Drug offenses are one of the most common crimes in Georgia, and in many ways, are one of the most complex areas of the law. There are many classifications of drugs, substances, charges, penalties, and mitigating factors. Individuals who are charged with drug offenses likely have questions about their individual charges, and what penalties could result.
One of the most commonly misunderstood areas of Georgia’s drug laws are defining the term “controlled dangerous substances”, or CDS. CDS is classified as controlled substances that are considered illegal in Georgia, such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. What many people are unaware of is the fact that many of the individual ingredients and components used to manufacture these drugs are also classified under CDS laws, even if the component is legally obtained. For example, the prescription drug codeine is often legally obtained through a doctor’s prescription, but is classified as a CDS because it is commonly used to manufacture CDS drugs.
Georgia law is strict concerning CDS drugs and is broken down into five different “schedules” according to the danger and potential for addiction. Individuals who are charged with a CDS offense may notice a “schedule” on the charges, but may not be aware of what it means. These five schedules include:
- Schedule I - Schedule I drugs are those classified as having no medical use and a high potential for addiction, such as heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana. It is important to note that while many states have legalized marijuana in light of medical research, Georgia is not one of the states that support medical marijuana use.
- Schedule II - Schedule II drugs are those with a significant risk of addiction, and may be prescribed by a doctor, such as hydrocodone, pure codeine, morphine, and amphetamines.
- Schedule III – Schedule III drugs are classified as drugs that have been approved for medical use, and have a moderate risk of addiction, such as anabolic steroids and compounded drugs like codeine or hydrocodone mixed with NSAID or analgesic drugs.
- Schedule IV – Schedule IV drugs are drugs approved for medical use, which are readily available with a prescription, and have only a slight risk of addiction. Examples include valium, xanax, other benzodiazepines, and opioid analgesics.
- Schedule V – Schedule V drugs are classified as having the lowest risk of addiction and are accepted for medical use. Schedule V drugs are only available as a prescription and are regularly used, such as cough suppressants with small doses of codeine, or medications containing small doses of opium.
Penalties for CDS Drug Violations
The penalties for CDS drug violations depend largely on the schedule classification and the nature of the charges. The most common breakdown of penalties for these offenses includes:
- Schedule I or II narcotic – The penalties for Schedule I or II narcotic possession, a felony, includes possible incarceration from two to 15 years, or more if there is more than one prior conviction. Conviction may also result in expensive fines, community service, probation, and suspension of driving privileges.
- Schedule II non-narcotic – The penalties for a non-narcotic Schedule II possession, also a felony, includes two to 15 years incarceration, with up to 30 years if there is more than one prior conviction. Additional penalties might include fines, probation, and suspended driving privileges.
- Schedule III, IV, and V - While these offenses are less significant, the penalties are still strict, and include fines, possible jail time, community service, probation, and drug treatment.
If you have been charged with a CDS drug offense, do not wait to protect your rights and your future. CDS drug offenses can remain on your criminal record indefinitely causing you difficulties in your future pursuits. Contact an aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Abt Law Firm, LLC right away to fight CDS drug charges and avoid a criminal record. Call us 24/7 at 1-800-NOJAIL-9 (1-800-665-2459) to set up a free consultation over the phone, in our office, or at the jail.