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A controlled substance is one that is outlined in the California Health and Safety Code as a common drug that falls under a delineated category of regulated substances. There are different schedules within the Health and Safety Code identifying which drugs fall into which categories.  The category then determines the violations that an individual may be charged with.

Because there are various drug categorizations in Alameda County, the legal process and potential penalties accordingly vary. To learn more about the different types of narcotics and their related penalties, it may be wise to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases.

How are Controlled Substances Categorized?

Narcotics and controlled substances are divided into five different “schedules” by the federal government as well as the California Penal Code. The categorization a drug falls into in Alameda County is preset based on the designated controlled substances schedules which is determined by the effects of the drug. Controlled substances are classified depending on whether they have a potential for abuse, how they affect people, and the access that people have to these drugs. For example. heroin is categorized differently than substances that a person can buy over the counter, like cough medicine.

Schedule I Substances

Health and Safety Code §11054 defines Schedule One controlled substances. An example of a  schedule one drug would be heroin. These substances are considered to have a high potential for abuse or addiction, are considered unsafe to use, have no accepted medical value according to the federal government. Other well-known schedule I substances include, but are not limited to, those that have a stimulant effect on the central nervous system like cocaine base,  hallucinogenic substances like lysergic acid (LSD), and depressants that have have an effect on the central nervous system like Methaqualone.

Schedule II Drugs

As outlined in Health and Safety Code §11055, Schedule Two controlled substances include, but are not limited to, cocaine (non-base), morphine, opium, oxycodone, codeine, Fentanyl, methadone, amphetamines and methamphetamine. These substances also have a high potential for abuse, but they are considered to have some medical uses. They are not treated like those drugs that do not necessarily have accepted medical uses but are still considered dangerous because they can lead to extreme psychological and physical dependence.

Schedule III Drugs

Schedule three drugs are defined in Health and Safety Code §11056. Schedule three controlled substances would be something that also has a potential for abuse but has wider accepted medical uses than Schedule 1 or 2 drugs. This categorization of drugs in Alameda County and throughout California includes substances such as ketamine, Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), and certain anabolic steroids. When prescribed by a medical professional, these substances are legal, and may be useful.

Schedule IV Medications

Schedule four drugs are defined in Health and Safety Code §11057 and are commonly prescribed substances such as Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Lorazepam, Diazepam, and Meprobamate, . They are often provided by prescription to treat diagnosed medical conditions.

Schedule V Drugs

A schedule five drugs  tend to have a widely accepted medical use and are often provided by prescription but can be found over the counter.  These medications are still controlled because they may have dangerous side effects. According to Health and Safety Code §11058, medications such as cough syrup that contains small amounts of codeine are in this category.

What are Mandatory Minimums and Maximum Sentences?

Minimum and maximum sentencing in Alameda County drug cases is determined by what is outlined in the California Penal Code. The legislature makes the determinations based on policy and public safety and identifies what the minimum and the maximum sentence should be for crimes or all crimes, including controlled dangerous substances. Penalties can range from misdemeanor to felony violations with the possibility of incarceration and fines – as well as other potential consequences like search clauses, drug offender registration, and probation.

Let an Attorney Help Explain the Various Drug Categorizations

Contacting an attorney comes with many benefits, especially if you have been charged with a drug-related offense, because an attorney could help you navigate the criminal justice system, understand the procedural process of being charged with the crime, and review your background for any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. It will also help in terms of building a defense early on and strategizing on how that defense should be presented. To learn more about drug categorization in Alameda County, call now to schedule a consultation.

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