The law in Washington that deals with drug crimes is the Uniform Controlled Substance Act. Violating this law is known as a VUCSA crime, and carries significant criminal penalties, from steep fines to jail time to difficulties and restrictions after all of the criminal sanctions have ended.
The penalties that you can face if you are convicted for committing a VUCSA crime can vary, and depend largely on the type of drug associated with the crime. To make things relatively straightforward, the Uniform Controlled Substance Act splits all known drugs into five Schedules, numbered I through V. Each of these Schedules includes drugs and other substances that have commonalities, including any medicinal purpose they serve, and how addictive they can be, if abused. Schedule I is reserved for the most severe drugs, while Schedule V lists relatively banal substances.
Here is a rundown of the Act's drug Schedules and the types of drugs they list, which can be useful in determining the seriousness of a criminal charge for possessing or dealing them.
Schedule I of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act is for the most serious drugs known. Unsurprisingly, the penalties that come with violating the law with drugs included in this Schedule are the most severe.
The substances listed in Schedule I have been found to not only have a high potential for abuse, but are also not used for any medical treatment in the U.S. and are not even safe to use while under medical supervision. The full list of drugs on Schedule I include many opiates and their derivatives, including heroin and codeine, as well as a handful of stimulants, depressants, and other hallucinogens, like peyote.
Schedule II is for drugs or other substances that have a high potential for abuse, but that have some sort of medicinal purpose in the U.S., though only with severe restrictions. Additionally, these drugs are highly addictive. The full listing of drugs on Schedule II include some opiates and their derivatives, including morphine, methadone, and oxycodone, stimulants like methamphetamine, and a smattering of depressants and hallucinogens.
The middle point of the drug listings, Schedule III is for substances that are somewhat addictive and have a potential for abuse less than those in Schedules I and II, and that have a medical use in the U.S. A look through the full listing of Schedule III drugs finds stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens, but also anabolic steroids and even narcotics, when they are possessed in small amounts.
Schedule IV drugs are those that are slightly addictive, but also have a low potential for abuse and an accepted medical use in the U.S. The full list of Schedule IV drugs is dominated by depressants and stimulants.
The least serious of the drug categories under the Uniform Controlled Substance Act, Schedule V contains the drugs that are the least likely to be abused or to cause an addiction, and which have an accepted use in medical treatments in the U.S. The full listing of Schedule V drugs includes narcotics in exceptionally small amounts, as well as a few other depressants and stimulants.
Attorney Steve Karimi
A former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney Steve Karimi knows how drug crimes are investigated and pursued. Call his law office at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online for vigorous defense against a drug charge.