The federal and state Controlled Substances Acts determine which drugs are considered the most dangerous drugs and which are considered the least dangerous. Generally, Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous while Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous. Possession, manufacture, importation, use, and distribution of all Scheduled drugs are all considered crimes. The main differences between the various schedules are the criminal penalties that apply.
Schedule IV drugs, according to the federal Controlled Substances Act and Drugs.com, are considered to have a “low potential for abuse relative to the drugs in Schedule III. Schedule IV drugs do have a “currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” Abuse of a Schedule IV drug “may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs in schedule III.”
What drugs are considered Schedule IV drugs?
According to the Addiction Center, common federal Schedule IV drugs include the following drugs, among others:
Schedule IV drugs specifically listed in the Tennessee state law include certain narcotics and substances, as well as:
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Tennessee laws on possession of Schedule IV drugs
“It is an offense for a defendant to knowingly:
- Manufacture a controlled substance
- Deliver a controlled substance
- Sell a controlled substance
- Possess a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell the controlled substance.”
The penalties for violating any drug offenses – involving Schedule IV drugs are as follows:
- Crimes involving Flunitrazepam are a Class C felony. The fines can be up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). Defendants can be imprisoned for no less than 3 years and up to 15 years.
- Any criminal offense involving any other Schedule IV controlled substance is a Class D felony. The fines are up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). Defendants can be imprisoned for no less than 2 years and up to 12 years.
Are there defenses to Schedule IV drug charges?
It’s critical that you speak with an experienced Franklin drug defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. There are defenses that may help you obtain a dismissal or an acquittal. Some of the defenses that may apply to your Schedule IV drug charges are:
- You didn’t know you possessed the drug. There are times when someone puts a drug in your bag or other possession without your knowledge.
- Constructive possession is not enough. Generally, it’s not enough for the government to show you were near the drugs. The government must show you were in actual possession.
- The police didn’t have legal grounds to stop you or search you. The police must comply with the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution which requires that they have reasonable grounds to stop/search you or probable cause to obtain a warrant. If the stop/search violates the Fourth Amendment, then the evidence obtained can be suppressed – which can result in the case being dismissed.
- The chain of custody was broken. Once the police seize the Schedule IV drugs, they need to test the drugs to determine what drug is involved and the amount of the drug. The prosecution needs to account for this evidence from the time of the seizure until your trial. If the chain of custody of the drug evidence is broken, the drug evidence should be suppressed.
Of course, if you are innocent then an alibi, the testimony of witnesses, or other testimony/evidence can be presented in your defense.
Alternative sentences for Schedule IV crimes
In Tennessee, drug courts may be an option if you qualify. There are drug courts for adults, veterans, people with mental health problems, DUI offenses, and juveniles.
The focus on drug courts is to provide a monitored substance abuse program that is supervised by a judge, requires that defendants undergo mandatory drug testing, requires that defendants attend treatment programs, and that the accused complies with other rehabilitation requirements. There are sanctions for noncompliance. If a defendant fails to comply with the program, then he/she may be sentenced to prison to serve out the remainder of the sentence imposed for the drug offense.
Defendants may also be required to have a job and/or to participate in community service as part of their drug treatment program. The drug program is designed with input from your criminal defense lawyer, the prosecution, the judge, and drug treatment professionals. Your lawyer can explain if you have the right to seek an expungement of your criminal record if you successfully complete your drug court program.
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, our Franklin criminal defense lawyer works aggressively to suppress drug evidence or statements that were illegally obtained. We challenge the prosecution’s case through cross-examining witnesses, challenging the admissibility of evidence, contesting the grounds for the arrest, and by working to show there is a reasonable doubt. If clients are eligible, we review with the prosecution the viability of a drug court program. In some cases, we negotiate Schedule IV drug offenses to lesser charges which carry less severe penalties.
We’ve been fighting for criminal defendants in Tennessee for 30 years. If you’ve been charged with a Schedule IV drug offense or any drug offense, please call our office at 615-977-9370 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We fight for criminal defendants in and around Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood.
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