Federal Controlled Substances Act


When it comes to the federal government’s laws regarding drug manufacturing, trafficking, and possession, one of the most important pieces of legislation is the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Prior to this Act, the federal government had over 200 different drug laws, which made it difficult to track and target the country’s various drug problems. To fix this issue, Richard Nixon and the U.S. Congress combined all existing drug laws into a single statute in 1970, calling this statute the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

If you were arrested by federal authorities for an alleged drug crime, the CSA guides potential sentencing as well as the prosecution’s requirements for a conviction. Your federal drug crimes attorney should have profound and actionable knowledge of the CSA in order to mount a strong and, hopefully, effective defense. At Grabel & Associates, our team of federal drug attorneys fully understand this Act and how it may apply to your specific case. We will use the full extent of the law to attack the prosecution’s narrative, evidence, and witnesses from every angle, with the goal of achieving a not guilty sentence or dropped charges.

To speak with our experienced federal crimes lawyers, call Grabel & Associates today at 1-800-342-7896.

Overview of the Federal Controlled Substances Act

In short, the Controlled Substances Act and its regulations form the framework for the federal government’s control of various substances, from medically accepted substances to completely illegal substances with no medicinal or therapeutic value. According to the CSA, there are five categories of controlled substances based on the substance’s accepted medicinal use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability. These categories include:

  • Schedule I — No currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Drugs include heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote.
  • Schedule II — High potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Drugs include Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, Dilaudid, OxyContin, fentanyl, Adderall, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III — Moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Drugs include ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone.
  • Schedule IV — Low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Drugs include Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol.
  • Schedule V — Lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV. Drugs include cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters, Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin.

In addition to the Federal drug schedule, the CSA also led to the creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Created in 1973, the DEA is responsible for the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act and has the authority to work with state and local law enforcement and special task forces.

Federal Drug Sentencing

The CSA and the drug schedules play a major role in the federal government’s sentencing of convicted individuals. As you can imagine, federal drug crimes that involve Schedule I or II drugs may bring about more severe penalties than Schedule III, IV, and V drugs. This is true whether the defendant was charged with possession, manufacturing, or trafficking drugs.

Individuals convicted of federal drug charges may be facing maximum and minimum sentences. In addition to the type and amount of drugs, the federal government also considers several other factors, such as the accused’s criminal history, whether the accused harmed another person, or if there was a weapon involved.

As an example, a person may be looking at a five-year minimum mandatory sentence (and a maximum of 40 years) for a first offense of the following federal drug trafficking charges:

  • 500 to 4,999 grams of cocaine
  • 28 to 279 grams of a cocaine base mixture
  • 40 to 399 grams of fentanyl
  • 100 to 999 grams of heroin
  • 1 to 9 grams of an LSD mixture
  • 5 to 49 grams of pure methamphetamine
  • 50 to 499 grams of a methamphetamine mixture
  • 10 to 99 grams of pure PCP

For trafficking any amount of Schedule III, IV, and V drugs, the defendant may be looking at no more than 20 years imprisonment. If death or serious bodily injury occurred from an alleged drug trafficking crime, the defendant may be looking at a minimum of 20 years to life.

Contact the Federal Drug Attorneys at Grabel & Associates

If under investigation or arrest for a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act, it is essential to not panic and contact an experienced federal drug crimes lawyer as soon as possible. Make sure to employ your right to remain silent. Furthermore, it is important to remember that there are several Fourth Amendment concerns associated with the Controlled Substances Act, and a well-versed attorney will be able to look into any violations of search warrants, wiretapping, co-conspirator testimonies, stop-and-frisks, and so forth.

At Grabel & Associates, we provide our clients with a comprehensive, full-service criminal defense. Our knowledge of federal drug laws and the Controlled Substances Act are second to none. Our federal drug crime lawyers will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your charges and aggressively counter the prosecution’s narrative, evidence, and witness testimonies.

Make sure to act quickly and call the federal drug crime attorneys at Grabel & Associates today! For a free, emergency consultation, call 1-800-342-7896 now.


With Attorney's statewide, Grabel & Associates defend people accused of criminal charges throughout the state of Michigan including the communities of Lansing, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Pinconning, Kalamazoo, Mount Pleasant, Bay City, Saginaw, Brant, Traverse City, Ludington, Allegan, Hillsdale, Lapeer, Port Huron, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.