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FELONY DRUG CHARGES GUIDE

Felony drug charges can be filed in a California state court or in federal court. The charges that might be filed are similar, but California law differs from federal law in key respects. This guide explains the felony drug charges that are most commonly filed in state or federal court against people who are accused of drug crimes in California.

Controlled Substances

Felony drug crimes involve drugs that are classified as controlled substances. Prescription drugs as well as drugs that cannot legally be sold or prescribed are controlled substances.

The federal government and California have developed controlled substance “schedules” that list hundreds of regulated drugs. Most of them are rarely involved in criminal prosecutions. The controlled substances that commonly lead to felony charges include:

  • Cocaine and crack
  • Methamphetamine
  • Heroin
  • Prescription pain relievers (opioids)
  • Marijuana
  • Synthetic marijuana
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • LSD

Examples of prescription pain relievers that are typically involved in criminal drug charges include:

  • Ocycodone (OcyCotin, Percocet)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Morphine (Kadian, Avinza)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)
  • Drugs containing codeine

Amphetamines, barbiturates, Ketamine, GBH, anabolic steroids, and any other drug can potentially lead to a criminal charge if it appears on a schedule of controlled substances and is sold by someone who is not authorized to sell it.

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