What Is A Controlled Substance?

Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer

//What Is A Controlled Substance?
What Is A Controlled Substance?
Controlled Substance Pills - Haddad Law Firm

Possession of Controlled Substances

Generally, a controlled substance is a drug or chemical that is regulated by the government. Often, these substances can negatively affect people’s health and welfare. As a result, state and federal governments regulate controlled substances.

Although possessing controlled substance is illegal, there are many circumstances in which people are allowed to have and consume certain drugs. For example, doctors regularly prescribe many types of controlled substances to patients. These prescriptions are filled by local pharmacies and the drugs are used for legitimate medical treatment.

How Are Controlled Substances Categorized?

Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, “controlled substance” means a substance, including a drug, an adulterant, and a dilutant, listed in Schedules I through V.

In Texas, the commissioner of state health services shall annually establish the schedules of controlled substances. If the commissioner finds the substance has a potential for abuse, the executive commissioner shall adopt a rule controlling the substance.

These annual schedules shall include the complete list of all controlled substances from the previous schedules and modifications in the federal schedules of controlled substances.

In making a determination regarding the classification of a substance, the commissioner shall consider:

  1. the actual or relative potential for its abuse;
  2. the scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known;
  3. the state of current scientific knowledge regarding the substance;
  4. the history and current pattern of its abuse;
  5. the scope, duration, and significance of its abuse;
  6. the risk to the public health;
  7. the potential to produce psychological or physiological dependence liability; and
  8. whether the substance is an analogue or precursor of a controlled substance.

Technically, it is illegal to possess any one of the drugs on the lists of controlled substances. However, if your doctor has prescribed a controlled substance for you to use and you have lawfully purchased the medication, you are not violating the law and are exempt from prosecution.

Substances shall be listed in Schedule I if the commissioner finds that the substance:

  1. has a high potential for abuse; and
  2. has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.

Examples of drugs on the list of Schedule I controlled substances include heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote and ecstasy.

The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule II if the commissioner finds that:

  1. the substance has a high potential for abuse;
  2. the substance has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Common drugs on the list of Schedule II controlled substances include Dilaudid, Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine, opium, codeine, amphetamines (i.e. Dexedrine, Adderall) and methamphetamine.

The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule III if the commissioner finds that:

  1. the substance has a potential for abuse less than that of the substances listed in Schedules I and II;
  2. the substance has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

Some of the drugs found on the list of Schedule III controlled substances are Vicodin, Tylenol/Codeine, Suboxone, ketamine and anabolic steroids.

The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule IV if the commissioner finds that:

  1. the substance has a lower potential for abuse than that of the substances listed in Schedule III;
  2. the substance has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. abuse of the substance may lead to a more limited physical or psychological dependence than that of the substances listed in Schedule III.

A list of Schedule IV controlled substances includes Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Versed, Restoril and Halcion.

The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule V if the commissioner finds that the substance:

  1. has a lower potential for abuse than that of the substances listed in Schedule IV;
  2. has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. may lead to a more limited physical or psychological dependence liability than that of the substances listed in Schedule IV.

A list of Schedule V controlled substances consists of preparations that contain limited quantities of narcotics, including cough syrups that contain codeine.

Substances shall be listed in Schedule I if the commissioner finds that the substance:

  1. has a high potential for abuse; and
  2. has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.

Examples of drugs on the list of Schedule I controlled substances include heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote and ecstasy.

The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule II if the commissioner finds that:

  1. the substance has a high potential for abuse;
  2. the substance has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Common drugs on the list of Schedule II controlled substances include Dilaudid, Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine, opium, codeine, amphetamines (i.e. Dexedrine, Adderall) and methamphetamine.

The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule III if the commissioner finds that:

  1. the substance has a potential for abuse less than that of the substances listed in Schedules I and II;
  2. the substance has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

Some of the drugs found on the list of Schedule III controlled substances are Vicodin, Tylenol/Codeine, Suboxone, ketamine and anabolic steroids.

The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule IV if the commissioner finds that:

  1. the substance has a lower potential for abuse than that of the substances listed in Schedule III;
  2. the substance has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. abuse of the substance may lead to a more limited physical or psychological dependence than that of the substances listed in Schedule III.

A list of Schedule IV controlled substances includes Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Versed, Restoril and Halcion.

The commissioner shall place a substance in Schedule V if the commissioner finds that the substance:

  1. has a lower potential for abuse than that of the substances listed in Schedule IV;
  2. has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. may lead to a more limited physical or psychological dependence liability than that of the substances listed in Schedule IV.

A list of Schedule V controlled substances consists of preparations that contain limited quantities of narcotics, including cough syrups that contain codeine.

Was There A Valid Stop?

An officer must have a legal reason for initiating contact.

Stay Calm & Be Polite

Just because an officer stops you doesn’t mean you committed a crime. Ask the officer if you are free to leave.

Was The Search Legal?

You have the right to refuse an officer's request to search.

Don't Get Tricked!

Without consent, police officers must have a proper legal basis to search a person, vehicle or house.

Was Arrest Legitimate?

An officer must have probable cause to make an arrest.

