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Tag: #drugs

Trafficking – Penalties and Laws in KY

Posted on June 17, 2016 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY State Crimes in Northern Kentucky

I am often asked what differentiates trafficking from possession if a person is not caught in the act of selling?

The specific definition of trafficking of a controlled substance is found in KRS 218A.010 (50) “Traffic,” except as provided in KRS 218A.1431, means to manufacture, distribute, dispense, sell, transfer, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or sell a controlled substance.  The trier of facts (typically a jury) can use other indicia of trafficking to infer trafficking or intent to traffic.  For example, if a defendant is found with a large quantity of the controlled substance, a phone (or phones) with text messages indicating trafficking, cash or other items, then that person may be charged with trafficking under KRS 218A.1412 or other statutes.

methamphetamine is found in KRS 218A.1431 as follows (3) “Traffic” means to distribute, dispense, sell, transfer, or possess with intent to distribute, dispense, or sell methamphetamine.

Trafficking of Marijuana is typically a misdemeanor, unless within 500 feet of a school zone or more than 8 ounces (oz.).  Small trafficking is generally a class D Felony, punishable by 1-5 years in prison.  Some trafficking offenses have higher penalties.  For example the following are charged as a Class C Felony, punishable by 5-10 years in prison:

(a) Four (4) grams or more of cocaine;
(b) Two (2) grams or more of heroin, fentanyl, or methamphetamine;
(c) Ten (10) or more dosage units of a controlled substance that is classified in Schedules I or II and is a narcotic drug, or a controlled substance analogue;
(d) Any quantity of lysergic acid diethylamide; phencyclidine; gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), including its salts, isomers, salts of isomers, and analogues; or flunitrazepam, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers.

Of additional note, most non-violent felonies are at least eligible for probation and have parole eligibility after serving 20% of a sentence.  Pursuant to KRS 218A.1412 (c) Any person convicted of a Class C felony offense or higher under this section shall not be released on probation, shock probation, parole, conditional discharge, or other form of early release until he or she has served at least fifty percent (50%) of the sentence imposed in cases where the trafficked substance was heroin. This was modification made by recent statutes in March, 2015.

If you have been charged with possession or trafficking of a controlled substance, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.  For representation in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-MIKE.  Email mwbouldin2@gmail.com or call 859-581-6453.

DUI with Marijuana in KY

Posted on June 8, 2016 in DUI General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

Kentucky does not have a per se limit for marijuana.  Since marijuana is illegal in Kentucky, some prosecutors (and a few judges) believe that you are impaired with ANY marijuana in your system.  Other prosecutors (and most judges/juries) believe that the amount is irrelevant without an expert to help translate an amount to impairment.  In either case, the prosecution in Kentucky must prove that the driver is “impaired in their ability to operate the motor vehicle” as a result of the drugs and/or alcohol combination.

Some states such as Ohio have a per se limit with marijuana in your blood system which is similar to that of alcohol.  For example, if you have over 2 nanograms/milliliter of marijuana in your blood stream, then you can be convicted of operating while impaired (OVI=DUI in Ohio).

The Ohio threshold for drugged driving is illustrated in the following table. Ohio’s DUI Per Se Levels pursuant to ORC§ 4511.19(A)(1)(vii) and § 4511.19(A)(1)(viii)(I)-(II).

Prohibited Substance Urine Blood
Marijuana 10 ng/ml 2 ng/ml
Marijuana metabolite 35 ng/ml 50 ng/ml
Marijuana metabolite in combination with alcohol or other drugs 15 ng/ml 5 ng/ml

Affirmative Defense

It is a valid defense if a person obtained the controlled substance pursuant to a prescription issued by a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs, and the person injected, ingested, or inhaled the controlled substance in accordance with the health professional’s directions. Id. § 4511.19(K)(1)-(2).

NOTE: A doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis is NOT a prescription.

My experience shows that any smoking within the last 24 hours will likely put the person over the Ohio limit, regardless of actual impairment.  As such, best legal advise would be to refuse a request for blood or urine test if you have ingested marijuana within 24 hours.  In Kentucky, the decision is more difficult.  If you know you have marijuana in your system, a breath test will not show the substance.  A blood test, however, will show marijuana in your system.

The problem is what works best.  If you have also been drinking and smoking, best legal advice is generally to refuse a blood test.  If you HAVE NOT ADMITTED TO RECENT SMOKING, generally it is advisable to submit to the test.  In either case, if you test positive or if you refuse, you should expect that the prosecutor will not amend the charges.  You should plan to take your case to trial, whether before a judge or jury.  

