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Q: What are the penalties for posession of a Schedule III (i.e. Vicodin) or Schedule IV (i.e. Valium or Xanax) substance without a prescription?



I was told the only time it's illegal is with Schedule II drugs which you must have a prescription for in order to possess. If possession of a Schedule III or Schedule IV substance is illegal, what kind of penalties might be imposed, is it just a misdemeanor?

A: The federal and state laws can be extremely complex, but I can give you some basics:


  1. Possession of a scheduled substance without a prescription is definitely illegal.

  2. First offense for possession of a schedule III substance (federally) carries a penalty of not more than a $250,000 fine and/or 3 yr in prison. First offense for possession of a schedule IV substance carries a penalty of not more than a $100,000 fine and/or 1 yr in prison. Penalties go up for a second or third conviction.

  3. Possession of a personal use amount of a schedule III or IV substance without a prescription is extremely unlikely to be prosecuted federally. This means that in most cases this sort of thing would be prosecuted at the state level. Penalties vary depending on the state.



    Many states have drug diversion programs where possession of small personal use quantities of even schedule I substances result in treatment and/or a probationary period after which the offense no longer counts as a conviction.

  4. We aren't sure, but we don't believe that a person is required by law to carry their prescription with the medication. Generally this means that if questioned about a prescription medication by law enforcement...it may be best to refuse to answer questions until a lawyer is present (as usual).

Asked By : zizwibble
Answered By : fire
Published Date : 6 / 17 / 2002
Last Edited Date : 6 / 17 / 2002
Question ID : 2972

Categories: [ Law ]




Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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