Understanding the Classifications of Drugs – and How They Affect Your Case
Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), there are classifications for drugs in the United States comprised of five schedules. These schedules are based on the potential for abuse and if the drug has been accepted for medical purposes or not. Each schedule is governed by different rules regarding the sale, possession, use and production of those drugs in that schedule. The punishment will depend on the schedule of the drug.
The Federal Drug Schedules
These drug schedules are critical in a criminal defense case. If you are found in possession with the wrong classification of a drug, you could face more serious penalties. The schedules include:
- Schedule I – These are at a high risk for abuse and dependency. There is no medical use for these drugs and possession of them can lead to very strict penalties. Schedule I drugs can include things like psychedelics, heroin, and cannabis.
- Schedule II – These drugs also have a higher potential for abuse and dependency, but unlike Schedule I, these drugs are allowed in medical practices. These can be issued under a legal medical prescription, but are heavily regulated. Some examples of Schedule II drugs can include morphine, methadone, Adderall and Ritalin.
- Schedule III – Schedule III drugs are moderate in terms of abuse and dependency and are not as heavily regulated as Schedule II. They are used in acceptable medical practices and you can be issued a legal prescription for Schedule III drugs. These drugs include things like Marinol, ketamine and steroids.
- Schedule IV – There is a low potential for abuse and dependency with Schedule IV drugs and they are used in medical practices. Some examples of Schedule IV medications include Xanax, Ambien and Valium.
- Schedule V – These are even lower for abuse and dependency and have accepted medical practices. They can include cough syrups with codeine.
Being in possession of a Scheduled drug will determine the penalties you can face if you go to court. Schedule III, IV and V drugs are all accepted in medical practices and if you have a valid prescription, you cannot be charged with a drug crime. If, however, you don’t have a prescription, you could be charged with possession – and depending on the volume, you could have possession with intent to distribute.
In Florida, scheduled drugs are governed under Florida Statute Section 893.03. The penalties for possession of CDS will depend on the type of drug and the amount of that substance found. The penalty can be the same regardless if possession was actual or just constructive. Some drug offenses carry felony charges, while others may carry only a misdemeanor charge.
If you are found in possession of a Schedule I drug, you will face a felony of the first degree and you can face up to 30 years in prison.
Arrested for a Drug Crime? Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for a drug crime – whether you are found with Schedule I or even Schedule IV drugs – you need to contact an attorney. The penalties for drug offenses are harsh in the state and you could face several years in prison. Contact The Armstrong Law Group, P.A. today for a consultation at 904-356-8618 or fill out an online contact form.