As such, you should hire an experienced DUI/criminal defense attorney who has trial experience with both judges and juries.  There are certain judges you should avoid and others who may be preferable to a jury.  For representation in Kenton, Campbell, Boone or Hamilton counties, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com.

Drug Possession in NKy

Posted on March 13, 2016 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY State Crimes in Northern Kentucky

Drug offenses make up over one half of all arrests and criminal convictions in Northern Kentucky.  Criminal courts are just one way to fight the war on drugs.  Funny how legislators consider this a WAR, whereas any other medical condition is considered medical treatment.  We don’t ahve a war on cancer, a war on mental health or a war on diabetes.

Especially on first offense, treatment is the primary method of dealing with drug possession offenses.  While some drugs such as marijuana, are misdemeanor offenses, others, especially narcotics, are considered felony offenses.  Diversion, deferred prosecution and treatment in lieu of conviction are all methods to avoid felony prosecution and get treatment for the individual defendant instead of prosecution and incarceration.

Trafficking charges are almost always felony offenses and require additional attention to the defense.  Rights of the accused, monitoring and search warrants as well as Miranda rights all should be considered.  Most felony trafficking convictions lead to incarceration.  Multiple offenses can greatly increase prison time, especially in the federal system where career offender and sentencing guidelines strongly influence Judges’ sentencing.

If you have been arrested with drug possession, you should get an attorney to represent you through the process.  For consultation in Boone, Campbell or Kenton counties, call Bouldin Law Firm and schedule to speak with Michael Bouldin.  Email at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call at 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453.

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Ft. Thomas Heroin Arrests

Posted on February 26, 2016 in DUI General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

Ft. Thomas has begun to take proactive steps to increase arrests in attempt to decrease heroin use and abuse in Northern Kentucky.  WCPO reported on the initial arrest of a 28-year-old Cincinnati woman and confiscated eight ounces of heroin, eight ounces of crack, a loaded 9 millimeter handgun and $3,000 in cash. Local 12 had the exclusive picture.

Again on February 22, 2016 a driving fatality is linked to heroin use while operating a vehicle.  This was reported by the Enquirer and was the latest possible case of “drugged driving” in Northern Kentucky resulted in a single-car crash that killed one person, ejected and critically injured a 7-month-old and injured two others Monday afternoon.

While toxicology reports are not yet in, Fort Thomas police said they found syringes in the vehicle. In the midst of a heroin epidemic, neither law enforcement nor medical caregivers are surprised.

The crash on eastbound Interstate 275 in Fort Thomas near the Ohio border occurred around 2:30 p.m. The vehicle involved rolled multiple times and tied up traffic in the region for more than four hours as officials removed the unidentified, deceased male and investigate.

A number of additional arrests have been made by Ft. Thomas Police in Campbell County.

Any criminal defendant arrested should be seeking the best criminal representation.  For consultation in Northern Kentucky, call the Bouldin Law Firm and schedule to meet with Michael Bouldin.  Contact at mwbouldin2@gmail.com or call 581-MIKE; 859-581-6453.

 

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How Does Prosecution Choose Trafficking v Possession?

Posted on November 9, 2015 in General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY State Crimes in Northern Kentucky

Trafficking of a controlled substance versus possession of the same substance can make a significant difference in the outcome of a case as well as the amount of time that a defendant may be looking at if sentence is imposed.

There are some simple rules that can be applied, however there are exceptions.  Possession is a lesser charge, often a class D felony in Kentucky and may be resolved with deferred prosecution, diversion or probation, often including treatment.  Trafficking is generally a class C felony in Kentucky and nearly always results in a period of incarceration if convicted.  This can very greatly from state to state as well as in the federal level. (Note: Feds rarely concern themselves with possession cases)

Generally if there is a relatively small amount of the controlled substance and it is not individually packaged for resale, the charge will be that of possession.  A number of factors may be considered both by the charging agency (police, Drug Strike force, FBI, DEA) such as: number of units, packaging, cash found on the defendant or in the residence/car, scales, division of drugs.  Also often considered but not evidence is the “word on the street.”  If the agency obtains a warrant due to believed drug sales they will often charge with trafficking even though the evidence really leads to be a possession-type case.

By way of examaple, assume that someone is found with 2g of heroin.  This is on the high side for what many consider to be “individual use.”  If it is found near $2,500 cash and it is packaged in 4-10 separate dosage units and a digital scale is nearby, the likelihood is that the defendant will be charged with trafficking. However, if the 2g is in one unit, there is no money or scales and only a needle nearby and the defendant is a significant user, it may be more likely that he will be charged with possession.

