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What Are “Drug Schedules,” and How Can They Affect a Criminal Case?

 Posted on November 07,2019 in Drug Crimes

Anderson County drug crimes defense attorney

Drug charges are very common throughout the United States, and Tennessee is no exception. With 80 percent of Tennessee crimes being related to drugs, the state takes drug charges seriously for all offenders. Like all other crimes, those involving drugs are measured on a scale depending on the situation. In other words, some drugs and actions lead to harsher consequences than others. The public may be warned against drug use; however, the legal consequences for controlled substances are not always explained well. This can leave many people unprepared when facing drug charges.

Tennessee Drug Schedules

Controlled substances, also known as drugs, have different levels of effects, making some more dangerous than others. The government analyzes these “danger levels” and creates a hierarchy of charges. This list of controlled substances and their consequences are known as "drug schedules." The federal government classifies all controlled substances into categories to create general drug schedules; however, states often adjust these schedules. Tennessee has seven schedules that rank these substances, with the most serious drugs in the first schedule:

  • Schedule I - These substances have an extremely high risk of addiction or dependency and do not have legitimate medical purposes. These include psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, LSD, and heroin. 

  • Schedule II - These drugs are often abused, yet they can also be used for medical purposes. Opioids are one of the most common schedule II drugs. Cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines, and methadone are also included in this category.

  • Schedule III - Anabolic steroids, ketamine, testosterone, and other depressants are considered Schedule III. These are slightly less dangerous than Schedule II drugs, yet they are still frequently abused.

  • Schedule IV - These drugs are extremely useful in the medical field, but can cause dependency for some patients. Some commonly known types of these drugs are Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin.

  • Schedule V - Drugs such as Tylenol and Codeine have a low risk of dependency, but do get abused from time to time.

  • Schedule VI - Tennessee labels marijuana as a Schedule VI drug, while some other states consider it to be Schedule I. This has changed significantly over the years as acceptance of marijuana has evolved.

  • Schedule VII - This substance category only includes butyl nitrate.

What Do These Schedules Mean for Offenders?

The drug schedule of the controlled substance is one of the main determining factors for the legal consequences for those found guilty of drug crimes. Schedules III, IV, and V substances will land offenders with 5 to 10 years in prison, depending on the number of offenses they have committed. These consequences escalate significantly for Schedule I and II offenders. Those charged with purchase or possession of Schedule I or II drugs can face up to 15 years in prison for their first offense and no more than 30 years for their second offense.

Contact a Knoxville, TN Drug Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Regardless of the illegal substance involved, the legal penalties for drug crimes can forever alter your life path. Some offenders struggle to find a job or means of education, while others spend a portion of their life behind bars. The best way to defend yourself and better your future is to seek professional legal help from an experienced criminal law attorney. Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney is well-versed in legal defense tactics and is dedicated to successfully resolving your case. If you are facing drug charges, contact our Blount County drug crimes defense attorney at 865-281-1000 for a free consultation.




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