How Kentucky lists crime categories and their punishments

Maybe you’re at an outdoor festival, or driving your car, or even in bed sound asleep. When you realize the police are arresting you, it’s usually confusing and surreal. And for what comes next, you may have to get used to confusing and surreal.

Despite a major overhaul in 2011, Kentucky’s code still isn’t written for amateur legal scholars. But citizens of Kentucky have a right to be amateurs, so here’s a quick and dirty outline of crimes and punishments in Kentucky. It may help you if you or a loved one is arrested and facing charges.

Nothing is inevitable from the start

First, know that many criminal cases end in completely dismissed charges, or in agreements where you plead guilty to something in exchange for lesser or dismissed charges for something else.

Negotiating such plea agreements requires a skilled and experienced attorney who knows what can be done and why. For example, some attorneys might understand that a court system may be overwhelmed in some way and therefore fine with reducing their backlog a little.

On the other hand, some of the crimes below may be charged as “aggravated” if there was a weapon used, for example, or if someone was abducted, badly injured or killed. In such cases, the sentence might be increased, not decreased.

Felonies in Kentucky

Note that these crimes are categorized by how they’re “punishable” and not how they’re punished.

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