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California Drug Schedule

Explained by a Los Angeles Drug Defense Lawyer

Drug crime offenses are charged based on the California Health and Safety Code. This section of codes details the schedules of narcotics in California, which is the drug schedule based off of the United States Controlled Substances Act. California law, following after federal law, has listed drugs as they fall into the categories of Schedule I through Schedule V.

Schedule I is the most serious grouping of narcotics, as they have been determined to have the highest potential for abuse and typically do not serve a medicinal purpose. Schedule I drug offenses therefore carry the most serious penalties.

You may find it helpful to think of every drug crime in two ways:

  • By type of crime
  • By schedule of drug

Those arrested for various types and degrees of drug offenses can speak with a Los Angeles drug crime attorney from our firm for further explanation and strong advocacy against these charges.

Health & Safety Code § 11053-11058

Under the California Health and Safety Code, there are five different schedules or classes of narcotics, Schedule I to Schedule V. Listed below are some of the most common drugs for each category:

Schedule I
According to § 11054, certain opiates and heroin are Schedule I drugs. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and have been deemed primarily unsafe for use except with the express written consent of a medical professional.

Schedule II
According to § 11055, cocaine, meth and morphine are Schedule II drugs. These drugs, while they also have a high potential for abuse, have some accepted medical uses such as the treatment of attention deficit disorder and extreme chronic pain.

Schedule III
According to § 11056, benzphetamine, clortermine and certain depressants are Schedule III drugs. While there is some potential for abuse of these drugs, that potential is less than that of Schedule I and II drugs. Most of these drugs have widely accepted medical uses in the U.S.

Schedule IV
According to § 11057, barbital, chloral hydrate and methohexital are Schedule IV drugs. These drugs have low-abuse potential, put possession in large amounts, driving under the influence of these drugs and sale of these drugs can be charged as drug crimes.

Schedule V
According to § 11058, even cough suppressants can fall under this category of drug. Also, certain mixtures of these drugs can result in dangerous side effects. Most of these drugs require a prescription.

Possession, Sale, Manufacturing & Trafficking

According to the California Health and Safety Code § 11350-11356.5, it is illegal to possess, possess for sale, manufacture/cultivate and transport/traffic illegal narcotics or prescription drugs. Listed below are some of the penalties for these crimes according to the California drug codes.

  • Marijuana: Recreational use of marijuana is legal as of January 2018. Adults 21 years and older may possess a maximum of 1 ounce of dried marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. It is also legal to grow up to 6 plants for personal use. Possessing or growing more than these amounts, however, is a misdemeanor crime and is punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Additionally, underage marijuana-users will be charged with an infraction and fined. Medical marijuana is also legal provided that the person in possession of the drug meets the qualifications for medical use and only possesses 6 mature plants or 12 immature plants.
  • Cocaine: Possession of this drug can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The maximum prison sentence for possession of cocaine is three years. For those charged with only simple possession of this drug, they may be able to qualify for drug diversion.
  • Heroin: Simple possession can warrant up to three years in prison, while the sale or trafficking of heroin can warrant enhanced penalties as detailed in the Health and Safety Code § 11352.
  • Amphetamines: While possession and sale charges are similar to possession and sale of other narcotics, manufacturing meth or other types of amphetamines will likely carry harsher sentences. This is a felony offense and, under § 11379.6, it can be punished by up to seven years in state prison.

How Our Los Angeles Drug Crime Defense Attorneys Can Help You

If you have been arrested for a drug offense in California, regardless of the schedule of drug or type of offense, you should seek to contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from our firm. Since Martinian Lawyers is located in Los Angeles, our firm has years of experience dealing with these types of cases.

The crime rate in Los Angeles is significantly higher than the crime rate in other cities in California and throughout the nation, which means that the law enforcement presence is greater, thereby increasing the rates of arrests. Schedule your free case evaluation by calling our firm today.