If you are accused of a drug-related offense, the severity of the charges against you and of the potential penalties if convicted can be affected by the type of drug involved. Other factors such as the quantity of the substance and any previous offenses can also come into play.
Some federal drug crimes carry harsher penalties depending on the schedule of that drug. At the federal level, drugs are divided into five schedules, with each schedule being governed by its own specific rules. The schedule into which a drug falls depends on its perceived potential for abuse, along with whether it has been approved for medical use.
For example, a Schedule I drug, such as ecstasy or heroin, is considered to come with significant risk of dependence and abuse, while not having an approved medical use. Cannabis is also considered a Schedule I drug at the federal level, although, as is mentioned here, its classification as such raises a fair amount of debate.
On the other end of the scale, Schedule V drugs have accepted medical uses and are perceived to present a low risk of potential dependence or abuse. Drugs in this category include medicines such as cough syrups infused with codeine. Of course, regardless of the schedule of a drug, illegal possession can still result in penalties and a permanent mark on your record.
However, if you are facing federal drug charges, all is not lost. An attorney may be able to help you assess the allegations against you and guide you as you build your defense. By acting quickly and ensuring you get your side of the story across effectively, you may be able to protect your reputation and avoid conviction.