The United States government classifies illegal drugs according to schedule classes from 1 to 5. If you are found to be in possession of a drug that is illegal or a legal drug without a prescription, you face criminal drug charges. As soon as you know or suspect you may be charged with a drug-related crime, you should hire a drug crimes attorney or criminal attorney with experience defending against drug charges.
The severity of drug charges will depend on the type of drug, amount in your possession and whether you are suspected of manufacturing the drug, distributing or trafficking it, or fraudulently obtaining it with a prescription.
In general, Schedule I drugs bring the most serious drug crimes charges, which Schedule V drugs bring the least serious drug crimes charges.
Schedule I drugs include:
These drugs are forbidden from being sold by pharmacies primarily because they are labeled as having a high tendency for abuse, without any beneficial medical use.
Schedule II drugs include opiates, while drugs on schedule III, IV, and V tend to be available in certain dosages as prescribed by pharmacists or doctors.
The penalties can be severe if you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, and can include fines, probation and prison sentences. Your drug crimes lawyer can explain the potential penalties in more detail and review your legal options.
In several states, people have advocated for the recognition of marijuana as a medically beneficial drug. While the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, certain states have allowed the operation of so-called medical marijuana dispensaries, which provides the drug to card-carrying patients with diseases such as cancer, glaucoma, and severe anxiety.
Anyone who attempts to make a profit from the sale of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs faces significant financial penalties and incarceration. While the recent developments in classifying marijuana as a medical substance have changed, in some states, the amounts of the substance that qualifies as trafficking, drug policy is fairly stringent about convicting those who are caught carrying significant amounts of illegal drugs.
Those who abuse Schedule I or Schedule II drugs may be sentenced to jail or to a rehabilitation facility. If they demonstrate significant improvement, they may be released without a criminal record.
Those caught with substances must prove that they were not intending to make a profit from the drugs. Depending on the substance, and the locality, those caught carrying drugs may be able to broker a deal for their release without being incarcerated. The law also has different policies for first-time offenders versus repeat offenders. Any effective legal action on drug law must first take into account the specific laws governing that locality.