South Carolina Drug Schedules and What They Mean


Drug crimes in South Carolina carry severe penalties including lengthy jail time, huge fines, loss of employment, and other consequences.

Whether it’s simple possession, possession with the intent to distribute, drug trafficking, or manufacture of illicit drugs, the charges will be based on several factors including but not limited to the type of drugs and the weight or amount of the drugs.

If you have any questions or concerns about drug schedules in South Carolina, you’re on the right page. In this post, we’ll discuss South Carolina drug schedules and what they mean. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a drug crime lawyer at Johnson, Johnson, Whittle, Lancer, & Staggs in Aiken, SC for any clarification or help with a drug crime case.

Drug Schedules and Federal Drug Schedules

South Carolina laws recognize five categories of drugs, which are divided into Schedules. The specific schedule that a drug falls into will depend on its acceptable medical use and its potential for dependency and abuse.

The following are the classifications of common drug schedules:

Schedule I Controlled Substances in South Carolina

Schedule I controlled substances are defined as ones with no accepted medical uses and have a high potential for abuse. Examples include substances like opiates, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, mushrooms, and marijuana.

Schedule II Controlled Substances in South Carolina

These have no officially accepted medical use and have a high potential for dependency along with physical and psychological dependence. They include cocaine, Adderall, codeine, opium, oxycodone, methamphetamine, Vicodin, fentanyl, and hydrocodone.

Schedule III Controlled Substances in South Carolina

These are drugs with an officially accepted medical use but have a low to moderate potential for abuse. Examples of Schedule III substances include ketamine, testosterone, anabolic steroids, Buprenorphine, and some barbiturates.

Schedule IV Controlled Substances in South Carolina

These are accepted for medical use and have an even lower probability of dependency and abuse. They include drugs like valium, Darvocet, Xanax, Ambien, barbital, and tramadol.

Schedule V Controlled Substances in South Carolina

Schedule V drugs have a much lower potential for dependency and abuse and have widely accepted medical applications. These substances include analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal medications, such as Motoffen, Lomotil, and certain cough syrups that require a prescription.

Narcotics and Non-Narcotic Classifications

In South Carolina, drugs within Schedule II and Schedule III are further classified into whether they are narcotic or non-narcotic. Narcotics are roughly defined as drugs that are produced directly or indirectly from opiates, opium, or coca leaves.

As such, all opioids and opiates along with cocaine and crack cocaine, and mixtures of these drugs. Narcotics have more severe penalties than their non-narcotic counterparts within the drug schedules.

How is Marijuana Scheduled in South Carolina?

South Carolina law currently classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, alongside ecstasy and heroin. However, the penalties for marijuana crimes are much lower compared to other Schedule I drugs. Moreover, the state allows for drug enhancement charges based on previous convictions regardless of whether the previous offenses were of the same drug as the present charge.

For instance, a previous conviction for the possession of Valium may have you charged with a second offense if you’re later charged with possession of Adderall. However, marijuana is particularly exempt from this enhancement, and charges will only be enhanced by prior convictions involving marijuana.

Marijuana convictions can only be used to enhance the cases or penalties for future charges based on marijuana.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in South Carolina?

As mentioned before, the penalties for drug crimes in SC are quite severe. However, they are to a large extent unique to the person being charged. Some of the factors that will determine the penalties you face for a drug crime include:

  • The location where the arrest occurred, and whether it was near a playground or school.
  • The drug schedule is included in the charges. Schedule I drugs carry the heaviest penalties and Schedule V the least.
  • The criminal history of the individual.
  • The quantities of the drugs involved, and whether you’re charged for distribution, possession, or trafficking.

If you or a loved one was arrested for a drug crime in South Carolina, you should consult with an experienced drug crimes defense lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about the severity of the charges and the potential penalties. Your lawyer will also help protect your rights and build a strong defense case to minimize the potential penalties.

Talk to an Aiken Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer Today How Drug Schedules Can Affect Your Drug Charges

A drug charge could have huge potential consequences that could follow you for the rest of your life. And once you pay the fines or do jail time, you may continue being hurt professionally and personally by these charges.

Working with an experienced drug crime lawyer can help you get the charges dropped or reduced depending on the circumstances of your case. A lot is at stake here – don’t let a drug charge follow you for the rest of your life. Call a criminal defense lawyer at JJWLS today for help in understanding the drug schedules and the details surrounding your case.