While many crimes and penalties are outlined in the Oklahoma Criminal Code, Title 21 of the state statutes, most drug laws are contained in the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, which is Chapter 2 of the state's Public Health and Safety Code, found in Title 63. Many of the states drug crimes and their penalties are associated with the type of substance involved. Typically, these are identified by a drug schedule, and where the substance falls in these schedules determines the severity of the penalties. For example, drug possession may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the substance possessed. Possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is a felony, even on the first offense. One exception to this is marijuana possession. Although marijuana is a Schedule I drug, its possession is prosecuted as a misdemeanor on the first offense, as is the possession of a Schedule III, IV, or V substance. On a second or subsequent offense, however, possession of one of these "lesser" drugs is also a felony. Oklahoma drug schedules are found in 63 § 2-201 through § 2-212. In § 2-201, the method for determining the schedule for a particular substance is described. According to this statute, the Director of the Board of Pharmacy must consider the following in asking the legislature to schedule or reschedule a particular controlled substance:
- Its actual or relative potential for abuse;
- Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known;
- State of current scientific knowledge regarding the substance;
- Its history and current pattern of abuse;
- The scope, duration, and significance of abuse;
- What, if any, risk there is to the public health;
- Its psychic or physiological dependence liability; and
- Whether the substance is an immediate precursor or principal compound of a substance already controlled under this article.
In subsequent sections, the specific drug schedules and the substances included in each schedule are defined. Schedule I substances are those with "high potential for abuse" and "no accepted medical use in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision." Schedule I drugs include heroine, LSD, Psilocybin (mushrooms), GHB, PCP, and marijuana. See the full list of Schedule I controlled substances in 63 O.S. § 2-204. Schedule II substances include opiates, barbituates, and certain stimulants and depressants. Schedule II drugs include methadone, oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, pentobarbital, and secobarbital. See the full list of Schedule II controlled substances in 63 O.S. § 2-206. Schedule III drugs have the following characteristics:
- A potential for abuse less than the substances listed in Schedules I and II;
- Currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
- Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
See the list of Schedule III substances in 63 O.S. § 2-208. If you have been arrested for drug possession, there are a number of factors in addition to the type of CDS involved that can impact the severity of the charges. Contact an attorney who can help you understand the charges against you and the penalties you may face. Read more about drug laws in Oklahoma on our criminal defense website.