat offender. If the amount is large enough, a defendant may be charged with possession with intent to sell.

It’s a crime to possess any amount of marijuana in Kentucky. Possession could result in a fine of up to $250, up to 45 days in jail, or both. The penalties for possession with intent to sell increase as the amount possessed increases.

  • Up to eight ounces: A fine of up to $500, up to 12 months in jail, or both. Subsequent convictions can result in a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 and five to ten years in prison, or both.
  • From eight ounces to five pounds: A fine of between $1,000 and $10,000, one to five years in prison, or both. Subsequent convictions can result in a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, five to ten years in prison, or both.
  • Five pounds or more: A fine of $1,000 to $10,000, five to ten years in prison, or both. Subsequent convictions can mean a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, ten to twenty years in prison, or both.

What is the average sentence for drug possession?

Penalties for possession of other illegal drugs vary depending on what drug (or controlled dangerous substance (CDS)) is possessed, the amount and prior conviction records. Kentucky law breaks down illegal drugs into different groups or schedules:

  • Schedule I drugs: High potential for abuse and no accepted medical use (heroin, LSD)
  • Schedule II drugs: High potential for abuse, but have one or more severely restricted medical uses (oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine)
  • Schedule III drugs: Potential for abuse that is less than Schedules I and II drugs and there are accepted medical uses (nandrolone, testosterone)
  • Schedule IV drugs: Low potential for abuse compared with Schedule III drugs and there are accepted medical uses (Ambien, Ativan, Darvocet)
  • Schedule V drugs: Low potential for abuse compared with Schedule IV drugs and there are accepted medical uses (codeine, atropine).

If you are found guilty of knowingly possessing specified amounts of Schedule I or II substances, you could serve up to one to five years in prison and owe a fine of $1,000 to $10,000. For a first or second offense, you may be able to get probation or a deferred prosecution program.

If you knowingly possess specified amounts of Schedule I or II substances but they’re not narcotic drugs, or some substances in Schedule III, you may face a class A misdemeanor charge. Penalties include a fine of $500, up to a year in jail, or both. If you knowingly possess Schedule IV or V substances, you could be charged with a class A misdemeanor.

Every criminal case is different.

Back to the initial question: “What is the average sentence for drug possession?” Given all the variables, there is no “average” sentence. What will happen to you if you are charged with drug possession depends on the facts of your case and the applicable laws. Given your unique situation, you may have valid defenses, or a plea bargain agreement may result in possession charges being dropped. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, this may be the outcome for your case, not a fine or jail time.

If you have been charged with a drug possession crime in Kentucky, or believe you’re being investigated by law enforcement, you need a criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and your future. Contact us today so you can discuss your situation with one of the attorneys at the Lexington, Kentucky-based Carman Law Firm. As criminal defense attorneys with years of experience, we offer thorough, experienced representation.