What is Considered a Drug Offense in Arkansas?

This post explains the basics of drug offenses in Arkansas. It’s important to understand the various schedules and which drugs come with stiffer penalties in prosecution.

In Arkansas, most crimes related to controlled substances lead to felonies instead of misdemeanors. More serious drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamine, face even further felony charges and significant punishments.

Some prosecutors will push for mandatory prison time on certain drug crimes, and some drug crimes lead to the highest possible felony charges—Y felonies, which can lead to life in prison.

Whether you are a first-time or repeat drug offender, you should know the basics about what the state deems a drug charge and the associated potential penalties.

Controlled Substances Schedule

There are six schedules under Arkansas law, which divide the drugs by their risk of dependency and abuse and whether they have a current medical use. In most cases, a higher schedule means a more significant drug charge.

Schedule I: high abuse-potential drugs including opiates, morphine, heroin, hallucinogenic drugs, and certain stimulants

Schedule II: these drugs have accepted medical uses, but a high likelihood of dependency and abuse – cocaine, meth, and barbiturates

Schedule III: lower-risk drugs including anabolic steroids

Schedule IV: low-risk drugs such as sleep aids and antidepressants

Schedule V: Basic medicines such as cough syrup and other OTC drugs

Schedule VI: A lowest-risk category that includes marijuana.

Other Arkansas Drug Offenses

Other potential drug charges in the state include manufacturing, possession with intent to distribute, and trafficking, among other serious drug-related crimes.


If you’re facing any drug charge in Arkansas, you need aggressive and trusted representation on your side. Call Natural State Law today at (501) 916-2878 to learn more about our experience in criminal defense.