Arkansas Laws on Possession of a Controlled Substance

by Richard Jones  - June 25, 2023

Overview of Arkansas Controlled Substance Laws

Arkansas laws on the possession of a controlled substance are strict and designed to deter drug use and trafficking in the state. Understanding these laws is crucial, as violations can lead to severe consequences, including hefty fines and imprisonment. This article will provide an overview of Arkansas controlled substance laws, focusing on the different schedules of controlled substances, the acceptable medical use and exceptions, as well as drug paraphernalia and related offenses.

Schedules of Controlled Substances

Controlled substances are categorized into schedules based on their abuse potential and accepted medical use. In Arkansas, these schedules range from Schedule I to Schedule VI, with Schedule I containing the most dangerous drugs and Schedule VI the least dangerous.

Schedule II controlled substances are considered highly addictive, with a high potential for abuse, but are also recognized for their medical uses. Examples include cocaine, methamphetamine, and various prescription opioids. Schedule III controlled substances, on the other hand, are considered less dangerous than Schedule II substances and have a moderate potential for abuse. Examples include anabolic steroids, some prescription opioids, and ketamine. Schedule IV drugs have an even lower potential for abuse and include substances such as benzodiazepines and certain sleep medications, while Schedule VI controlled substances pose the lowest risk and primarily include substances like marijuana and its derivatives.

Accepted Medical Use and Exceptions

In Arkansas, the acceptable medical use of controlled substances is determined by the state’s legislature and medical board, which consider factors such as the drug’s potential for abuse, the scientific evidence of its pharmacological effects, and its risk to public health. While some substances like anabolic steroids and certain opioids may be classified as controlled substances, they can still be prescribed and used legally for specific medical purposes when prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional.

Acceptable medical uses for controlled substances can vary between different schedules. For instance, Schedule II substances may be prescribed as part of a comprehensive pain management plan, while Schedule VI substances like marijuana are now allowed for medical use in certain conditions, such as cancer and severe seizures. However, it’s crucial to remember that the medical use of any controlled substance requires a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider, and they should only be used as prescribed to avoid legal ramifications.

Drug Paraphernalia and Related Offenses

Beyond the possession of controlled substances themselves, Arkansas law also prohibits the possession and sale of drug paraphernalia. This includes items such as syringes, scales, or any tools used to manufacture, store, or consume illegal drugs. Being found with drug paraphernalia can lead to criminal charges on its own, even if no controlled substances are found.

In addition to drug possession and paraphernalia offenses, Arkansas law enforcement actively targets drug crimes such as drug trafficking and possession with the intent to distribute. These charges carry more severe penalties than basic drug possession and can lead to lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines.

In conclusion, understanding Arkansas controlled substance laws, schedules, and related offenses is essential to avoid legal troubles. While some substances have acceptable medical uses, their use must always be within the confines of the law, under the guidance of a licensed healthcare provider. To promote a drug-free community and a safe environment, Arkansas maintains stringent measures against drug offenses, making it crucial to stay informed and vigilant regarding controlled substances and paraphernalia laws.

Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Arkansas

Arkansas has strict laws and penalties in place for the possession of controlled substances. Those penalties depend on several factors, including the amount and type of substance found in a person’s possession, as well as their criminal history. In this article, we will explore these penalties and provide valuable insights into Arkansas’ controlled substance laws. So, if you find yourself caught in a situation involving controlled substances, you’ll know what to expect and how to navigate the legal system.

Penalties for possession of a controlled substance in Arkansas range from class A misdemeanor charges to class Y felony charges. Upon conviction, a person can be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, with penalties ranging from 5-6 years in prison; or a class B felony, with penalties ranging from 6-9 years; or a class C felony, with penalties ranging from 6-9 years; or a class D felony, with penalties ranging from 9-13 years. The most severe charges are class Y felonies, which can result in a higher classification and even longer sentences.

Factors Determining Penalties

Several factors determine the penalties for possession of a controlled substance in Arkansas. These may include whether the offender is held in a city criminal detention facility, county criminal detention facility, or juvenile detention facility. Each of these facilities has its own set of rules and regulations for handling controlled substances offenses. Additionally, a person’s prior convictions play a significant role in determining the penalties. Previous convictions can lead to more severe consequences for those found guilty of possessing controlled substances.

The location of the controlled substance possession also plays a part in determining the penalties. If the offense occurs within proximity to a school, church, or park, this can lead to more severe consequences. Therefore, understanding the factors contributing to the penalties can help a person better navigate the legal system if found guilty of possessing a controlled substance.

Weight Thresholds and Associated Penalties

In Arkansas, the weight of the controlled substance significantly influences the penalties. The penalties increase as the amount of the controlled substance increases. For instance, possession of less than two grams may result in lesser penalties, whereas possession of more than twenty-eight grams (28g) upon conviction can lead to more severe consequences.

Weight thresholds are also applicable for different types of drugs. Possession of less than twenty-eight grams (28g) of certain substances constitutes a lower offense, while having more than two hundred grams can lead to harsher penalties. Similarly, having less than four ounces of cannabis, for example, may lead to less severe consequences than possessing more than twenty-eight grams of other controlled substances.

In some cases, possession of less than ten pounds of marijuana can also result in penalties. Recognizing these weight thresholds and their associated penalties is crucial for understanding the possible outcomes when charged with possession of a controlled substance in Arkansas.

Sentencing and Criminal History

Sentencing in controlled substance cases can vary based on the specific circumstances and the offender’s criminal history. For those with a clean record, the sentences are often more lenient. However, repeat offenders with a history of drug offenses may find themselves facing more severe penalties, including longer jail time and higher fines.

