Understanding Wisconsin’s Drug Possession Laws: Schedules I-V

It doesn’t matter whether you are a college student found with a hallucinogenic in your backpack or a stockbroker found with pain pills prescribed for someone else in your briefcase, the act of being placed under arrest for drug possession will always be incredibly distressing.

That’s because you not only worry about a conviction resulting in potential incarceration, but also the possibility of a damaged reputation, a criminal record and, of course, a potentially large fine.

In recognition of this reality, today’s post will start exploring more about Wisconsin’s drug possession laws in a bid to help people understand more about how the law works and how it might apply to their given situation, knowledge that can go a long way toward granting peace of mind during uncertain — and understandably unnerving — times.

Controlled substances and schedules I-V

State law defines a controlled substance as any “drug, substance or immediate precursor included in schedules I to V.”

While this might seem incomprehensible or even nonsensical to a layperson, in the context of drug crimes — particularly possession for person use — it simply means that drugs and other illegal substances are placed into one of five schedules with possession of schedule I drugs dictating the most stringent penalties and possession of schedule V drugs dictating the least severe penalties.

Specifically, the five schedules are ranked according to the probability of abuse/addiction and accepted medical purposes. Accordingly, a schedule I drug (i.e., peyote) is seen as having a high probability of being abused or a user becoming addicted, and no accepted medical purpose. Conversely, a schedule V drug (i.e., pseudoephedrine) is seen as having a very low probability of being abused or a user becoming addicted, and recognized medical uses.

We’ll continue this discussion in a future post, exploring more about the penalties for drug possession in the Dairy State.

In the meantime, if you are facing any manner of drug crime charges, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can explain the law, and protect both your rights and your future.

So we started by discussing how drug possession charges can prove to be incredibly stressful for people from all walks of life given the possibility that a conviction could result in everything from incarceration and fines to a criminal record and tarnished reputation.

Recognizing this, we began exploring more about Wisconsin’s drug possession laws in order to provide people with a better understanding of how the law works and how it might apply to their situation. Specifically, we discussed how state law places drugs and other illegal substances into one of five schedules with possession of schedule I drugs calling for the most stringent penalties. We’ll examine these penalties in today’s post.

In general, those found to be in possession of schedule I or II narcotic drugs will be charged with a Class I felony, meaning that a conviction can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to three years and six months in state prison.

As for those found to be possession of narcotic drugs that fall into schedule III, IV or V, this is typically charged as a misdemeanor, which is generally punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail.

It’s worth noting that state law also sets forth special provisions covering possession of specific controlled substances, including marijuana and cocaine to name only a few.

  • Cocaine and cocaine base: A first offense conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to a year in jail, while a second offense or subsequent conviction is punishable by up to $10,000 and/or up to three years and six months in state prison (a Class I felony)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinols (marijuana): A first offense conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months behind bars, while a second offense or subsequent conviction is punishable by up to $10,000 and/or up to three years and six months in state prison (a Class I felony)

Here’s hoping the foregoing information has not only proven enlightening but empowering, providing you with valuable insight into what can prove to be an arcane aspect of criminal law.

As always, if you are facing any manner of drug crime charges, consider speaking with a experienced legal professional who can explain the law, and protect both your rights and your future as soon as possible.

See our Drug Crimes legal service page to get help now!

Have you been affected by drug crimes? Contact Levine Law.

Levine Law