There are roughly 10 million misdemeanor prosecutions every year in the United States. Many people facing prosecution plead guilty to their charges simply because they lack adequate legal representation or the resources to make a stand in court.
The sad fact is that our criminal justice system too often presents injustices to innocent and disadvantaged citizens.
Kentucky is no exception. The Courier-Journal reported on the caseloads that public defenders faced in 2015, in comparison to national standards. The results show that public defenders encounter an overwhelming number of misdemeanors across the state. Let’s take a look at just a few examples of misdemeanor caseloads in varying regions of Kentucky.
Actual Misdemeanor Caseloads in Kentucky Versus National Standards
- In Eastern Kentucky, the Prestonsburg public defender’s office handled 318 misdemeanor cases, even though national standards suggested a maximum of 262 misdemeanor cases.
- In Central Kentucky, the Somerset office represented 298 misdemeanor charges, while the national maximum standard was 196.
- In Western Kentucky, the Owensboro public defender office handled 322 misdemeanor cases versus the national standard maximum of only 203.
- …and these figures do not even describe Lexington’s and Louisville’s…
These numbers illustrate the challenges to public defenders and, more importantly, to anyone accused of a crime.
Dan Carman and Attorneys believe that everyone deserves a fair chance in a court of law.
A misdemeanor charge can plague a person in ways well beyond fines and jail time. These charges stay on a person’s record indefinitely, and when expungement is not possible, putting them at a fundamental disadvantage for the rest of their lives. We urge you to reach out to us if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor in Kentucky.
Kentucky Misdemeanor Charges
Misdemeanors are considered lesser crimes than felonies and, in Kentucky, are punishable by up to 12 months of jail time. Punishment also comes in the form of fines. There are three classes of misdemeanors in Kentucky.
Class A Misdemeanors
Class A misdemeanors are considered to be more serious than Class B misdemeanors. They are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to $500 in fines. A wide range of crimes are categorized as Class A misdemeanors, including but not limited to the following:
- Cultivation of less than five marijuana plants
- Theft By Unlawful Taking (TBUT) under $500 – shoplifting, for example
- Operating a motor vehicle while your license is revoked or suspended for DUI if it’s your second such offense in five years
- Theft, criminal possession, trafficking, or unlawful possession of a prescription blank if the first offense
- Knowingly selling or transferring a firearm to a convicted felon
- Violation of a protective order (EPO/DVO)
- Sexual misconduct
- Possession of burglar’s tools
- Forgery 3rd degree
- Tampering with or rigging a sports contest
- Promoting prostitution
- Non-support (under a certain amount).
Class B Misdemeanors
Class B misdemeanors can be punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $250. Many lesser crimes in Kentucky are Class B misdemeanors, including but not limited to the following:
- 1st offense DUI (much like a hybrid traffic-misdemeanor charge, but with some serious consequences)
- Operating a motor vehicle while license is revoked or suspended for DUI (if your first such offense in five years)
- Failure to yield right of way to a funeral procession
- Public intoxication
- Harassing communications
- Resisting arrest
- Criminal trespass in the second degree
- Giving a peace officer a false name or address.
Mini-Class B Misdemeanors
This small category involves offenses punishable by up to 45 days in jail. The typical mini-Class B misdemeanor is Possession of Marijuana.
Statute of Limitations
In Kentucky, misdemeanors have a statute of limitations of one year. This means that charges must be brought within one year of the alleged crime. When the victim is a minor, however, the statute of limitations is 5 years after that victim turns 18.
Misdemeanors stay on your record indefinitely and will often show up you undergo a background or record check. For example, many job and housing application processes will reveal even minor misdemeanor charges you have faced. An expungement is a petition to clear charges from your record and can be granted if a few conditions are met:
- At least five years must have passed without any new convictions of felonies, misdemeanors or violations.
- The offense was not a sex offense or a crime against a child.
- The person had not been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in the five years prior to the conviction he or she is seeking to have expunged.
- No charges may be pending.
There are some charges that WILL NOT be expunged in Kentucky
- Sex offenses
- Offenses committed against a child
- Felonies, generally
- Charges for which the offender is still on probation
- Federal or out-of-state charges, generally
If you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor in Kentucky, you deserve fair legal representation. Dan Carman and Attorneys will fight for you and pursue every avenue available to make sure your rights are being represented. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.