Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Heroin Possession in Kentucky: Penalties, etc.
Heroin is back.
I’m not sure why, but it’s back. In a big way. I wish I could give you some statistics regarding how many more cases of heroin possession have made their way through Kentucky courthouses than, say, five years ago – but I don’t have that information. All I can tell you is that five years ago I saw very few heroin cases, and over the past 12 months, heroin possession has become a lot more prevalent.
Heroin is a Schedule I narcotic, pursuant to KRS 218A.050(2), which defines all Opium derivatives as such. Schedule I is the classification for the most dangerous drugs, those which are considered to have a high potential for abuse and are generally without medicinal value. This criteria for classification is enumerated in KRS 218A.040 (and, if I can recall correctly, it is borrowed from the language in federal statutes for drug classification).
Possession of a Schedule I narcotic, like heroin, is a pretty serious deal in Kentucky. The name of the crime is Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (known in the legal community as POCS 1– pronounced “pocks first”). It is a class D felony, carrying a penalty of 1-3 years.
Typically, a class D felony carries a penalty of 1-5 years, but fortunately for everyone who likes a hit of laudanum when the headaches start, house bill 463 (HB 463) came through Kentucky like a tornado of common sense and eased some of the penalties for non-violent, victimless drug possession.
Guess what else is a Schedule I narcotic.
Ok, seriously, we’re not going to play this game if you’re not going to guess.
It’s marijuana. Marijuana is a schedule I narcotic in Kentucky (and in many other places). “But Greg!?” you ask, “Didn’t you say that the criteria for schedule I narcotics includes 1) the high potential for abuse and 2) a lack of medicinal value?” That’s a phenomenal question and I’m glad you asked it. The answer is yes, and it appears that Kentucky legislators are completely ignoring the AMA, and countless doctors that have unequivocally stated that marijuana does have medicinal value. Further, the fact that marijuana is not physically addictive seems to be ignored, regarding the “high potential for abuse” issue.
That does NOT mean that possession of marijuana counts as POCS 1. There is a more specific statute governing marijuana possession, and whenever a general statute and a more specific statute conflict, you are supposed to rely on the more specific statute. For more on marijuana, see my post “How Much Marijuana is Too Much Marijuana?”
We got a little off track today, because today’s post was supposed to be about heroin. Sorry about that. I just wanted to show you that your government thinks heroin and marijuana should be classified in the same category. Which is asinine.
Long story short – heroin is back and possession of heroin can get you in a lot of trouble.
If you have been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, you should have a lawyer that knows the law and fights for your rights. Don’t get a lawyer who “dabbles” in drug possession law. Get an experienced Louisville drug possession lawyer. Call 502.618.4949 for a free consultation. Ask for Greg Simms.
Simms & Reed, PLLC. Individual Attention. Extraordinary Results.