Is it illegal to possess certain drugs without a valid prescription in South Carolina?

prescription drugs

Like in many other states, it’s illegal to possess a prescription drug without a valid prescription in South Carolina. If you’ve been charged with prescription drug possession, it’s important to understand just how serious this drug charge can be. Depending on the particular type and amount of the controlled substance you were found in possession of, the penalties you can face include steep monetary fines, prison time, and a life-long criminal record that can haunt you for years to come. As such, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of a qualified Chesterfield County Drug Crime Lawyer who can effectively represent your interests and protect your rights. 

How Does South Carolina Classify Controlled Substances?

Like other states, South Carolina places controlled substances, including prescription drugs, in one of five “schedules.” Federal law also places drugs into schedules. These schedules are classified according to the risk of abuse and the potential medical use. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous because they have the highest probability of abuse among users and no recognized medical value. Schedule V drugs, on the other hand, have the lowest potential for abuse and some medical value in treatment. Since prescription drugs have medical value in treatment, they can range from Schedule II to Schedule IV. It’s crucial to understand that while it’s legal to take drugs that have been prescribed to you, the same drug will be classified as an illegal controlled substance once it’s placed in anyone’s hands but your own.

What Are the Penalties For the Possession of Prescription Drugs in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, the severity of your penalties will depend on the schedule of the controlled substance, the amount of prescription drugs in your possession, your intent, and previous offenses. Prescription drugs classified in higher schedules will typically result in more severe penalties as they have a higher probability of abuse, no medical value, and pose a general danger to a person’s health.

Possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance without a valid prescription is punishable by up to two years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. If this is a second or subsequent offense, you could face a felony conviction. A felony conviction for the possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription could result in up to five years of imprisonment t and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you’re charged with possessing a controlled substance in Schedule 3 or 4 without a valid prescription, it can result in six months of imprisonment and a $1,000 fine for a first-time offense. Any subsequent offenses could result in up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,000. In addition, penalties will worsen if you are charged with intent to distribute or trafficking. If this is the case, you could face over a decade of prison and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.

A conviction for prescription drug possession can upend your life. Given the high stakes, it’s best to consult an experienced lawyer from the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C., who can help build the most vigorous defense.