Virginians may be charged with drug offenses that range in severity according to the substances that are allegedly involved, their quantities and the circumstances surrounding the offenses. The federal Controlled Substances Act, which was enacted in 1970, provides broad categories into which various illegal drugs and prescription medications fall.
Drugs that are classified as Schedule 1 controlled substances are deemed to have little or no medical value and to carry the most harm. This category includes such illegal drugs that are not available by prescription such as heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Marijuana is also classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance despite the fact that it is legal in several states and has been shown to provide certain medical benefits.
As the schedules increase numerically, the risk of harm and the severity of the potential drug offenses decrease. In Schedule 2, drugs such as cocaine and morphine are listed. Schedule 3 includes such drugs as Vicodin and Marinol, and Schedule 4 includes commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium. Schedule 5 includes some prescription drugs with a slight potential for abuse such as certain types of cough suppressants and Lyrica.
People may face the most serious charges when they are caught with Schedule 1 substances other than marijuana. The potential penalties may also be more serious if the people are alleged to have engaged in manufacturing or trafficking of the drugs. No matter what levels of offenses that people might face, drug charges may bring consequences long after the underlying cases are discharged. These additional consequences may be lifelong and include problems with securing loans and credit, difficulties gaining approval for housing and problems finding jobs. This is why it might be advisable to have experienced defense representation when attempting to fight the allegations.