Drug Offenses, SC

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South Carolina has a set of codes designed to make clear which drugs and controlled substances carry which charges and consequences. Being charged with a possession, manufacturing, or distribution charge can carry serious consequences. Alongside South Carolina's drug law statutes are federal statutes. State and Federal charges are similar but they have important legal distinctions.

It is crucial to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to find the best possible outcome for your situation.


Proper legal representation is critical. A criminal defense attorney can offer proper guidance, build a strong defense, and represent you before court to ensure you are given the best possible representation.

State vs. Federal Drug Charges

In South Carolina, a certain amount of drugs are illegal. These are known as Controlled Dangerous Substances or CDS. CDS are judged by their criteria, the offense they fall under, and the possible penalties.

The main offenses are possession, distribution, manufacturing, and possession with intent to distribute. The distinctions between these offenses are formed through various criteria, mainly the amount found to be in your possession. 

Federal charges are brought forth in certain circumstances and they can potentially be more stringent and consequential. Federal charges are usually brought forth for major crimes and against criminal networks. 

What follows is an overview of the classifications

Schedule I

Opiates & Opium Derivatives: heroin, codeine compounds, morphine compounds

Hallucinogenic Substances: Marijuana, MDMA, Mescaline, DMT, Peyote, LSD, Psilocybin, THC, Synthetic Cannabinoids, etc.

Depressants: Qualuudes, etc.

Stimulants: Fenethyline, MDPV, Mephedrone

Schedule II

Narcotics derived from vegetable origin or chemical synthesis:

  1. Opium and Opiates like raw opium, codeine, morphine and derived painkillers
  2. Chemical equivalents to those listed in (1)
  3. Opium poppies and poppy straws
  4. Cocaine

Other opiates, Stimulants like Ritalin, Amphetamine, Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, Depressants like Obarbital, PCP

Schedule III

Stimulants like appetite suppressants, Depressants like barbiturates, sedatives, anesthetics, lysergic acid, GHA, Nalorphine

Limited narcotic drugs: Compounds with limited percentages of codeine, hydrocodone, etc

Schedule IV

Depressants like Alprazolam, Clonazepalm

Fenfluramine

Limited narcotics drugs: compounds with limited quantities of difenoxin & dextropropoxyphene pentazocine hydrochloride

Butorphanol

Schedule V

Narcotics containing nonnarcotic active medicinal ingredients like limited percentages of codeine, opium, etc.

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Penalties against Drug Charges

The three major distinctions between charges Possession, Possession with Intent to Distribute, and Trafficking. Within these there can be a few more distinctions as well.

Simple possession of Marijuana for example is judged to be being arrested while carrying or being in proximity to less than 28 grams (1oz) of Marijuana. This can lead to a misdemeanor charge, up to 2 years in prison and or a fine of up to $5,000. 

Over 28 grams of Marijuana is judged as prima facie guilt to distribute and it is a felony with heavier penalties and longer possible jail time. If charged with trafficking that means you were judged to be in possession of over 10lb of Marijuana, this can lead to 1-30 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines depending on the specific amount held.

Simple possession of cocaine, cocaine based substances, or methamphetamine is judged as having up to 1 gram on your person. Possession with intent to distribute is judged as more than 1 gram and up to 10. Above 10 grams is deemed as trafficking and can lead to 3 to 30 years in prison and a hefty fine.

For a more comprehensive list click here

Have you been charged with a Drug Offense?

If you’ve been accused or charged with possession or another drug-based offense in South Carolina, you’re facing some serious and potentially life-changing charges.

It’s important you keep a clear head the best you can. It’s also important you do not say anything to law enforcement or make any statements before talking to an attorney.

We’re here to help. Contact our law firm at (803) 433-5368 for a confidential, free consultation. as soon as you can. Our lawyers are experienced in handling domestic violence cases in South Carolina.