Criminal Charges in Kentucky
The seriousness of a charge depends on whether it is a felony, misdemeanor, or infraction.
Felonies are the most serious kinds of crimes. Crimes are often considered felonies when punishable by more than one year in prison. Examples include murder, rape, burglary, and the sale or trafficking of illegal substances.
There are four classes of Felonies in Kentucky: Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D.
Class A Felony
Class A offenses are the most serious, such as murder, rape of a child under the age of 12 years, and other heinous crimes. These convictions result in 20-50 years in prison.
Class B Felony
Class B felonies include first-degree manslaughter, rape, and sodomy, and can result in 10 to 20 years in prison.
Class C Felony
Crimes such as unauthorized and unlawful access to a computer, unauthorized use of a credit card involving $10,000 or more, second-degree assault, second-degree manslaughter, and trafficking in a controlled substance. A Class C felony conviction can result in five to ten years in prison.
Class D Felony
Crimes such as a convicted felon possessing a firearm, unauthorized use of a credit card involving between $500 and $1,000, first-degree stalking, possession of a controlled substance, and first-degree wanton endangerment are classified as Class D felonies. Class D felony convictions can result in one to five years in prison.
Misdemeanors are crimes considered to be less serious and are usually punishable by up to a year in jail. Some common misdemeanors include drunk driving, shoplifting, and other minor offenses. In some instances, the first offense is a misdemeanor and a repeat offense becomes a felony.
There are three classes of misdemeanors in Kentucky: Class A, Class B, and Mini-Class B.
Class A Misdemeanors
Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to $500 in fines. Class A misdemeanors include shoplifting under $500, theft, criminal possession, knowingly selling or transferring a firearm to a convicted felon, violation of a protective order, and sexual misconduct.
Class B Misdemeanors
Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $250. Class B misdemeanors include a first-time DUI, driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI, prostitution, public intoxication, and resisting arrest.
Mini-Class B Misdemeanors
A sub-category of Class B misdemeanors includes crimes punishable by up to 45 days in jail. Possession of marijuana is one of the most common mini-Class B misdemeanors.
Infractions are less serious offenses, such as traffic violations, typically resulting in a monetary fine. Individuals generally do not require a jury trial or the need for an attorney. Repeat offenders may face stiffer penalties, even for simple infractions.
Kentucky Appeals Process
Whether new evidence has come to light, errors made in the original trial, or sentencing led to an unfair result, a person convicted of a crime may appeal the conviction. Filing an appeal may be the only way to fight for your future. The process of an appeal is complicated and requires someone with legal expertise to navigate federal and state appellate courts. Hiring an experienced defense attorney is of paramount importance. A mistake in the appeals process could potentially result in your case receiving no meaningful review.