Possession of a Controlled Substance in Idaho

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All states regulate and control the possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for their possession. Idaho considers not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine to be controlled substances, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.

Some CDS, like the common painkiller oxycodone, can be possessed legally with a valid prescription.

How Idaho Classifies Controlled Dangerous Substances

Idaho divides its CDS into six “schedules” based on factors such as their potential for abuse and dependence, and whether they are approved for legitimate medical use:

  • Schedule I drugs (such as opiates and certain opium derivatives and hallucinogenic substances) as those that have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, or are unsafe for use in treatment, even under medical supervision.
  • Schedule II drugs (such as coca leaves and opium) have a high potential for abuse, have an accepted medical use, and can result in severe psychological and physical dependence if abused.
  • Schedule III drugs (such as codeine and some steroids) have a potential for abuse less than Schedule I or II drugs, have an accepted medical use, and can lead to low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological dependence.
  • Schedule IV drugs (such as diazepam) have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, have an acceptable medical use, and may lead to limited psychological and physical dependence in relation to Schedule III drugs.
  • Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous, with the lowest potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use, and likely to lead to only limited physical or psychological dependence. Schedule V drugs include medicines that have very small amounts of specified narcotic drugs.
  • Schedule VI CDS includes volatile nitrites (commonly known as “poppers”).

To understand the charges and penalties you might face, look at the charging document in your case (usually called either a complaint or “information”, or, if from a grand jury, an indictment). Identify the name of the drugs specified in the document, consult the schedules explained above, and place them in the proper schedule. Then read below to learn about possible charges and sentences. The statutes that explain what drug fits into each schedule are (Idaho Statutes Sections 37-2704 to 37-2713A.)

This article concerns the unlawful possession of CDS. Separate punishments apply to the sale of CDS or for the unlawful manufacture of controlled substances. For information about sale of controlled substances, see Sale of a Controlled Substance in Idaho.

How Idaho Classifies CDS Possession Crimes

The unlawful possession of CDS is punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The penalty for each crime is set forth in the statute that describes the offense.

(Idaho Code Section 18-110.)

Felony Possession of CDS

Felony possession of CDS is punished with lengthy periods of incarceration and heavy fines.

Possession of Schedule I narcotics and Schedule II CDS

The unlawful possession of Schedule I narcotics or Schedule II CDS is a felony, punishable by a period of incarceration of up to seven years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

Possession of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)

The unlawful possession of LSD is a felony punishable by a period of incarceration of up to three years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

(Idaho Code Section 37-2732.)

Possession of Marijuana

The possession of more than three ounces of marijuana is a felony, punishable by a period of incarceration of up to five years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

For more information see Marijuana Possession Laws in Idaho.

Misdemeanor Possession of CDS

Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felonies and are punished with significantly shorter periods of incarceration and smaller fines.

Possession of Schedule I (other than narcotics and LSD), III, IV, V, and VI CDS

The possession of Schedules I (other than narcotics and LSD), III, IV, V, or VI CDS is a misdemeanor punishable by a period of incarceration of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

 (Idaho Code Section 37-2732.)


The use of peyote is permissible in Native American religious rites by people who are members of a federally recognized Native American tribe. 

(Idaho Code Section 37-2732A.)


The use of, or possession with the intent to use, paraphernalia for any of the following purposes is a misdemeanor punishable by a period of incarceration of up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both:

  • to grow, plant, cultivate or harvest CDS
  • to compounds, convert, prepare, or process CDS
  • to pack, repack, store or contain CDS
  • to test or analyze CDS
  • to contain, hide, or conceal CDS, or
  • to ingest, inhale, inject, or administer CDS.

(Idaho Code Section 37-2734A.)

Felonies Committed in a Correctional Facility

If a felony is committed on the grounds of a correctional facility, the sentence for the offense will begin after all other sentences have been completed.

(Idaho Code Section 19-2520F.)

Habitual Offender

If a defendant is convicted of any felony for a third time, either in Idaho or outside the state of Idaho, the sentence on the third conviction is a  period of incarceration of five years to life. 

(Idaho Code Section 19-2514.)

Talk To An Attorney

If you have been charged with the unlawful possession of CDS, you face the possibility of lengthy periods of incarceration, steep fines, and other life-long consequences. To make sure that you understand the crime you have been charged with, the possible penalties, and your options, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in drug cases.

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