For possession of an illegal substance, you can face up to a year in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000. With any Schedule III or IV drug-related conviction, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second offense, and two years for a third offense. You will have a criminal record that can negatively affect your ability to get a good job, join the military, obtain certain professional licenses or be admitted to graduate school. You may be unable to obtain a federally subsidized student loan. If you share custody of your children, a drug conviction could be damaging to your parental agreement and you might lose some of your rights to see your kids.
In the United States, the Controlled Substances Act defines, categorizes, and regulates drugs into five schedules based on their potential for addiction and abuse. Drugs that are classified under this act are considered to be controlled substances. If you are found in possession, distribution, sales, or manufacture of any controlled substance, you can be prosecuted under state and federal laws.
List of Schedule 3 and 4 Drugs
Schedule I drugs are considered to have the most potential for abuse and addiction, while Schedule V drugs have the least potential. If your drug arrest involves Schedule III or Schedule IV drugs, can also be charged with a felony offense. If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced based on Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws. If you or a family member is charged with a Schedule III or IV drug crime, it is critical that you retain a defense attorney who thoroughly understands drug laws.
Schedule III Drugs Are Classified as Moderately Dangerous
Schedule III drugs are classified as having moderate to low potential to be physically or psychologically addictive. These drugs have an abuse potential that is lower than Schedule II drugs. Schedule III drugs do have medical use in the U.S. and are available by prescription. They include drugs like Vicodin, anabolic steroids, testosterone, Tylenol with codeine, and ketamine.
Schedule IV Drugs Have a Lower Danger Level
Schedule IV drugs are classified as having low potential to be physically or psychologically addictive. These drugs have an abuse potential that is lower than Schedule III drugs. Schedule IV drugs are also available by prescription in the U.S. because they may be recommended for certain medical uses. They include Xanax, Soma, Valium, Darvocet, Ativan, Talwin, and Ambien.
In Pennsylvania, you have possession of a controlled substance when you own or possess it. If the controlled substance is available by prescription, and you are caught with the drug but without a valid prescription for it, you can be charged.
For you to be convicted of possessing a controlled substance, prosecutors must prove:
- You knowingly and intentionally had control of an illegal drug.
- You knew the drugs were illegal, you knew the drugs were present, and you intended to use or control them.
- You either had actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. In other words, you had the drug on your person, such as in your pocket, or in a spot that you had control over, like the trunk of your car or hidden under your bed.
Is Selling or Intending to Sell A Schedule III or IV Drug a Felony?
If you are caught with a controlled substance in your possession, the courts in Pennsylvania can punish you harshly. But if you are arrested for selling, or intending to sell, those same drugs, the penalties you face will be even more severe.
If you are charged with selling or intending to sell a Schedule III drug, you risk being sentenced to as many as five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
If you are charged with selling or intending to sell a Schedule IV drug, you risk up to three years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
In Pennsylvania, the judge will use the specific circumstances of your case as part of the equation when he or she determines your sentence. You can receive heavier penalties based on factors such as drug amount, weapons involvement, prior convictions and whether you were arrested near a school.
What Pennsylvania Law Says About Drugs
Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substance, Drug, Device And Cosmetic Act prohibits knowingly or intentionally possessing drugs or fake drugs unless you have a prescription. Anyone in violation of this is charged with a misdemeanor. It also prohibits the manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver drugs unless you’re licensed to do so, and a violation is considered a felony. Pennsylvania also has mandatory minimum sentencing laws that will be enforced for violations.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Charged
If you have been charged with a drug offense, your first step should be to immediately hire a lawyer.
An experienced drug crime lawyer will have worked with the prosecutors handling your case many times before. They can draw on their relationships and understanding of the local court system to lessen or dismiss your charges.
Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your attorney is with you. Contact a criminal lawyer from our law firm today.
Your lawyer will go over what happened both before and after your arrest. Importantly, he or she will assess whether there was probable cause to charge you with a crime. This includes determining if the drugs really belonged to you.
If you were arrested for a drug crime while you were in your car, a critical aspect of your case will be whether or not the police had probable cause to pull you over and do a search. If there was not probable cause, the evidence obtained by law enforcement can be suppressed.