When you are accused of possessing illegal drugs or using a legal drug in an illegal way, such as drinking and driving, you’ll need to know where that drug lands in the range of Schedules. Schedules can determine the length of your jail sentence, the amount in fines, and other penalties you may face because of the possession, like community service and house arrest. Here’s a rundown of drug schedules and how they can affect your case.
What Are Schedules?
Schedules are a way for the legal system to break up substances into categories depending on their likelihood of causing physical and psychological dependency. How the drug is used medicinally is also taken into account. Some drugs are considered worse than others. For example, Schedule I drugs are the substances that pose the greatest risk to users and are not used for medical purposes in any way, such as heroin and LSD. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Schedule V drugs, which are almost always used medicinally and are much harder to become addicted to, such as Lyrica and cough medicines.
How Do Schedules Affect Your Sentencing?
The drug you have been accused of possessing or using will fall into one of the five Schedule categories. The lower the Schedule number, the higher your sentence will be because those substances are worse for the user’s health and psychological wellbeing. They are also the most addictive. Someone caught with a Schedule V drug may face less time in jail and fewer fines because those drugs do not have the same severe effects on users.
What if You Have Been Sentenced Before?
If you have been found guilty of possessing the same Schedule of substance in the past, you are considered a repeat offender. Since you were already caught and punished for the past crime, you will probably get a harsher penalty this time around. In general, the greater your history of drug abuse, the steeper the punishments.
What if You Are Caught in Drug-Related Activities Other Than Possession?
Possession and use are not the only drug-related crimes you can be accused of. In fact, they are the less severe crimes compared to selling and smuggling illegal substances. If you are caught selling or trafficking, the jail sentences are longer and the fines greater. The exact penalties you face depend on your state laws. Offenders charged with selling or carrying Schedule I and II drugs will face worse punishments than the other Schedules.