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Rhode Island Drug Crimes: Laws and Punishments


Rhode Island drug crimes are very serious offenses. But, not everyone understands the Drug Schedules or what the penalties are. Many people don’t know the difference between personal use and trafficking. Some prescription drugs are classified a lot higher than we realize. Getting pulled over in your car with a simple prescription could have greater consequences than most of us realize. Do you know how many prescription drugs are high on the drug schedule and where they rank?

What are the different schedules of drugs?

Schedule I

These are drugs like cannabis, heroin, ecstasy, and psychedelics. There is a high likelihood of abuse as well as dependence. There is no federal license available; all possession and use are illegal.

Schedule II

This would be drugs that have a high potential for abuse and dependency but are obtainable with a prescription. These have widely accepted medicinal use. Morphine, Ritalin, and Adderall fall into this category.

Schedule III

Classification for this schedule includes substances with the moderate possibility of abuse and dependency. They are available with a prescription and have medical use. Examples are ketamine, anabolic steroids, and Marinol.

Schedule IV

Used to classify substances with little possibility for abuse and a limited potential for dependency, they can be prescribed and have accepted medical uses. Examples would be something like Ambien, Valium, and Difenoxin.

Schedule V

The lowest classification, this is for drugs with low potential for abuse or dependency. They can be prescribed and are as medically useful. The ranking is for cough syrups with codeine, ezogabine and the like.

What are the penalties?


The first offense in Rhode Island depends on the Blood Alcohol Content at the time of arrest. There can be an administrative license suspension of between three and eighteen months. Should you refuse to submit to testing, your license is suspended automatically for six months in conjunction with fines and the possibility of community service. You will likely be insisted upon attending DUI school and may be requested to install a device that will require a breathalyzer sample before you can start your car.


In Rhode Island drug crimes, the first DUI is a misdemeanor, and there is the potential of incarceration. No minimum is required, but the maximum is one year. Fines will vary, depending on your BAC at the time of arrest. You will also be charged a highway assessment fee of five hundred dollars. That does not include additional expenses you’ve acquired during your sentence. The community service requirement will be likely and can be from ten to sixty hours. Rhode Island DUI convictions might influence any future sentences for up to five years.


Rhode Island considers less than one ounce to be personal use. This is a civil violation with a penalty of one hundred and fifty dollars, but no time to serve. More than one ounce, but under one kilogram (or about 35 ounces) is still personal use, but it is a misdemeanor with one year of possible time and a maximum five hundred dollar fine.


After one kilogram, the charge is either Personal Use with Intent to Distribute or Sale or Cultivation. Regardless, it carries a Felony charge. The sentence could be a minimum of ten years and a maximum of fifty. Fines range from ten thousand to five hundred thousand dollars. The penalty may double if you are within three hundred yards of a school.

What do you need to know about Rhode Island Drug Crimes?

You should talk to a lawyer, and as soon as possible. You don’t want to put your life into the hands of internet research or a friend who thinks they know something they saw on television. Speaking to an attorney is the best way to get sound information from a professional about Rhode Island drug crimes. Make sure they have experience with drug crimes and felony cases. Would you want traffic court attorney to represent you when you could be facing time in prison?

Here is more information about charges and penalties. This will only reinforce that you want someone who knows what they are doing. You will also want to check out this page. Not only will it give you ideas of possible outcomes, but it will also steer you towards resources for more information. Once you have done your research and had a list of questions, call an attorney. Ask them everything! They will want to hear the details of your case, so be ready to tell them everything you can and answer honestly. They will tell you what action to take next and what they think they can do for you. Sure, hiring an attorney won’t be cheap. But, it won’t be as expensive as the fees could be and you may be able to avoid spending time in prison. That, alone, should make it worth it!

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