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Is Possession of a Controlled Substance a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Possessing controlled substances is a serious crime that involves drugs and drug paraphernalia. What defines a controlled substance are federal laws like the Controlled Substance Act as well as various state laws.

The Controlled Substance Act

This takes all substances (such as narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, etc.) that were in some way regulated under existing federal law and places them into one of five categories that are also known as “schedules”. This means that manufacturers, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances are carefully regulated.

Substances are placed in one of five schedules based on their medicinal value, their potential for abuse/addiction and harmfulness. They range from Schedule I, the most harmful, to Schedule V, the least harmful.

Schedule I- Drugs that have a high tendency for abuse or addiction. Not accepted for medical use and aren’t available at pharmacies or prescription.

Schedule II - Drug with a high tendency for abuse that may be accepted for medical use. They may be available with a doctor’s prescription, though not all pharmacies may have them. Also, addiction or dependency may be produced when using these drugs.

Schedule III- Drugs that have a lower potential for abuse or addiction and are accepted for medical use. May be available with a prescription, though not all pharmacies may have them.

Schedule IV- Drugs with a low potential for abuse and addiction, have accepted medical use and have limited addictive properties. May be available with a prescription, though not all pharmacies may have them.

Schedule V- Drugs with a lower chance of abuse than Schedule IV, accepted for medical use and also have a lesser chance of side effects and as well as dependence than Schedule IV drugs. These drugs are regulated though typically don’t require a prescription.

Misdemeanor or Felony?

In fact, the possession of a controlled substance can be either. However, it depends on a few factors.

Type of Drug- Certain drugs tend to be more punishable than other. For example, marijuana possession is typically a misdemeanor and crack cocaine results in felony charges.
Amount of Drug-The higher the amount of drug, the more likely it will become a felony.
The Intent- If there are plans to distribute the substance that’s in possession, it typically results in felony charges.

Being caught with possessing controlled substance can be a serious offense that could lead to severe legal penalties. At the Plymouth and Ann Arbor law firm of Aldrich Legal Services, we help defend clients from criminal charges throughout southeast Michigan. If you need the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer, contact our team today. 

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