Prohibited Substances

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Attorneys Experienced in Cases Involving Prohibited Substances

Brian Kuester
Attorney Brian Kuester
Prohibited Substances Team Lead
Former US Attorney
Former District Attorney
Ellen Comley
Attorney Ellen Comley
Prohibited Substances Team Lead
Senior Counsel
Roger Bach
Roger Bach
Prohibited Substances Team Consultant
Former Special Agent (OIG)

At the The Criminal Defense Firm, we firmly believe in our nation’s founding principle that everyone deserves a fair trial. This is especially important in cases involving allegations of the possession, use, manufacture, distribution, or sale of prohibited substances. These cases are some of the most heavily prosecuted and severely punished under our state and federal systems about 27,000 individuals are convicted for state and federal drug crimes each year, often resulting in multi-year sentences and exorbitant fines. If you are facing state or federal drug charges, you can rely on our attorney’s experience and reputation to level the playing field.

Prohibited Substances Explained

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, drugs deemed potentially dangerous by the federal government are classified into one of five Schedules (I through IV). Substances listed on all five Schedules are controlled; however, in limited quantities and through lawful channels, certain substances such as prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are legal for use in the United States. You can find a complete list of controlled substances on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website.

Defending Against Prohibited Substances Charges

The following drugs are some of the ones we most frequently see in state and federal drug crime investigations. However, our firm represents clients facing charges relating to all kinds of illegal drugs.


Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning that it has been classified as having a high potential for abuse, which can lead to severe addiction. A stimulant made from the leaves of the Coca plant native to South America, cocaine has long been one of the most popular recreational illicit drugs in the United States. In both powder and crystal (crack) form, cocaine produces a euphoric high that is powerfully addictive, all of which promote an ever-present market for this drug. The penalties for trafficking in cocaine can include asset seizures, decades in prison, and up to $75 million in fines.


Heroin is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance. A synthesized drug derived from morphine a naturally-occurring substance in poppy seeds it is considered to be even more addictive and more dangerous than cocaine. Heroin does not currently have an accepted medical use in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that nearly a quarter of all people who use heroin become addicted. Criminal penalties for using and dealing heroin are similar to those for cocaine.


Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is also on Schedule I. First discovered in 1938, LSD is a hallucinogenic compound that rose to popularity during the Psychedelic era of the 1960s and 1970s. While its popularity waned around the turn of the century, some have reported a demand resurgence in recent years. Similar hallucinogens include peyote, psilocybin, and phencyclidine (PCP) all of which are also Schedule I substances.


Methamphetamine (“meth” for short) has experienced extraordinary growth throughout the United States. It has recently grown in popularity in certain urban areas as well. A Schedule I drug that can be synthesized from legally purchased ingredients, meth is manufactured domestically in homemade or sophisticated labs across the country. Due to its addictiveness and life-altering effects, cracking down on meth manufacturers and distributors is high on the federal government’s list of priorities.


While several states have legalized limited medical and recreational use of marijuana, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. This means that the federal government does not recognize any acceptable medical uses for marijuana, and it considers the drug to be highly addictive. Due to these conflicts between state and federal laws, the Department of Justice has issued guidance on the prosecution of marijuana offenses under the Controlled Substances Act. With this guidance, the federal authorities continue to focus on sales to minors, gang and cartel activity, interstate distribution, and other relevant criminal enterprises.

Illegal Prescription Medications

Federal prosecutors also fight for severe punishment of individuals and businesses involved in the illegal use and trafficking of prescription medications.

Penalties for Criminal Charges for Prohibited Substances

If you have been arrested or fear you may be arrested for a crime relating to illegal use or trafficking of controlled substances, we encourage you to contact us for a free, confidential consultation. We can help you understand your rights and prepare to fight back against your criminal charges.

Learn more about specific types of federal drug crimes, defense, and State laws:

Schedule a Free Consultation of Your Case Today

The experienced criminal defense attorneys and former federal prosecutors at The Criminal Defense Firm fight vigorously to help clients avoid conviction and minimize the consequences of being arrested for drug-related offenses. We handle federal drug crime cases nationwide. To schedule your free consultation, call 866-603-4540 or contact us online today.

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