The United States has always made vehement efforts to ban addictive drugs from the general population. These efforts include creating federal and state laws that strongly criminalize the possession, manufacturing, and distribution of these drugs. The first successful effort to regulate illegal drugs came through the establishment of the Controlled Substances Act, drafted and enacted in the 1970s. The Act characterizes hallucinogens, narcotics, stimulants, and depressants, as controlled substances and puts them into “schedules,” that indicate their potential harmfulness.
Pennsylvania has adopted the CSA scheduling classification system as a template for determining penalties for convicted drug offenders. This is why it's incredibly important for people arrested and charged with drug offenses that involve controlled substances to understand the state's approach and remedies to drug crimes. In this article, we will provide insight to (1) the drug classification system in Pennsylvania, (2) the drugs that are categorized under drug schedule 3, (3) and the legal ramifications associated with these drug crimes.
Drug Classifications in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, a drug's classification dictates the severity of the potential penalties an alleged perpetrator will face upon conviction of a drug offense. Authorities classify illegal drugs into five schedules that, in the eyes of the government, serve as an imminent danger to society. The classification system ranges from schedule 1 drugs, which are perceived as most hazardous, to schedule 4 drugs, deemed as the least dangerous, but are still regulated. In order to decide if a drug belongs on a schedule, and where a drug belongs, the government assesses a number of characteristics:
- The drug's potential risk to public health
- Whether or not the drug is a gateway drug (leads to the use of another illegal substance)
- The drug's relative or actual potential for abuse
- The effects of long-term usage
- The state of the scientific research available for the drug
- It's overall popularity and accessibility etc.
Schedule 3 Drugs
Although schedule 3 drugs are not apprehended as dangerous as schedule 1 and 2 drugs, people are still arrested, charged and convicted for their possession all the time. These substances have a potential for abuse less than its most dangerous counterparts, and it has accepted medical use in treatment in the nation. When the drugs in this schedule are abused, drug users may develop a moderate to law physical and psychological dependence on the drugs.
Some schedule 3 drugs include:
- Anabolic steroids
In the state, the possession, manufacturing, and distribution of controlled substances is against the law. The crime of simple possession is charged as a misdemeanor, while the possession with the intent to deliver (PWID) is charged as a felony. The legal ramifications of these penalties are harsh and typically result in costly fines, a jail sentence or imprisonment.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug crime, it's important that you immediately retain an attorney. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento can assess your case and weigh your options based on your individualized circumstances. Contact him today.