A person who is charged with possession of any drug needs to ensure they understand what penalties they’re facing. One factor that determines this is the “schedule,” or legal classification, of the drug.
Georgia law divides controlled substances into five categories, or schedules. The schedules are set according to how likely the drug is to be abused and what types of medical uses each has. Schedule I drugs are highly addictive without any acceptable medical uses, while schedule V drugs aren’t likely to be abused and are accepted for medical use.
How do the schedules impact potential criminal penalties?
With the exception of certain marijuana possession charges, all drug possession charges are felonies. These are the possible penalties a person faces, based on the schedule of the drug:
- Schedule III, IV, V: These have the lowest penalties. You face one to five years in prison if you’re convicted of possessing a drug in these categories for a first offense. You face up to 10 years on a subsequent offense.
- Schedule I or II: Imprisonment of 2 to 15 years is possible if you’re convicted for a first offense of possession of these drugs. Subsequent offenses carry up to 30 years in prison.
While marijuana is a Schedule I drug according to federal laws, it isn’t treated as one in Georgia courts. Marijuana is subjected to specific laws on its own. Possession of marijuana under one ounce is a misdemeanor, while more is considered a felony charge.
Anyone who’s facing drug charges in Georgia should find out how the schedule of the drug impacts their case. This might help you to determine what type of defense strategy you need to employ.