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Why Do Drug "Schedules" Matter In A Criminal Case?

On Behalf of The Foley Law Firm | August 3, 2021

Are you facing drug charges over possession or trafficking? If so, you need to realize that not all drug crimes are treated the same.

Prosecutors will ultimately take into consideration not only the number of drugs that were seized in connection with your case but the kind of drugs that were seized. It won't be long before you start hearing the authorities refer to a drug's "schedule." It's important to understand what that means for your case.

What is a drug "schedule"?

Essentially, state and federal laws alike divide drugs that are considered harmful to society according to their assumed level of danger for addiction and overdoses.

Schedule I drugs, like LSD and heroin, are considered the most dangerous and are legally presumed never to have medicinal value. Highly-controlled substances that are sometimes used in medicine, like codeine and opium, are Schedule II drugs. Other controlled substances that have more definitive uses may be labeled Schedule III, Schedule IV or Schedule V.

Why does the drug schedule matter?

In practical terms, the higher the schedule of the drugs in your possession, the more serious the charges you are likely to face.

A sizeable amount of a Schedule IV or Schedule V drug, like lorazepam or buprenorphine, could be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, while even a small amount of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug could be charged as a Class 6 felony. A Class 1 misdemeanor can only get you a maximum of 18 months in jail, while a Class 4 felony can send you to prison for up to six years.

When you're facing drug charges, you can be more proactive in your own defense if you fully understand the consequences of a conviction. Take action today to protect your future and your freedom with a solid defense strategy.

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