218A.010(49) defines “Traffic” as: except as provided in KRS 218A.1431, means to manufacture, distribute, dispense, sell, transfer, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or sell a controlled substance.  Of course, if there is evidence of actual trafficking, the charge will be trafficking regardless of the other factors.  For example, if a defendant has sold narcotics to an undercover agent or a confidential informant, they will generally be charged with trafficking regardless of the amount sold.

If you have been charged with possession or trafficking, you are facing serious criminal charges and need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.  For a consultation in Northern Kentucky or Cincinnati, contact the Bouldin Law Firm and schedule an appointment.  Call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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Police Search Cell Phone

Posted on September 25, 2015 in General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

In general, NO.  Often police may ask for permission to search through a cellular telephone and they may if permission is granted.  This is no different than entering into a person’s residence.  The police authorities only have rights to enter if: (1) permission is granted; (2) there is a situation where there’s no time to get a warrant because there’s an immediate threat or danger of someone getting hurt or the destruction of evidence; or (3) with a valid search warrant.

The 4th Amendment to the Constitution secures: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The United States Supreme Court issued a rare 9-0 ruling, opinion that police need a warrant to search a cellphone in Riley v. California (full text). This decision may set precedent in other areas of law, to wit:  Are telephone records protected?  (likely) Is the use of surveillance cameras protected? (likely within home, but not outside) Does the ruling affect NSA operations?  (probably not)  Many of these questions are still unanswered, but the lower courts could use this Riley case to further secure individual privacy rights.

I have also written previously on the use of cell phone “pings” to determine location (link), now it is clear that a search warrant must first be issued.  It is vital to have a court system which protects the freedoms which we enjoy.  The suppression of evidence for a warrantless search is but one bastion in the fight against oppression and to assure constitutional freedoms.

As a criminal defense attorney who fully supports the constitution and Bill of Rights, I encourage everyone to exercise your rights and protect your home and personal effects (cell phone) from intrusion by police.  Do not consent to search of your home, auto, cell phone, computer or allow any other intrusion into your privacy.

If you have been charged with a crime, hire a good criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and to assure the protection of those rights for others.  For a consultation, call the Bouldin Law Firm at 859-581-6453 or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com.  Call 581-MIKE.

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What Is New Good Samaritan Law for Heroin in Kentucky?

Posted on July 7, 2015 in General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY State Crimes in Northern Kentucky

Effective March 25, 2015, Kentucky has enacted KRS 218A.133 which exempts from prosecution for those seeking assistance with drug overdose.  This is known commonly as a Good Samaritan Law and is intended to encourage calling for medical assistance instead of watching a friend die in order to avoid criminal prosecution.

Interestingly, not all jurisdictions have taken full The law is intended to increase calling and emergency response in life or death situations.  The Stated is to exempt fro prosecution for possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia if seeking assistance.  Unfortunately, there are cases in which the police/arresting agency have chosen to instead charge with Trafficking or the new charge under KRS 218A.1410 of Importing Heroin.  This is a more serious charge, being a Class C felony which also mandates service of 50% of the sentence. A class C felony is punishable by 5-10 years in prison.

This may be a new wave or may be simply for the purpose of saving another life.  Parents should also be aware of Casey’s Law which can mandate treatment for those addicted to drugs.  At times, an arresting officer may overcharge a case simply to place a heroin user in jail.  The general consensus is that a heroin addict will either end up in jail or dead.  If you or a loved one is in need of help, seek counseling and treatment.  Treatment will almost never hurt a criminal defendant.

If you have been charged with possession, trafficking or importing heroin, you NEED an experienced criminal defense attorney.  For consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com.

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Heroin Addiction and NKy Crime

Posted on April 6, 2015 in General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY State Crimes in Northern Kentucky

As a criminal defense attorney in Covington, Newport and Florence, I have been practicing criminal law in Northern Kentucky for over 20 years.  In that time, a large number of cases involve or stem from drug abuse, alcohol and drug trafficking.  Nevertheless, heroin is the most often discussed and most addictive drug that has been introduced in the last 20 years, and likely in history.

