The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is a successful effort made by the federal government to regulate narcotics, hallucinogens, depressants, and stimulants. By categorizing drugs into “schedules,” the Act dictates the potential risk illegal drugs pose to the general public. Using this legislation as a cornerstone, the possession, manufacturing, and distribution of controlled substances has been criminalized nationwide. Harsh penalties are imposed upon drug offenders across the nation, in an attempt to deter drug use in the nation.
Pennsylvania uses the government's CSA drug classification system to prosecute people convicted of drug offenses. This is why it's important for people charged with a drug crime involving controlled substances to understand their state's approaches and remedies to drug abuse. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of (1) Pennsylvania's drug classification system, (2) the drugs that are listed under drug schedule 4, (3) and the criminal penalties associated with these crimes.
Drug Classifications in Pennsylvania
A drug's assigned classification dictates the severity of the legal ramifications an alleged perpetrator will undergo upon conviction of a drug offense. Pennsylvania categorizes illegal drugs into five schedules that are perceived as a risk to the population. These schedules are ordered from the most dangerous substances (schedule 1 drugs) to the least dangerous and widely accepted (schedule 5 drugs). In order to determine where a drug belongs on the schedule, authorities analyze a number of factors:
- Its overall popularity and accessibility
- The effects of long-term usage
- Whether or not the substance is a gateway drug (leading to the use of another illegal substance
- The drug's potential risk to public health
- The drug's actual or relative potential for abuse
- The state of the scientific research available for the drug etc.
Schedule 4 Drugs
Although schedule 4 drugs aren't considered as dangerous as their higher scheduled counterparts, people who are caught with these substances still face similar penalties for possession and distribution under state law. The substances listed in schedule 4 have a relatively low potential for abuse and a low risk of physical and psychological dependence.
Some examples of schedule 4 drugs include:
- Tranxene etc.
In Pennsylvania, it is against the law for an individual to possess (without a prescription), manufacture, or distribute an illegal drug. The majority of people who are arrested for a drug-related crime are arrested for simple possession. Simple possession is charged as a misdemeanor, but it still warrants pretty harsh penalties. Depending on the circumstances, people convicted of this offense are subjected to costly fines and potential jail time. Possession with the intent to deliver (PWID) is charged as a felony. People convicted of this crime are sentenced to a prison term, even first-time offenders.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with a drug-related offense, it is important that you retain an attorney. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has experience advocating for clients with drug charges, and has helped them get their sentence reduced, or get their case completely dismissed. He can do the same for you. Contact him today.