A controlled substance is a drug or narcotic that is either illegal in its own right or that is illegal to possess without a lawful prescription. If you commit a controlled substance violation, you face felony charges and the punishments associated with them.
The consequences of committing a controlled substance violation depend largely on the drug in question and the quantity in your possession. Emory University provides an overview of O.C.G.A. §§ 16-13-20 through 30, which is the Georgia statute pertaining to controlled substance violations.
The five schedules of controlled substances in Georgia
Georgia classifies controlled substances into five schedules and based on their potential for abuse. Below is an overview of Schedules I through V and types of drugs within each:
- Schedule I drugs: Schedule I drugs have no medicinal value and include substances such as heroin, ecstasy, mushrooms and LSD.
- Schedule II drugs: The law restricts the use of Schedule II drugs for medicinal purposes and requires a prescription for their use. Examples of Schedule II substances include opium, hydrocodone, cocaine and methamphetamine.
- Schedule III, IV and V drugs: Drugs within these categories require a lawful prescription and have the varying potential for abuse. Examples of drugs within these schedules include steroids, valium and Xanax.
Penalties for a controlled substance violation
The consequences for violating a controlled substance law are steep. If your charges involve the possession of a Schedule I substance, a Schedule II narcotic or a Schedule II non-narcotic, you face a felony conviction. Such a conviction carries a term of imprisonment of between two and 30 years. If your charges involve the possession of a Schedule III, IV or V controlled substance, you still face a felony conviction. However, the term of imprisonment is significantly shorter, at between one and five years.
If your charges involve the sale or distribution of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, you, again, face a felony conviction. The penalty involves between one and 30 years in prison. Sale and distribution charges that involve a Schedule III, IV or V drug may also result in a felony conviction and between one and 10 years in prison.
Drug charges can have a significant adverse impact on your future. An experienced attorney can help defend your rights and your future by building the best possible defense.