In both Texas and Louisiana, courts base drug charges on the type of controlled substance you had in your possession. All states and the federal government regulate possession of controlled substances, but the penalties vary based on how the drug is classified.
Schedules verses penalty groups
Louisiana classifies controlled substances into five schedules. Drugs categorized as Schedule I substances are those with the highest potential for addiction and abuse and no medicinal purpose. Substances classified into Schedules II, III and IV carry less risk for addiction and can be used for curative purposes and Schedule V drugs are low-risk narcotics.
Instead of schedules, Texas categorizes controlled substances into four categories – hallucinogens, stimulants, depressants and narcotics – and then further classifies them into five different penalty groups. Certain substances can fall into more than one category, such as when it is both a stimulant and a narcotic. Marijuana has its own penalty class, but Penalty Groups One through Four closely mirror the schedules used by other states.
Although the schedules and penalty groups outline the standard punishments for possession of a controlled substance, aggravating factors can increase penalties. If you are caught with a scale and small packets of drugs or a large amount and a controlled substance, the prosecution could seek intent to distribute charges. An arrest in a school zone or other drug-free zone can also adversely affect the severity of your charge.
A possession charge and any related drug charges can carry harsh jail sentences and consequences that last long after you served your time. If facing a drug charge, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you protect your future.