What is Considered a Controlled Substance in California

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    What is Considered a Controlled Substance in California

    Controlled substances are certain drugs and substances that are regulated under the Federal Controlled Substances Act and the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act to curb illicit use and abuse. While some controlled substances in California are always considered illegal, like heroin and cocaine, others are regulated drugs that require a valid prescription to be legal, such as oxycodone, codeine, and morphine.

    Under Proposition 47, many controlled substance crimes are misdemeanor offenses. However, a misdemeanor conviction can still carry harsh penalties depending on the type and amount of the drug involved, possibly including fines and jail time.

    If you are facing a controlled substances charge in California, contact Sevens Legal right away to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable San Diego criminal defense attorneys.

    Key Takeaways

    • A controlled substance is a drug that is regulated under state or federal law into one of five schedules.
    • Controlled substances can be illicit street drugs or certain prescription drugs obtained without a proper prescription.
    • In the state of California, possession of a controlled substance is a criminal offense.
    • Individuals facing misdemeanor or felony charges for a controlled substances crime could serve time in jail.

    What are Examples of Controlled Drugs?

    California law separates controlled substances into five schedules, a determination that is based on several factors, including the drugs’ medical value, the potential for abuse, and safety standards. There are many different categories of controlled drugs under California law, including opiates, painkillers, sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, hallucinogenic substances, anabolic steroids, and illicit street drugs. Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse and lowest accepted medical use, while Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse and mainly include medications containing small quantities of certain legal narcotics.

    List of Controlled Substances in California

    Some examples of well-known controlled substances and their respective schedules are as follows:

    • Schedule I drugs: heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana, LSD, and PCP
    • Schedule II drugs: morphine, OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone), Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall (amphetamine)
    • Schedule III drugs: ketamine, anabolic steroids
    • Schedule IV drugs: Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam)
    • Schedule V drugs: certain analgesics (pain relievers), cough medicines with low doses of codeine

    California Controlled Substance Laws

    Are Controlled Substances Illegal?

    Most people think of illicit street drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine when they hear the term “controlled substance.” However, not all controlled substances are illegal drugs. Certain prescription drugs are also regulated by the federal government, mainly opioid painkillers like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). That means you can be charged with a crime if you are caught with a controlled prescription drug you obtained without a proper prescription.

    Possession of a Controlled Substance Offense

    The state law that makes possession of a controlled substance a crime is California Health & Safety Code 11350(a). Under this law, possessing certain controlled substances without a valid prescription for their use is illegal. Possession of a controlled substance is one of the most frequently charged drug crimes in California.

    Is Alcohol Considered a Controlled Substance in California?

    With so many potentially addictive drugs and other substances included in the list of controlled substances, you are probably wondering whether alcohol is considered a controlled substance under California law. While alcohol, like many of the regulated drugs noted above, has no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse which may lead to dependence, it is not considered a controlled substance.

    Are Anxiety Meds a Controlled Substance?

    Certain prescription medications commonly used to treat anxiety disorders fall under the umbrella of controlled substances. For instance, benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax are Schedule IV drugs. If you are caught with either of these medications and do not have a valid prescription for the drug, you could face criminal charges for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

    Consequences of a Controlled Substances Conviction in California

    While the state of California has eased up on criminal offenses involving certain low-level drugs, like marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession for sale, manufacturing narcotics, under the influence of a controlled substance, and sale or transportation of a controlled substance are still serious crimes. Even a misdemeanor possession charge in California carries a potential penalty of up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, among other possible collateral consequences. If the crime is charged as a felony offense, the stakes are far higher.

    Whatever your specific situation may be, do not make the mistake of assuming that a controlled substances offense in California is nothing to be concerned about. Suppose you are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance or any other drug-related offense. In that case, it is in your best interest to consult a reputable San Diego drug defense attorney right away to discuss your possible defense options.

    Best Criminal Lawyers Escondido 92027

    Any controlled substance charge in California is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. The consequences of a drug conviction can follow you for the rest of your life and may have a negative effect on your immigration status, gun rights, and future employment opportunities. The best way to protect your rights and safeguard your future when faced with a controlled substances charge is to schedule a free consultation with a skilled San Diego criminal defense attorney. At Sevens Legal, our attorneys have decades of experience handling controlled substances cases in San Diego and throughout California, and we will vigorously defend you against drug charges.

    How to Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

    Our top-rated criminal defense attorneys at Sevens Legal have the skill and expertise necessary to guide you toward the best possible resolution to your criminal charges. Call or text us today at (619) 430-2355 or visit our website to find out how we can help you with your drug case

    Our Clients Say

    “Samantha Green was great handling my case. She got me from a misdemeanor to a fraction. Im happy with that. She also kept me updated on my case and i never had to call her for an update. I would definitely use her again and recommend her to people.” – Amanda K.

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