The total aggregate weight of the controlled substance, including any adulterants used, can also impact the sentencing. For instance, possessing four ounces (4 oz) of a substance combined with any adulterants can result in more severe penalties than possessing the same amount of the pure substance. In some cases, those with an extensive criminal history may even face a life sentence for possessing a controlled substance.

In conclusion, understanding the penalties for possession of a controlled substance in Arkansas is essential, especially as they can range from light fines to lengthy incarcerations. The factors determining penalties, weight thresholds, and associated penalties, as well as one’s criminal history and sentencing, are critical aspects to consider when navigating through Arkansas’ legal system. By being aware of these factors, individuals can better prepare themselves for potential consequences and equip themselves with knowledge that can be valuable in legal interactions.

Specific Controlled Substances and Associated Penalties

In the world of illegal drugs and controlled substances, it’s essential to understand the different classifications and the penalties associated with them. Schedule II controlled substances, schedule III controlled substances, and schedule VI controlled substances all have different levels of legal consequences. This article will delve into the specific drugs in each category, and the penalties one might face if found in possession of these substances.

Schedule II Controlled Substances

Schedule II controlled substances are classified as having the potential for high abuse and severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids such as oxycodone. When it comes to penalties, the weight of the substance plays a significant role.

For example, possessing less than ten grams of schedule II drugs can result in a range of penalties, depending on the circumstances. The consequences for possession of schedule II drugs range from probation to a lengthy prison sentence. It’s crucial to know the laws and potential punishments associated with possessing schedule II controlled substances.

Schedule III Controlled Substances

Moving on to schedule III controlled substances, these drugs have a lower potential for abuse compared to schedule II substances. Examples of schedule III drugs include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and some barbiturates. As with schedule II substances, the penalties can vary depending on the amount a person possesses.

If someone is found with between one and four hundred grams of schedule III controlled substances, they may face a conviction that includes significant fines and incarceration. The more grams a person possesses (28g to 400g), the harsher the penalty may be upon conviction, showcasing the importance of understanding the consequences associated with possessing these substances.

Schedule VI Controlled Substances

Finally, schedule VI controlled substances are considered to have the lowest potential for abuse and are less likely to lead to physical or psychological dependence. Schedule VI drugs include marijuana and certain substances found in synthetic cannabinoids. The penalties for possession of these drugs can vary widely depending on the amount in possession.

If a person is caught with less than twenty-five pounds of a schedule VI substance, they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. However, possessing more than twenty-five pounds but less than one hundred pounds is considered a Class B felony. Possessing drug paraphernalia related to schedule VI controlled substances can also result in legal penalties, emphasizing the need to be aware of the risks and consequences of possessing these drugs.

Other Controlled Substances

Arkansas laws also address substances that may not fall neatly into the above categories, such as those mixed with adulterants or diluents. Possessing less than two grams of such a substance with an aggregate weight less than twenty-eight grams can result in penalties akin to those found with schedule II, schedule III, and schedule VI controlled substances.

In conclusion, understanding the specifics of different controlled substances and their associated penalties is crucial for both personal knowledge and legal protection. By being aware of the potential consequences tied to schedule II, schedule III, and schedule VI controlled substances, individuals can better navigate the complex world of drug laws and potential penalties.

Arkansas Laws on Possession of a Controlled Substance FAQ

What are the penalties for possession of a controlled substance in Arkansas?

The penalties for possession of a controlled substance in Arkansas vary depending on the type and amount of the substance, as well as the offender’s criminal history. Generally, the penalties can range from a Class A misdemeanor for possessing a small amount of certain substances (such as less than 4 ounces of marijuana) to a Class Y felony for possessing larger amounts of more dangerous substances (such as 200 grams or more of methamphetamine). Penalties can include imprisonment, fines, or both. Repeat offenses and possession near schools or public parks can result in enhanced penalties.

How does Arkansas classify controlled substances?

Arkansas classifies controlled substances into six schedules based on their potential for abuse, the degree to which they may cause dependence, and any accepted medical uses for the substances. Schedule I substances are considered the most dangerous, with the highest potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, while Schedule VI substances have a lower potential for abuse and some accepted medical uses. Examples of substances in each schedule are:

Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, and marijuana (for now, despite its legal use for medical purposes)
Schedule II: Cocaine, methamphetamine, and oxycodone
Schedule III: Anabolic steroids and ketamine
Schedule IV: Xanax and Valium
Schedule V: Cough medicines with low amounts of codeine
Schedule VI: Substances with low potential for abuse, such as some hallucinogenic plants

Do I need a prescription to possess a controlled substance legally in Arkansas?

Yes, in order to legally possess a controlled substance in Arkansas, you must have a valid prescription from a licensed medical professional. Unauthorized possession of a prescription drug can result in criminal charges, with penalties varying depending on the type and amount of the substance. Furthermore, using someone else’s prescription or possessing prescription medication with the intent to distribute it can lead to more severe charges and penalties.

What if I am caught with a controlled substance in my vehicle?

If you are caught with a controlled substance in your vehicle, the severity of the consequences will depend on the type and amount of the substance, as well as your criminal history. You may face charges for possession of a controlled substance, and if the substance is within easy reach or there is evidence of use (such as drug paraphernalia), you could face additional charges for DUI or DWI if you are under the influence while driving. In some cases, your vehicle may be impounded, and you may have your driver’s license suspended. It is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing drug-related charges stemming from possession of a controlled substance in your vehicle.

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Richard Jones

Austin criminal defense attorney Richard Jones. This legal practice is dedicated to helping individuals like you—those caught in the crosshairs of criminal allegations and in dire need of dependable legal counsel. Richard also proficient in handling allegations related to theft crimes and is prepared to assist you during this stressful time.