Many different substances can lead to criminal charges because there are a host of things that are listed on the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This act has a list of schedules that classify various things.
The charges that you face and the penalties that might come with a conviction can be impacted by the schedule in which the drug is found. Here are some points to remember about controlled substances and their classifications:
Placing drugs in schedules
Drugs are put into schedules based on the medically accepted uses, the dangers to public health and the likelihood of dependency. The schedules are numbered with Schedule I containing the drugs that the federal government says don’t have any acceptable medical uses and are likely to cause dependency.
Overview of schedules
The drugs that are listed in these five schedules are illegal to possess. The only legal ways to possess these drugs is to have a prescription in your name. Without this, you can face criminal charges for having them.
Here are some examples of where controlled drugs are classified:
- Schedule I: Marijuana, peyote, heroin, ecstacy
- Schedule II: Methamphetamine, Dilaudid, methadone, morphine, codeine
- Schedule III: Anabolic steroids, Suboxone, ketamine
- Schedule IV: Versed, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin
- Schedule V: Cough syrups containing codeine, medications containing small amounts of narcotics
Categories of criminal charges
Drug charges might be federal or state, depending on the circumstances. When there are circumstances that could lead to either type of charge, federal charges will be given first priority. There are many times that the federal government will hand the power over to the state to handle prosecution.
One area that has some gray areas is marijuana. While medical marijuana is legal in some cases in Texas, all marijuana is illegal according to federal law. This means that a person who is caught with marijuana by federal authorities might face criminal charges, even if the individual has a prescription for it.
The exact charge you might face also depends on the circumstances. It is possible to face possession, distribution, trafficking or several other charges. Each of these has specific respective penalties so you must determine what you are facing and use that information to help build up your defense strategy.