At the David W. Martin Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys in Rock Hill know there is a lot of confusion about the severity of charges that accompany drug crimes in South Carolina.
While it is true that the number of drugs found upon your arrest will determine if you are charged with possession, distribution, or trafficking, the type of drugs also matters.
Our South Carolina drug crime laws break drug charges into five distinct categories based on Schedules, depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.
Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse and dependence, and Schedule V drugs have the least potential for abuse.
Here are the most common types of drugs associated with each Schedule.
South Carolina Drug Schedules One Through Five Explained
Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use and an extremely high potential for abuse.
Common examples of Schedule I drugs in South Carolina include:
Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse that can potentially lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Common examples of Schedule II drugs in South Carolina include:
Schedule III drugs have a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.
Common examples of Schedule III drugs in South Carolina include:
- Anabolic steroids
Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse and minimal risk of dependence.
Common examples of Schedule IV drugs in South Carolina include:
Schedule V drugs are substances and chemicals that have a lower potential for abuse and only contain a limited quantity of certain narcotics, which may include cough medications and similar medicinal needs that require a prescription.
Narcotics vs. Non-Narcotics Classification in South Carolina?
South Carolina law further classifies drugs found within Schedule II and Schedule III as to whether they are narcotics or non-narcotics. A narcotic drug is roughly defined as anything produced directly or indirectly from opium, opiates, or coca leaves. Largely, this means that all opiates or opioids and all cocaine or crack cocaine, or any mixture of these.
Narcotic drugs are punished more strictly than their non-narcotic counterpart within their Schedule.
Marijuana vs. Other Drug Crimes in South Carolina?
Marijuana is currently scheduled as a Schedule I drug in South Carolina, alongside heroin and ecstasy. However, the penalties for marijuana-based drug crimes in South Carolina are lower than other Schedule I-based drug charges. Further, South Carolina law allows for drug enhancements based on prior offenses and those prior offenses do not have to be for the same drug as the present charge. Meaning, a previous conviction for possession of Xanax can lead to being charged with a second offense if you are later charged with possession of cocaine. However, marijuana is specifically excluded from this enhancement and can only be enhanced by prior marijuana convictions and such prior marijuana convictions can only be used to enhance penalties for future marijuana-based charges.
What are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in South Carolina?
The penalties for drug crimes in South Carolina are unique to the person who is being charged.
The details that will dictate your drug crime penalties include:
- The schedule of drugs included in the arrest, with Schedule I drugs carrying heavier penalties than Schedule V
- The number of drugs included in the arrest, and whether you were charged with possession, distribution, or trafficking
- Where the arrest took place, and whether it was near a school or playground
- The individual’s criminal history
If you are arrested and charged with a drug crime in South Carolina, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Rock Hill to learn more about the severity of your charges and how we can build a defense that will help minimize your penalties.
Contact Our Experienced Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys in Rock Hill, South Carolina
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Carolina, contact our skilled criminal defense lawyers in Rock Hill today at 803-548-2468 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you outline your criminal charges and customize your legal strategy to ensure your rights are protected throughout the proceedings.