Experience On Both Sides Of The Court Room

What is the difference between state and federal drug charges?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Federal Offenses

When charged with a criminal offense, you know that your future could be at stake. Depending on the charges you are facing, a conviction could result in time behind bars, not to mention a mark on your criminal record that may impact your future opportunities. These are all ways a criminal allegation could impact your life, regardless of the nature of the crime.

However, there are certain types of crimes that could have a more significant impact than others. State-level charges typically have lesser penalties, while federal offenses have more serious penalties associated with them. With drug charges, there can be a sharp increase in the severity of the consequences for a federal crime versus a state-level drug crime.

Elevated penalties associated with federal drug charges

Federal drug charges are those associated with scheduled drugs, which are those regulated by federal law. The federal government has different classifications for different drugs, and this can play a role in the severity of criminal charges one is facing for possession, trafficking and other offenses. The schedule is as follows:

  • Schedule V drugs — These are drugs that have a very low potential for dependency or abuse, such as cough syrups with codeine, ezogabine and more.
  • Schedule IV drugs — These are drugs that have a low potential for abuse, such as Valium, Xanax and more, and they have a valid medical use.
  • Schedule III — These are drugs that have a moderate potential for abuse, such as ketamine, anabolic steroids and more.
  • Schedule II drugs — These are drugs that carry a high potential for abuse and potential dependence, but they do have accepted medical uses. These include Ritalin, morphine, methadone and more.
  • Schedule I drugs — These are drugs that have a high potential for abuse and dependency, and they have no approved medical use. These include psychedelics, heroin and ecstasy.

Drug classifications can have a serious impact on the nature of the prosecution’s case against you. If you are facing federal drug charges, your future is at stake, but you have the right to fight back. Through a strong defense strategy, you can fight for your personal freedom and your long-term interests. As soon as possible after an arrest or the onset of an investigation, you will benefit from seeking insight regarding your defense options.