Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

What are scheduled drugs and how can that affect a criminal case?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Federal Crimes

When someone is discovered to be in possession of illegal narcotics, they could be charged with drug possession. They could even be discovered using and producing illegal substances. If it is determined that a person has some influence over a substance that is not immediately on their person, they may even be charged with constructive possession.

The seriousness of a drug charge might vary, just like any other criminal offense. Depending on the drug schedule discovered in their possession, some drug offenses may become more serious.

5 kinds of schedules

Instead of being distributed according to availability, controlled substances, or pharmaceuticals, are classified into schedules based on their potential for abuse and dependence as well as their potential for medicinal use, which places restrictions on who is permitted to use and distribute the medications. Schedules change based on how the state changes a drug’s categorization.

  • Schedule V: drugs that are easily obtainable over the counter with little to no abuse tendencies
  • Schedule IV: drugs often prescribed by doctors with low abuse tendencies, such as Ambian or Xanax 
  • Schedule III: drugs with a moderate abuse risk factor such as testosterone and ketamine 
  • Schedule II: drugs with a high potential for physical and mental dependence, which can include cocaine and fentanyl 
  • Schedule I: drugs with the highest risk of abuse and addiction and aren’t typically accessible by the public, such as heroin and peyote 

Depending on the drug’s scheduling, those found in possession of illegal substances may be subject to substantial criminal penalties.

A drug’s usage or production and distribution without a medical license or permission may also be specified by the accusation. Without an effective defense, a drug charge may negatively impact a person’s life.