If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, you may be wondering what sort of penalties might be enforced. It is important that you know how Schedule I substances are treated in the legal system to present a case for the best possible outcome from your available options.
What Are Schedule I Controlled Substances?
Schedule I controlled substances receive this label as part of a federal categorization scheme that places drugs into a tiered list based upon how addictive they are, what effects they cause in humans and whether they have any medicinal properties. Schedule I substances have no medical use; they are never part of a treatment for an illness or disease. They are also highly addictive and cause significant changes in the human body when consumed.
Schedule I substances include drugs such as GBH, heroin, LSD and ecstasy. They have a high probability of addiction and serve no medical function.
The Penalties That Come From Schedule I Controlled Substances
If you have been found to be in possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, the penalties that you face may be more severe than if you had possessed a drug lower on the schedule. However, the exact penalty will vary depending upon a number of factors, such as if this was your first offense, how much of the substance you possessed and whether you were distributing it, among other considerations.
Possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance is a Class 5 Felony offense, and so one of the most common punishments is jail time. This may range from one to ten years in prison, with a more lenient sentence toward the lower side expected if this is your first charge; however, this is not a guarantee.
Fines Of Up To $2,500
Fines may also be ordered for possession of a Schedule I substance, even if the party has already received a penalty of jail time; the two are not mutually exclusive. The fine is up to the discretion of the court or jury hearing your case and a fine of not more than $2,500.00 can be imposed. You will be responsible for repaying the fine, even if you are currently unemployed or do not have the liquid assets.
Possible Driver’s License Suspension
In general, drug felonies result in at least a temporary suspension of your driver’s license privileges. This may only last a few months, typically six (6) months. If this is not your first offense, you may notice that your license suspension lasts multiple years instead of only a few months; the penalties become stricter with each subsequent offense.
Steps To Take In Your Defense
In order to ensure that you do not receive penalties harsher than necessary, it is important to present a compelling defense. One of the most important ways to do this is to compile all relevant evidence regarding your situation. This may include text or other conversations with witnesses and family, as well as photos.
Be sure to write down as much as you remember of the law enforcement encounter as soon as you can. Then, reach out to a legal professional who can take your documentation and help you assemble a solid defense before the court.
Work With A Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal defense attorney is critical for achieving the best possible outcome in your case. The attorney will work on your behalf to ensure a fair trial or plea, lessen the penalties that you may receive or even see your case dismissed due to lack of evidence. This is why compiling all of the evidence that you have is an important first step.
The Virginia First Time Offender Program
In Virginia, you may be eligible for a remedial program if you are a first offender for possession of a Schedule I controlled substance. In this program, in exchange for submitting to regular drug tests and undergoing education about substance abuse, you may be able to reduce your sentence or have your case dismissed.
You may need to agree to additional restrictions, such as giving up your driver’s license for a time or performing community service. Typically, 24 hours of community service is required for misdemeanor possession, but since Schedule I possession is a felony, the requirement is of at least 100 hours, if eligible.
Call A Knowledgeable Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney
As you consider what to do, now that you or someone you know has been charged with possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, one of the first steps is to locate a legal expert to represent you. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge would be happy to review your case and create a strategy to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.