There is a debate within American society as to whether the use of controlled substances such as drugs should be banned. Some claim that drug crimes are victimless crimes and not much different than alcohol; others cite their effects, both short and long term, as reason to ban them. Regardless, under both Alabama state law and federal law, illegal drug distribution and use are illegal, and the penalties for violating anti-drug statutes are harsh.
Statistics reveal that law enforcement, particularly drug enforcement, focuses on those who distribute drugs. It seems that law enforcement does not look to enforce the law against end users. They seek to enforce the law against distributors, manufacturers, and those involved in transporting the drugs.
The Alabama statute criminalizing drug distribution makes it unlawful for a person to sell, furnish, give away, deliver, or distribute a controlled substance. A controlled substance is defined in the Alabama drug distribution statute is being any substance listed in the drug schedule (see below). Note that the statute applies not only to illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroine but also to legal drugs that require a prescription, but are illegally distributed. Moreover, Alabama courts interpret the drug distribution statutes to include almost any situation involving the transaction of a controlled substance. As such, the law criminalizes both the selling and giving away of drugs.
Drug Schedule Under Alabama Law
Schedule I drugs (such as opiates and certain opium derivatives and hallucinogenic substances) are those that have a high potential for abuse, have no accepted medical use, or are unsafe for use in treatment, even when administered under a doctor’s care. This includes cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroine.
Schedule II drugs (such as coca leaves and opium) have a high potential for abuse, have an accepted medical use, and can result in severe psychological and physical dependence if abused.
Schedule III drugs (such as codeine and amphetamines) have a potential for abuse less than Schedule I or II drugs, have an accepted medical use, and can lead to low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological dependence. This includes marijuana, which many argue has significant medical benefits, especially for those undergoing chemo and radiation therapy.
Schedule IV drugs (such as barbiturates) have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, have an acceptable medical use, and may lead to limited psychological and physical dependence in relation to Schedule III drugs.
Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous, with the lowest potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use, and are likely to lead to only limited physical or psychological dependence. Schedule V drugs include medicines that have very small amounts of specified narcotic drugs. Thus, the sale of otherwise legitimate medicine that contains small amounts of illegal drugs is subject to harsh penalties under Alabama law.
If you are facing drug distribution charges, know that you have rights. Alabama law is harsh and violators will be punished. You need a vigorous defense. Contact the law firm of Parkman White.