Wisconsin residents can be charged with drug crimes if they possess a wide variety of different drugs without prescriptions. Some of these drugs are unavailable by prescription and are illegal in all circumstances. The federal Controlled Substances Act, which was passed and signed into law in 1970, establishes the different categories of controlled substances, and state law follows this act for the most part.

The CSA outlines five schedules of controlled substances according to their danger and potential for harm. Those in Schedule 1, which includes such drugs as LSD, heroin and marijuana, are deemed to be the most dangerous and to have little or no medical benefits. Marijuana has remained in Schedule 1 even though several studies have shown that it may offer many benefits.

The other schedules include drugs that are considered to be less harmful than those in Schedule 1 but which still have the potential for abuse. Schedule 2 includes drugs such as cocaine, which is always illegal, and morphine, which may be prescribed for pain. Schedule 3 includes Vicodin, a commonly prescribed opioid pain reliever, and Marinol, which is often prescribed to help with the nausea that is associated with chemotherapy. Xanax and Valium, which are prescribed for anxiety, are both found in Schedule 4. Finally, Schedule 5 includes some other prescription drugs like cough suppressants and Lyrica. The seriousness of the drug charges people might face will depend on the type of drug that is involved and the schedule into which it falls. It will also be more serious if allegations of trafficking are made.

No matter the level of an offense, drug charges may bring severe consequences if a conviction is obtained, and thus people who are facing them might want to meet with a criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible time. One potential strategy could be to challenge the constitutionality of the search that led to the seizure of the drugs.