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What is a drug “schedule,” and why does it matter?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Criminal trials that relate to a drug possession acquisition can have several outcomes. If a suspect is convicted of possessing illicit substances, they could face severe penalties, such as fines, incarceration, license suspension and probation.

The outcome of a drug possession case can greatly depend on a few factors, including the quantity of a substance, the use of a drug and a suspect’s criminal history. Another factor that is considered is the severity of a drug.

Under the Controlled Substance Act, drugs are categorized under schedules. Schedules determine whether a drug is safe to use in medical fields and its tendency to cause substance abuse. Criminal cases may consider the severity of a drug before determining penalties for illegal possession. Here is what you should know about each schedule: 

Schedules III, IV and V

Drugs that are found in stores that can be bought without a prescription are typically Schedule V drugs. These drugs have the lowest tendency to cause abuse.

Above that are Schedule III and IV substances. These substances require prescriptions from doctors or may be used in medical fields. These drugs, such as steroids and testosterone, can lead to addiction problems and health issues when misused.

Schedule I and II

Cocaine, LSD, heroin, PCP and morphine are all classified as either Schedule I or II substances. These drugs are rarely used in hospitals and health care facilities because of their effects or tendency to cause addiction. Many of these drugs are trafficked or illegally manufactured. 

Being in possession of a Schedule I or II substance can lead to higher criminal penalties than with Schedule II, IV or V drugs. However, any kind of drug possession charge can cause great harm to your future. Those accused of drug possession should seek immediate legal guidance so that they can fully explore all their defense options.