Facing criminal charges of any kind is a threat to your future. With these accusations, you could face penalties that may include time behind bars, expensive fines and other consequences that may change the choices of your life. You should take any type of criminal penalty seriously, but this is particularly true if facing federal-level charges. The implications of these types of crimes are especially grave, which may include longer sentences, probation and more.
Federal-level drug charges come with a range of penalties, and there is a specific schedule that determines the severity of the crime. Factors such as a defendant’s criminal record, the number of drugs in question and more can play a critical role in the specific charges one is up against. If you are an Alabama defendant and you are facing federal drug charges, it is in your interests to act immediately to develop an effective defense strategy.
Specific penalties for drug crimes
Federal drug charges often involve controlled substances, which the law categorizes according to a schedule with five different categories. Some controlled substances are those that have a specific medical purpose, while others have no medical benefits at all. The schedule is as follows:
- Schedule I — These are drugs that have no medical use and a high potential of abuse by those that use them. This can include heroin, hallucinogens and more.
- Schedule II — These are drugs that have a few medical uses, but they also have strict regulations. This might include morphine and codeine.
- Schedule III, IV and V — These categories include many prescription drugs, and they all have specific uses. There is some potential for abuse, with Schedule V drugs having the lowest likelihood of that.
Possession, sale or distribution of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs is a serious criminal offense, but the specific penalties associated with the crime depend on the details of the individual case. Sale, possession or distribution of other controlled substances can result in years behind bars, even though these are less serious drugs.
Your future is at stake
Regardless of the details of your individual case, you will benefit from having experienced guidance at every step. Your future could be at stake, but you do not have to navigate the complications of the criminal justice system alone. After an arrest or as soon as you learn of an investigation into your options, it is important to take quick action to learn about your defense options.