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What are controlled substances and how are they divided?

A person who is facing drug charges might hear the term "controlled substance." Understanding exactly what constitutes a controlled substance can help these defendants learn more about their charges. When it comes to working on a defense, being informed is a big advantage.

What is a controlled substance?

A controlled substance is a drug that is either fully illegal or illegal without having a valid prescription. The drugs that are considered controlled substances have at least some possibility of being detrimental to a person who uses the drugs or even society as a whole. Controlled substances laws can be upheld at a state level or a federal level depending on the circumstances.

How are controlled substances divided?

Controlled substances are divided into five schedules. Schedule I drugs are those that have a high possibility of addiction and abuse but no medical value. Schedule II drugs have some medical uses, but have a high possibility of addiction and abuse. Schedule III drugs have medical uses, but have a slightly lower chance of abuse or addiction than Schedule II drugs. Schedule IV drugs have a lower chance of abuse and addiction than Schedule III. Schedule V drugs have only limited amounts of narcotics in them.

If you are facing criminal charges for a controlled substance, the amount of the substance and the schedule it is in can have an impact on the penalties you face. Make sure that you understand exactly what penalties you are facing before you make any decisions regarding how you will handle your defense against the criminal charges.

Source: FindLaw, "What Is a Controlled Substance?," accessed Feb. 05, 2016

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