What Are Controlled Substances?

What Are Controlled Substances?

In the U.S., controlled substances are drugs or chemicals that the government places into schedules based on their medical use, abuse potential and the likelihood of dependence. These are generally illegal drugs that the government has decided to regulate. This doesn’t mean that all of the drugs or chemicals are illegal, however. Some drugs include prescription medications, but without a prescription, you could still suffer consequences for having said drugs.

What Are Drug Schedules?

There are five drug schedules. Schedule I is for the drugs with the highest potential for addiction and likewise the most dangerous to a person’s health and has no medical use. Schedule I drugs include heroin, ecstasy and LSD. Schedule II still has a high potential for abuse and dependence. These drugs, however, may have a medical use. For instance. Schedule II drugs include cocaine, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, Adderall and Fentanyl.

Drugs that have a more moderate risk of abuse or dependence are Schedule III drugs. These may include ketamine, testosterone and products with less than 90 mg of codeine. Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for dependence and include Xanax, Tramadol, Ambien and other prescription drugs. Schedule V has the lowest possible potential for abuse. This might include medicines like Lyrica and Robitussin AC.

If you have a drug for medical use and also have a prescription, it is not illegal for you to have it. However, if you give it to another person, sell it or do not have a prescription, you can face charges.

What Are the Penalties?

Drug charges have a variety of different penalties, based on the type of drug, the charge itself and where you are located. Every state has its laws regarding drugs, not to mention federal laws. The most severe penalties you can face are for possession or sale of Schedule I drugs.

Drug convictions can result in the following penalties:

  • Probation
  • Jail
  • Fines
  • Diversion
  • Rehabilitation

Diversion is common in first-offender cases. This is when an offender may be allowed to enroll in counseling or another type of behavior modification program. If he or she does this, then the prosecutor may drop the charges. In other places, you may be able to enter rehab instead of serving a jail sentence.

If an officer finds controlled substances on your person, in your home, or in your vehicle, you could face drug charges. Given the severity of the sentencing, you’ll want a lawyer at your side to help build your defense. To find out your defense options, consult with a criminal defense attorney from the Morales Law Firm, as soon as possible.