Following is a case report from Drug Free World.org:

Warning: Even a single dose of heroin can start a person on the road to addiction.
Many people experiment with heroin thinking, “I’ll try it once or twice. I can always stop.” But those who start down that road find it nearly impossible to turn back. Consider the words of Sam, a 15-year-old addict: “When you first shoot up, you will most likely puke and feel repelled, but soon you’ll try it again. It will cling to you like an obsessed lover. The rush of the hit and the way you’ll want more, as if you were being deprived of air—that’s how it will trap you.”
The threat of addiction is not the worst consequence of experimenting with heroin. Jim was 21 years old and usually spent his evenings drinking beer with friends. He had already experimented with heroin so when friends offered him a line to sniff, he accepted. Fifteen minutes after inhaling, he passed out, then dropped into a deep coma which lasted more than two months. Today, he is confined to a wheelchair, unable to write, barely able to read. Whatever dreams and aspirations he once had are gone.

If you have a child in need of help, you can institute a Casey’s law case to mandate treatment through the courts.  If you or a loved one is in criminal trouble, contact an attorney who has handled many cases dealing with drugs and can help through the criminal process AND help get treatment.  In Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453 or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com

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What Are Kentucky Penalties for Drug Trafficking?

Posted on February 25, 2015 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

Drug trafficking penalties in Kentucky vary by the substance being trafficked as well as by the amount of drugs sold.

KRS 218A.1412 defines Trafficking in controlled substance in first degree and Penalties.
(1) A person is guilty of trafficking in a controlled substance in the first degree when he or she knowingly and unlawfully traffics in: (a) Four (4) grams or more of cocaine; (b) Two (2) grams or more of heroin or methamphetamine; (c) Ten (10) or more dosage units of a controlled substance that is classified in Schedules I or II and is a narcotic drug, or a controlled substance analogue; (d) Any quantity of lysergic acid diethylamide; phencyclidine; gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), including its salts, isomers, salts of isomers, and analogues; or flunitrazepam, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers; …
The penalty for violation of KRS 218A.1412 (1)(a)-(d) is 5-10 years in prison as a class C Felony for first offense and B Felony for second or subsequent offenses.
KRS 218A.1413 defines Trafficking in controlled substance in second degree and Penalties.
(1) A person is guilty of trafficking in a controlled substance in the second degree when: (a) He or she knowingly and unlawfully traffics in: 1. Ten (10) or more dosage units of a controlled substance classified in Schedules I and II that is not a narcotic drug; or specified in KRS 218A.1412, and which is not a synthetic drug, salvia, or marijuana; or 2. Twenty (20) or more dosage units of a controlled substance classified in Schedule III; (b) He or she knowingly and unlawfully prescribes, distributes, supplies, or sells an anabolic steroid for: 1. Enhancing human performance in an exercise, sport, or game; or 2. Hormonal manipulation intended to increase muscle mass, strength, or weight in the human species without a medical necessity; or (c) He or she knowingly and unlawfully traffics in any quantity of a controlled substance specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection in an amount less than the amounts specified in that paragraph.
The penalty for violation of KRS 218A.1413 is 1-5 years in prison as a class D Felony for first offense.

The majority of drug trafficking cases are charged as Class C felonies.  That charged can also be increased if the trafficking is within 1000 linear feet of a school or daycare.  Marijuana trafficking is not included in this post may be a Class A misdemeanor or a Class D felony.  See prior post relating to marijuana trafficking.

If you have been charged in Kentucky or Federal court for trafficking of drugs, you need a criminal defense attorney. For consultation and representation in Boone, Campbell, Kenton or federal court, contact Michael Bouldin at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 859-581-6453.

 

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What is RENU?

Posted on December 9, 2014 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY

The Regional Narcotics Unit in Hamilton county is comprised of officers and investigators from various agencies in and throughout Hamilton County.  It is akin to the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force in Northern Kentucky.  RENU and NKY prosecute cases in both the state court as well as federal level.

The RENU is comprised of officers from Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Cincinnati Police Department, Green Township Police Department and Anderson Township. Often, the RENU also works in association with Federal ATF, DEA and FBI.

If you or a loved one has been arrested by RENU, you will likely have great difficulty finding information on line.  In the event that the defendant can be of assistance, it benefits him/her to not have their information readily available online.  For example, if the defendant may be giving information relative to suppliers or other dealers, having their information online of being arrested will allow the others to locate their information and avoid further information becoming public.

Your attorney will work with the RENU and should be able to tell you all information regarding court dates.  Much information is intentionally

If you have been arrested by RENU, you have BIG concerns.  You are likely facing felony charges for trafficking narcotics and need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.  For consultation and questions, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com.

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