Remain Silent

What you don’t say can’t hurt you.

Penalty Groups / Offense Levels / Punishment Ranges

The Texas Controlled Substances Act categorizes drugs into four different penalty groups. However, it is important to note that marijuana is classified in a separate category of its own. Accordingly, each penalty group has its own offense levels and punishment ranges.

Texas controlled substances laws are particularly strict. However, punishment for possession of a controlled substance varies widely depending on the level of the offense. For example, sentencing depends on several factors such as the type of drug, quantity, how the drug was stored or concealed, possession of paraphernalia like scales, baggies or large amounts of cash and even the location of the offense.

Drugs commonly found in Penalty Group 1 are opiates, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, GHB,  and ketamine. Penalty Group 1-A includes LSD.

The quantity of the drug involved controls the punishment range for possession of a PG1 controlled substance:

Quantity/Weight of DrugsOffense LevelPunishment Range
Less than 1 gramState Jail Felony180 days-2yrs State Jail, fine<$10,000
More than 1 gram, less than 4 grams3rd Degree Felony2-10yrs prison, fine<$10,000
More than 4 grams, less than 200 grams2nd Degree Felony2-20yrs prison, fine<$10,000
More than 200 grams, less than 400 grams1st Degree Felony5-99yrs prison, fine<$10,000
400 grams or more1st Degree Felony10-99yrs prison, fine<$100,000
Drugs commonly found in Penalty Group 2 are PCP, mescaline, MDMA and tetrahydrocannabinols other than marijuana.

Similarly, the quantity of the drug involved controls the punishment range for possession of a PG2 controlled substance:

Quantity/Weight of DrugsOffense LevelPunishment Range
Less than 1 gramState Jail Felony180 days-2yrs State Jail, fine<$10,000
More than 1 gram, less than 4 grams3rd Degree Felony2-10yrs prison, fine<$10,000
More than 4 grams, less than 400 grams2nd Degree Felony2-20yrs prison, fine<$10,000
More than 400 grams1st Degree Felony5-99yrs prison, fine<$50,000
Drugs commonly found in Penalty Group 3 are opioids and opiates not listed in Penalty Group 1, benzodiazepines, sedatives and anabolic steroids.

However, punishment for possession of a PG3 controlled substance is different than the two groups above.

Quantity/Weight of DrugsOffense LevelPunishment Range
Less than 28 gramsClass A MisdemeanorUp to 1yr county jail, fine<$4,000
More than 28 grams, less than 200 grams3rd Degree Felony2-10yrs prison, fine<$10,000
More than 200 grams, less than 400 grams2nd Degree Felony2-20yrs prison, fine<$10,000
More than 400 grams1st Degree Felony5-99yrs prison, fine<$50,000
Penalty Group 4 drugs include many types of prescription drugs not included in the first 3 groups.

Punishment for possession of a PG4 controlled substance is as follows:

Quantity/Weight of DrugsOffense LevelPunishment Range
Less than 28 gramsClass B Misdemeanor180 days county jail, fine<$2,000
More than 28 grams, less than 200 grams3rd Degree Felony2-10yrs prison, fine<$10,000
More than 200 grams, less than 400 grams2nd Degree Felony2-20yrs prison, fine<$10,000
More than 400 grams1st Degree Felony5-99yrs prison, fine<$50,000

Drugs commonly found in PG1 are opiates, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, GHB, and ketamine. Penalty Group 1-A includes LSD.

Primarily, the quantity or weight of drugs determines the offense level and punishment range for possession of a PG1 controlled substance:

WeightLvlPunishment
<1gSJF180d-2yrs, <$10k
1g<4gF32-10yrs, <$10k
4g<200gF22-20yrs, <$10k
200g<400gF15-99yrs, <$10k
400g +F110-99yrs, <$100k

Drugs commonly found in PG2 are PCP, mescaline, MDMA and tetrahydrocannabinols other than marijuana.

Click Here for a full list of PG2 substances.

Click Here for a full list of PG2-A substances.

Similarly, the quantity or weight of the drug determines the punishment range for possession of a PG2 controlled substance:

WeightLvlPunishment
<1gSJF180d-2yrs, <$10k
1g<4gF32-10yrs, <$10k
4g<400gF22-20yrs, <$10k
400g +F15-99yrs, <$50k

Drugs commonly found in PG3 are opioids and opiates not listed in PG1, benzodiazepines, sedatives and anabolic steroids.

Click Here for a full list of PG3 substances.

However, punishment for possession of a PG3 controlled substance is different than the PG1 and PG2:

WeightLvlPunishment
<28gMA1yr jail, <$4k
28g<200gF32-10yrs, <$10k
200g<400gF22-20yrs, <$10k
400g +F15-99yrs, <$50k

PG4 drugs include many types of prescription drugs not included in the first 3 groups.

Click Here for a full list of PG4 substances

Punishment for possession of a PG4 controlled substance is as follows:

WeightLvlPunishment
<28gMB180d jail, <$2k
28g<200gF32-10yrs, <$10k
200g<400gF22-20yrs, <$10k
400g+F15-99yrs, <$50k

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