Steroids can be divided into two types: anabolic and androgenic. Anabolic steroids, those most commonly sold illegally; mainly affecting metabolism, immunity and muscle, while androgenic steroids have strong masculinisation effects on females, and sometimes feminization effects on men. Most steroids are legal with a prescription, as there are a wide variety of therapeutic uses for steroids. However, there is a large black market for steroids as performance-enhancing drugs, with athletes and body-builders making up a large portion of the users. Currently, there are both federal and state criminal penalties for the illicit use or sale of steroids.
The Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 defines steroids as a Schedule III drug, and imposes federal penalties for both the illicit possession and sale of steroids. The following are the federal penalties for both possession and sale of steroids:
- Simple possession of steroids with no prior offenses
- Up to a year in federal prison; and/or
- Minimum fine of $1,000.
- Simple possession of steroids with certain prior convictions
- Minimum 15 days in prison, and up to two years in prison; and/or
- Minimum fine of $2,000.
- Possession with intent to sell
- Up to five years in prison; and/or
- Minimum fine of $5,000.
Each state has the right to enact laws that regulate drugs they view as dangerous. Most states mirror the Federal scheduling of steroids as a Schedule III drug, and thus state penalties usually reflect the penalties for drugs of this classification:
- Simple possession can be defined as either a misdemeanor or felony, and one may face jail time of up to 2 years if in a state where steroid possession is deemed a felony. A fine will usually be assessed in states that list steroids as a misdemeanor.
- The sale of steroids is a felony in every state, and in some states, the penalty for the sale of steroids can be up to 7 years in prison.
Should I Consult an Attorney if I Have Been Accused or Arrested for the Sale or Possession of Steroids?
If you have been accused or arrested for the sale or possession of steroids, it may be helpful to consult the advice of a criminal defense attorney. As penalties and fines may vary between jurisdictions, the expertise of an attorney may be necessary to understand the complex nature of this area of law.