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A Guide To Drug Laws In Alabama


Alabama drug laws carry severe penalties for drug offenders and impose mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes.

The regulation of the possession of controlled substances varies from state to state. If you or a loved one are facing charges for illegal possession, drug trafficking, or other drug-related charges. In that case, you must understand the severity and hire a skilled attorney to help you navigate the complex criminal court system.

In Baldwin County, Alabama, you must have a strong defense if you are charged with a drug crime. Alabama drug laws carry significant penalties for drug-related offenses that can have lifelong consequences.

Alabama’s Classification of Controlled Substances

In Alabama, there are five categories or “schedules” that drugs are placed into based on their degree of danger. Schedule I is the most dangerous, and Schedule V is the least.

  • Schedule I drugs have a higher potential for abuse, may not be prescribed, and currently have no accepted medical use and lists drugs like LSD, psilocybin, heroin, and marijuana.
  • Schedule II drugs can sometimes lead to severe physical or psychological dependence, including cocaine, methamphetamines, morphine, methadone, hydrocodone, phencyclidine, and fentanyl.
  • Schedule III drugs Are considered to have low to moderate physical or high psychological dependence and include codeine with Tylenol or aspirin, anabolic steroids, and amphetamines.
  • Schedule IV drugs are considered to have lower psychological and physical dependence; examples include Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and other barbiturates.
  • Schedule V drugs Are considered the least dangerous and have the lowest potential for abuse; examples include cough syrup with codeine and dihydrocodeine.

Except for Schedule I drugs, people may legally possess most controlled substances with a valid doctor’s prescription. (Ala. Code §§ 20-2-22 to 20-2-31 (2022).)

Drug Possession Penalties in Alabama

Drug possession in Alabama is a Class D Felony except for marijuana.

Personal Use Drug Charges in Alabama

  • If you are convicted of unlawful possession of a Schedule I to V drug, the minimum penalty is jail time of a year and a day with a maximum of five years and a maximum fine of $7,500. The jail time may be probated depending on your history. 
  • Possession of marijuana and salvia divinorum is a class A misdemeanor penalty for your first conviction. At the same time, second-degree offenses could get you up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $6,000. Following the initial convictions, all offenses will be considered first-degree offenses and class D felonies, with a penalty of one year and a day to a maximum of five years in prison and a $7,500 maximum fine.

Depending upon the jurisdiction, first-time offenders and certain individuals with specific circumstances may be eligible for drug treatment diversion or other options. Therefore, hiring a qualified criminal defense lawyer is crucial to protecting your rights and freedom.

Drug Distribution Charges in Alabama

In Alabama, a drug charge for the sale, delivery, or distribution is a class B felony; however, if the deal is to a minor, it is increased to a class A felony. In addition, the sentence can be increased to an additional five years if the sale is within 3 miles of a school, public housing project, or university.

Suppose someone is in possession of 8 to 28 g of certain controlled substances such as opium, heroin, cocaine, morphine, ecstasy, methamphetamines, and amphetamines; they may be charged with unlawful possession with intent to sell and face a class B felony.

Manufacturing Narcotics in Alabama

Two “degrees” of manufacturing drugs: cultivating plants to make a controlled substance or cooking meth. The unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance includes:

  • A second-degree offense is the primary production of any controlled substances.
  • A first-degree which is a class A felony under the following circumstances:
  1. When there is a booby trap or a gun involved
  2. When there is a clandestine lab to produce narcotics that are Schedule I or II
  3. When the lab is located within 500 ft of a home, school, church, or business
  4. When the lab is actively making narcotics
  5. When there is transportation or disposal, or possession of a hazardous chemical that causes significant risk to human safety or health
  6. When an individual that is 17 or younger is present during the production process

Alabama Classifications and Penalties For Drug Charges

  • Class A Felony. Prison time of 10-99 years, or life, with up to $60,000 in fines
  • Class B Felony. Prison time of 2-20 years, with up to $30,000 in fines
  • Class C Felony. Prison time of 1-10 years, with up to $15,000 in fines
  • Class D Felony. Prison time of 1-5 years, with up to $7,500 in fines
  • Class A Misdemeanor. Prison time of up to 1 year, with up to $6,000 in fines 

There may be additional panel penalties or mandatory minimum sentences depending on if you have prior convictions and the specifics of your charge.

For first-time offenders or if you have a minimal criminal record, you may qualify for programs to help with addiction and possibly avoid incarceration. However, eligibility depends on various factors and is usually unavailable to anyone with a significant criminal history.

Brackin Law Firm in Baldwin County, Alabama, Is Here To Defend You

Whether you are facing drug, theft, property, or violent crime, our experienced attorneys at Brackin Law Firm are here to fight for you. The outcome of your case can significantly impact your future, and it is our job to ensure that you have the best legal representation to obtain as favorable an outcome as possible.

Contact us today for a consultation, and we will get to work fighting for your future!

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