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What are drug schedules and how do they affect criminal charges?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Drug Charges |

Someone who is convicted of drug possession can face prison time, fines and a permanent criminal record. These penalties can vary depending on the severity of a substance.

Under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), drugs are categorized into schedules. There are five kinds of drug schedules, each determining a drug’s legal status, medical use and tendency to cause abuse and dependence. Here’s what you should know about each:

Schedule V, IV and III drugs

Schedule V and IV drugs, such as cough drops, cold medicine, Valium, Xanax and Ambien, can be found and bought in stores. Schedule III drugs include steroids, testosterone and other things that are often used in hospitals. Drugs in this category have a higher abuse potential and you will require a prescription to get them.

Illegal possession of Schedule V, IV or III drugs in Georgia is punishable by up to one to five years in prison and up to ten years for a subsequent conviction.

Schedule II and I drugs

Schedule II drugs have a higher potential for abuse than V, IV and III substances. Cocaine, PCP and morphine are on the list of Schedule II drugs. Their use in hospitals is quite restricted because of their high rate of abuse.

Heroin and LSD are just a few of the drugs that are classified as Schedule I drugs, the highest categorization with no known medical uses.

The illegal possession of Schedule II or I drugs can lead to two to 15 years in prison and up to 30 years in prison for a subsequent conviction.

The schedule of an illicit substance can greatly alter a drug possession charge. Defendants who understand their legal rights may have better odds of avoiding severe penalties for drug possession.