State and federal laws classify all controlled substances into five different “schedules” of drugs. Legislatures consider three aspects of each substance when determining the schedule in which to place it:
- Whether the drug has a currently accepted medical use;
- Its relative abuse potential; and
- The likelihood of causing dependence when abused.
Florida’s drug schedules, found in Florida Statute § 893.03, closely resemble the federal drug schedules that Congress passed in 1970. The higher the schedule of the drug, the more restricted and addictive it is and, therefore, the more severe the penalties are.
Below, we provide a basic overview of the five different categories of controlled substances in Florida’s drug schedules. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime in St. Petersburg, contact Goldman Wetzel and speak to our defense team today, free of charge: 727-828-3900.
Schedule I Drugs
According to Florida law, Schedule I controlled substances are the most dangerous and least medically useful drugs. A drug in this category “has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and in its use under medical supervision does not meet accepted safety standards.”
Convictions mean harsh penalties. For most Schedule I drugs, possession can result in up to five years’ imprisonment, sale (or possession of a certain amount or more) can result in up to 15 years’ imprisonment, and trafficking can result in up to 30 years’ imprisonment with a minimum sentence of three years. Some of the drugs listed as Schedule I in Florida include the following:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- Hallucinogenic mushrooms (Psilocybin)
Schedule II Drugs
Next on the hierarchy of controlled substances are Schedule II drugs, which have:
- A high potential for abuse; and
- An accepted — but severely restricted — medical use in treatment.
In most cases, possession of a Schedule II drug is either a second- or third-degree felony, punishable by five to 15 years in prison. The state will elevate the charge to a first-degree felony if police officers found you within 1,000 feet of a school, college, daycare, public park, etc.
Examples of common Schedule II drugs include:
Schedule III Drugs
A controlled substance found in Schedule III “has a potential for abuse less than the substances contained in Schedules I and II and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence or, in the case of anabolic steroids, may lead to physical damage.”
Most defendants charged with Schedule III drug-related crimes face five to 15 years of imprisonment, depending upon the amount of drug found. Below are a few examples of Schedule III drugs:
Schedule IV Drugs
Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs and a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. The statutes state that Schedule IV drugs have a limited risk of dependence compared to the drugs in Schedule III.
Many drugs in this category are common prescription medications that people use for sleep disorders and mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. Using a drug without a prescription or falsifying a prescription can result in up to five years’ imprisonment.
Common drugs on Schedule IV include:
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Halcion (triazolam)
Schedule V Drugs
Drugs in Schedule V have a low risk for abuse compared to those in Schedules I-IV. These drugs also have a currently accepted medical use for treatment. Abuse of these drugs lead can to limited physical or psychological dependence.
Cases involving Schedule V drugs typically result in misdemeanor charges, with penalties of up to a year in jail. Common examples of Schedule V drugs include:
- Tylenol with Codeine
- Centussin DHC (drompheniramine/dihydrocodeine/phenylephrine)
- Robitussin (guaifenesin)
- M-phen (codeine/phenylephrine/promethazine)
- Poly-Tussin AC (brompheniramine, codeine, and phenylephrine)
- Lomotil (Diphenoxylate/Atropine)
- Lyrica (pregabalin)
Get a FREE Consult with a Drug Crime Defense Lawyer in St. Petersburg
If you have been arrested or are under investigation for a drug crime in St. Petersburg, our defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel in can help. We represent defendants charged with all types of federal and state drug crimes, including possession, sale, trafficking, manufacturing, and aggravated offenses. Contact us at 727-828-3900 to speak with our drug defense team about your case now.