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Understanding drug schedules and criminal charges

On Behalf of | May 10, 2023 | Drug Crimes

Drug possession charges are likely to result from someone being found with drugs in their possession. This could also happen whether they are being used, sold, or manufactured. Constructive possession charges may be brought if illegal drugs aren’t discovered directly on a person but were known to exist and the suspect had access to the drugs.

The severity of the penalties varies depending on a few additional factors involved, as it does with most criminal charges. Depending on the schedule of drugs discovered in possession, fines and prison time for drug offenses may increase.

There are five main scheduling types of drugs. The intensity of drug misuse and dependency is determined by a schedule. The higher the intensity of a drug, the worse a criminal charge can get. What you need to know is this:

Schedule I

The highest degree a drug can get is Schedule I. Schedule I drugs are extremely addictive and often lead to abuse and physical and mental dependence. These kinds of drugs include LSD, peyote and heroin and aren’t legally accessible to the public.

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs have a higher potential for abuse and dependency, but not nearly as high as Schedule I. Schedule II drugs include cocaine, oxycodone and fentanyl. Some of these drugs can be administered by doctors and nurses.

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs have a moderate abuse risk compared to Schedule II drugs. Schedule III drugs have a low risk of physical and physiological dependence. These drugs, such as ketamine and testosterone, may be doctor prescribed. 

Schedule IV

Drugs such as Xanax, Valium and Ambien are all Schedule IV drugs. They’re often doctor prescribed and have a low abuse tendency.

Schedule V

Most drugs that are bought over the counter are Schedule V. They’re easily obtainable without many abuse issues.

If you’re facing a criminal drug charge, then you may need to be aware of your legal options and right to a defense strategy. The higher the drug class involved, the more serious the charges and the more extensive the penalties can be.