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What is a drug schedule and how does it affect a criminal charge?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Drug Charges

Drug charges occur when someone is found in possession of illicit drugs. They may even be caught manufacturing and abusing drugs. People may even be charged with constructive possession if they’re found to have some control over a substance that isn’t directly on their person.

Like any criminal charge, a drug charge can have different levels of severity. Some drug charges may intensify depending on the schedule of drugs found in their possession. 

What is a scheduled drug? Here’s what you should know:

A drug’s classification restricts its use and legality

Controlled substances, or drugs, aren’t distributed by means of availability, but are, instead, given classifications called schedules depending on their medical use and abuse and dependency potentials, which restrict who’s allowed to distribute and use said drugs. Schedules fluctuate depending on how the state adjusts the classification of a drug. 

There are five categories of scheduled drugs:

  • Schedule I: The highest degree of an addictive drug that causes both mental and physical dependence with no (or few) medical uses
  • Schedule II: High abuse potential with mental and physical dependence with several medical uses
  • Schedule III: Lesser abuse potential and is frequently administered medically 
  • Schedule IV: Low abuse risk and may be purchased with a prescription
  • Schedule V: Lowest abuse risk and often purchasable over the counter

That being said, people who have possession of illicit drugs may face serious criminal charges depending on the schedule of the drug. The higher the schedule or “class” of the drug involved, the more serious the penalties are at conviction. The charge may also define whether a drug was being used or manufactured and distributed without a medical license or authority. A drug charge can seriously affect a person’s life without a strong defense.