Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

How drug schedules affect a criminal conviction

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Federal Crimes

Drug possession is a severe criminal charge that can lead to fines and incarceration. A suspect could be charged with drug possession if they are caught with illegal drugs on their person or in a car or home. This could also happen if a suspect was caught using, distributing or manufacturing illicit drugs. 

The highest penalty for drug possession in Texas is life in prison and/or $250,000 in fines. A few factors are considered before the penalties for drug possession are decided. These may include the quantity of a drug, how the drug was being used, how the drug was obtained, previous convictions and the severity of a drug. The severity of drugs are categorized in schedules. Here’s what you should know:

Learn about the 5 drug schedules 

The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) categorizes drugs under five schedules. Schedules equate to a drug’s medical uses and its potential to cause abuse and dependence. If a drug has a low chance of causing addiction, then it’s likely found within stores or prescribed by doctors. Here’s what you should know about all five:

  • Schedule I: Drugs without any medical uses with the highest form of abuse and mental and physical dependency are categorized as Schedule I substances. Some Schedule I drugs include LSD, heroin and peyote. 
  • Schedule II: Drugs with very few medical uses, such as morphine, are categorized as Schedule II substances. Other Schedule II drugs can include cocaine and PCP.
  • Schedule III: Substances that can be used by doctors, yet can still lead to abuse including steroids and testosterone are categorized as Schedule III drugs. People may be prescribed these substances in low doses. 
  • Schedule IV: Some Schedule IV drugs can be bought over the counter or prescribed by doctors. These drugs have the second lowest tendency to cause abuse.
  • Schedule V: Most drugs bought over the counter are Schedule V drugs, such as cold medicine. 

A drug schedule can greatly affect a criminal conviction. However, a strong legal defense can protect defendants from severe punishments.