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Kentucky drug crime classifications

Drug crimes and charges fall under different classifications based on various factors.

In Kentucky, charges for possession, trafficking and manufacturing present varying potential sentencing based on the type and quantity of the drug. The judge will also consider your intended use for the drugs.


If authorities find you with drugs in your possession, the consequences you face depend on the degree of the offense and whether the proof provided offers evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The degrees include:

  • First-degree: knowingly possessing Schedule I or II controlled substances
  • Second-degree: knowingly possessing Schedule I or II non-narcotic drugs, as well as some Schedule III substances
  • Third-degree: knowingly possessing Schedule IV or V substances

Sentencing for each degree depends on whether it is your first offense. Persistent offenders face more severe charges.


Trafficking is a more severe crime than possession. Evidence of trafficking includes possession of a more significant amount of drugs. Additionally, if you have a large amount of cash or items associated with drug distribution, such as a scale or bags, you may face trafficking charges. The potential sentencing for trafficking varies depending on the type and amount of drugs.


Manufacturing is the most severe drug offense. In Kentucky, the manufacturing of methamphetamine is the most common manufacturing drug offense. If caught with the substances and equipment used to create this drug, you may face a Class B or Class A felony charge, depending on your criminal record.

People facing drug possession charges can sometimes avoid jail through alternative sentencing.

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