Earlier this month, the Commission released its version of the new Kansas Sentencing Guidelines five-level drug grid. The new grid was expanded from four to five levels this past legislative session to accommodate new changes in the law effective July 1, 2012. Some of the notable changes are mentioned below.
First, most drug offenses will be determined by quantity. All possession offenses are now severity level five. Severity levels for possession with intent to distribute and distribution are dependent on quantity of the controlled substance.
Second, the new drug grid has also expanded the border boxes to severity levels 5C and 5D. As noted above, crimes in these grid boxes will be mainly drug possession offenses and the rest miscellaneous crimes that were previously severity level four.
Finally, to facilitate easy access to drug quantity thresholds, rebuttable presumptions regarding distribution or intent to distribute and other sentencing matters, a helpful table has been created below the grid to provide at-a-glance viewing to assist those in the criminal justice community.
An additional “quick reference” combination nondrug and drug grid has also been created. This one page document allows the practitioner to possess both grids with additional sentencing information.
It is the hope of the Commission that both of these charts will be helpful to their users and tools going forward to become more familiar with the substantive changes in the Kansas sentencing law.