A Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Classification of Illegal Drugs


     Being charged with illegally possessing controlled substances is a serious criminal offense.  If you are charged with possessing any substance other than marijuana, you will be charged with a felony.  Depending on the type and amount of controlled substances you are accused of possessing, the penalty range and fines can vary significantly. If you are facing drug charges, a criminal defense attorney who understands New Hampshire laws should be consulted. When you have a drug case pending, having a criminal defense lawyer on your side is beneficial since your liberty and livelihood are being jeopardized.

Controlled Substance Act

     The Controlled Substances Act is a federal statute that assigns illegal and regulated drugs to five schedules or classifications based on their potential for abuse, health risks, and accepted medical use. The Drug Enforcement Administration has the authority to investigate a drug and determine if it should be added, removed, or if it's classification should be changed. It is unlawful to use, possess, or distribute most of these drugs except under limited circumstances.

Schedule I Controlled Substances

     The drugs included in the first schedule are considered the most dangerous. Some of the drugs listed in this schedule are marijuana, heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) also known as the date rape drug. According to 21 U.S.C. §812(b), these drugs have a high potential for being abused, there isn't an accepted medical use for them, and they aren't considered safe to use. No prescriptions can be written for these substances. Marijuana's placement in this schedule has been a source of dispute and controversy since there are several states that allow people to use the drug as a form of medical treatment.

Schedule II Controlled Substances

     The drugs included in this category have an acceptable medical use or can be used under medical supervision with serious restrictions. There is also a strong likelihood that the drugs will be abused and could lead to psychological or physical dependence. These drugs can't be dispensed without a medical prescription except in emergency situations. Schedule II drugs include cocaine, Ritalin, opium, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP).

Schedule III Controlled Substances

     People are less likely to become addicted or abuse the drugs in Schedule III compared to the drugs in Schedule I and Schedule II. The drugs in this category have accepted medical uses. If they are abused, it may result in moderate to low physical dependence and high psychological dependence. Patients can only receive these drugs with a prescription unless it is an emergency situation. Anabolic steroids, barbiturates, hydrocone/codeine, ketamine, and lysergic acid amide (LSA) are some of the drugs listed in this schedule.

Schedule IV Controlled Substances

     The drugs placed in this schedule have a medically accepted use. There is a low potential for abuse compared to the drugs in Schedules I, II, and III. If the drugs in this classification are abused, it could lead to limited psychological and physical dependence. People can legally receive these drugs with a prescription from a medical professional. The drugs under this schedule include benzodiazepines, phenobarbital, and antidiarrheal drugs.

Schedule V Controlled Substances

     The drugs in this schedule have the lowest potential for abuse compared to the drugs in the other schedules. None of the drugs can be dispensed for anything other than medicinal purposes. Abuse of the drugs would probably result in minimal physical or psychological dependence. Cough suppressants, pregabalin, and pyrovalerone are some of the drugs listed in this schedule.

Call a Criminal Defense Attorney for Legal Assistance

     A conviction for committing a drug offense can result in receiving expensive fines and lengthy prison sentences. Using, possessing, or trafficking controlled substances in Schedule I can lead to the harshest punishments. A criminal defense attorney will assess the charges filed against you and effectively guide you through the legal proceedings. Your attorney will inform you of the best course of action. Helping you obtain the most favorable result in the case is his top priority.

     If you have been charged with a drug-related offense, speak with a defense attorney immediately. Schedule a consultation at the Law Office of Chadwick-Fricano-Weber. Call (603) 880-6100.