Being charged with a federal drug crime can be a dire situation, especially given the penalties you will face if convicted. In fact, even within specific drug charges the penalties can depend on the type of drug at issue. The penalties for federal drug crimes, including drug manufacturing, drug distribution and drug trafficking depend on what “schedule” the drug falls under. There are five federal drug schedules.
Schedule I drugs
Schedule I drugs are considered the most harmful drugs both to the user and to society. Schedule I drugs have no acceptable medical usage and have a high potential for abuse. Heroin and LSD are two examples of Schedule I drugs.
Schedule II drugs
Schedule II drugs are less harmful than Schedule I drugs but more harmful than Schedule III drugs. They are still considered to be dangerous drugs. Schedule II drugs have a high propensity for abuse and can cause severe psychological or physical addiction. Vicodin, Dilaudid and OxyContin are three examples of Schedule II drugs.
Schedule III drugs
Schedule III drugs are less harmful than Schedule II drugs but more harmful than Schedule IV drugs. Schedule III drugs have a moderate to low propensity for physical or psychological addiction. Their propensity for abuse is greater than Schedule IV drugs, but less than that of Schedule II drugs. Tylenol with Codeine, ketamine and anabolic steroids are all examples of Schedule III drugs.
Schedule IV drugs
Schedule IV drugs are less harmful than Schedule III drugs but more harmful than Schedule V drugs. Schedule IV drugs have a low propensity for abuse and addiction. Xanax, Valium and Tramadol are all examples of Schedule IV drugs.
Schedule V drugs
Schedule V drugs are considered the least harmful schedule of drugs, but they can still be the focus of a federal drug crime. Schedule V drugs have a lower propensity for abuse than Schedule IV drugs. Schedule V drugs have limited amounts of specific narcotics. Robitussin AC and Parepectolin are two examples of Schedule V drugs.
As this shows, under federal law some drugs are considered much more harmful than others. However, any potential drug crimes can lead to serious penalties should a conviction occur. Those in the New York City metro area who are charged with a drug crime will want to make sure they understand how the alleged drug at issue will affect their case so they can make educated criminal defense decisions.