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What are 'schedules' when it comes to drug charges?

Possession of illegally obtained prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs can land a person in legal hot water. Most people know that allegations that one is in possession of illegal drugs can lead to drug charges. The penalties associated with drug possession laws in Georgia are based upon what "schedule" the drug falls under (aside from marijuana possession).

Schedule I drugs are the most serious. These are drugs that have a great capacity for abuse and have no medicinal purposes. Schedule II drugs are the next most serious. These are drugs that have a great capacity for abuse and dependence, but do have very restricted medicinal uses. Schedule III drugs are those that have less of a capacity for abuse and a low to moderate capacity for dependence, but do have accepted and recognized medicinal uses.

Schedule IV drugs are those with less of a capacity for abuse, a limited capacity for dependence and there are accepted and recognized medicinal uses. Finally, there are Schedule V drugs. These are drugs that have the lowest capacity for abuse, limited capacity for dependence and there are accepted and recognized medicinal uses.

When a person is charged with a drug crime, the penalties he or she faces are based in part on what schedule the drugs fall under. The amount of drugs at issue are also factors in the penalties that may follow a drug crime. However, any of these penalties could lead to fines, prison time and the loss of one's driver's license. Therefore, those facing drug charges will want to take every measure possible to develop a solid defense strategy. With legal guidance, it may be possible in some cases to have one's charges reduced or even dropped altogether.

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