Understanding drug schedules

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Criminal Law |

Many people in New York may have a mistaken notion that drug offenses are not overly serious. A common assumption is that an arrest for such an offense results only in a misdemeanor charge that may not leave one facing severe criminal penalties (or future repercussions).

Such is the thought process of many clients that come to see our team here at the Luibrand Law Firm, PLLC. Many are then shocked to discover that certain drug-related offenses might indeed net felony offenses (accompanied by high fines and/or even jail time). The severity of what one may face depends often on the type of controlled substance authorities allege their involvement with.

Detailing drug schedules

Federal lawmakers established a framework to classify drugs through the Controlled Substances Act. This framework categorizes controlled substances into different “schedules,” with state officials then having the authority to list drugs within those schedules. In general, the classification of substances within the different schedules is as follows:

  • Substances with no recognized medical applications in the U.S. that have a high potential for abuse
  • Drugs classified as dangerous with a high potential for both abuse and users developing a psychological and physical dependence
  • Drugs with a potential for abuse lower than those in Schedules I and II with a moderate to low potential for users developing a psychological and physical dependence
  • Drugs with a low potential for abuse and users developing a dependence
  • Drugs with the lowest potential for abuse with preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics

Section 3306 of New York’s Public Health Code contains the state’s specific schedules.

Reviewing different types of drug charges

In addition to the type of substance involved in an alleged offense, the context of the offense may also come into play when determining charges. For example, drug distribution may warrant a more serious charge than drug possession.