Arkansas Sale of a Controlled Substance Laws

Learn about the penalties for selling drugs in Arkansas.

All states regulate and control the sale of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for sale. Arkansas classifies not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine as controlled substances, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.

This article discusses sale of CDS for only. The possession of CDS for personal use carries different penalties. For more information on possession of CDS for personal use, see Possession of Controlled Substances in Arkansas.

How Arkansas Classifies Controlled Dangerous Substances

Arkansas divides its CDS into six “schedules,” according to their potential for abuse:

  • Schedule I drugs (such as opiates and hallucinogens) have the highest likelihood of abuse
  • Schedule II drugs (such as raw opium and amphetamines) have a high likelihood of abuse, have an accepted medical use, and can result in severe psychological and physical dependence if abused.
  • Schedule III drugs (such as pentobarbital and anabolic steroids) have a lower likelihood of abuse than Schedule I or II drugs, have an accepted medical use, and can lead to low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological dependence.
  • Schedule IV drugs (such as diazepam and tramadol) have a lower likelihood of abuse than Schedule III drugs, have an acceptable medical use, and may lead to limited psychological and physical dependence compared to Schedule III drugs.
  • Schedule V drugs (such as pseudoephedrine) have a lower likelihood of abuse than Schedule IV drugs, are the least dangerous, a currently accepted medical use, and likely to lead to only limited physical or psychological dependence compared to Schedule IV drugs.
  • Schedule VI drugs (marijuana) are substances that have been determined not to fit into Schedules I-V, have no acceptable medical use, are unsafe even under direct medical supervision, have a high likelihood of physical and/or psychological dependence, and their use poses a significant risk to public health.

If you’ve been arrested for possession for sale of CDS, you’ll need to consult the Arkansas Code that list precisely which drugs, and in what amounts, fit into each group. Those statutes are Arkansas Code Sections 5-64-203 through 5-64-216.)

Some CDS, like codeine, a common painkiller, may be possessed legally so long as the holder has a valid prescription.

How Arkansas Classifies CDS Possession Crimes

Arkansas treats its CDS crimes as either felonies or misdemeanors (which result in less jail time and lower fines than felonies).

  • Felonies are divided among six classes ("unclassified," Y, A, B, C, and D), with the most serious crimes placed in  unclassified  and  Class Y. CDS possession for sale felonies fall into Classes A, B, C, D, and Y.
  • Misdemeanors are divided among Classes  A, B, and C. Distribution of certain CDS is a Class A misdemeanor.

Each of the felony and misdemeanor classes is punished based on the type of CDS, the amount of CDS, whether the CDS was delivered, or whether the CDS was in the defendant’s possessions with the intent to deliver. Below, each of the CDS possession offenses is explained and placed in a felony or misdemeanor class. The punishment ranges are explained first.

Felony and misdemeanor penalties

Felony convictions incur heavy fines and lengthy incarceration, depending on the class of felony committed:

  • A Class Y felony is punishable by ten to 40 years and the amount of the fine is decided by the court.
  • A Class A felony is punishable by six to 30 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • A Class B felony is punishable by five to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • A Class C felony is punishable by three to ten years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • A Class D felony is punishable by up to six years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.

Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year of incarceration and a fine of up to $2,500.

Methamphetamine and Cocaine

Possession with the intent to deliver or the actual delivery of methamphetamine or cocaine is punished based on the amount of the substance involved:

  • Less than two grams is a Class C felony.
  • Two grams or more but less than ten grams is a Class B felony.
  • Ten grams or more but less than 200 grams is a Class A felony.
  • Delivery of ten grams or more but less than 200 grams is a Class Y felony.

Schedule I or II CDS (except Methamphetamine or Cocaine)

Possession with the intent to deliver or the actual delivery of Schedule I or II CDS other than methamphetamine or cocaine is punished based on the amount of the substance involved:

  • Less than two grams is a Class C felony.
  • Two grams or more, but less than 28 grams is a Class B felony.
  • 80 grams or more, but less than 160 doses of hydromorphone hydrochloride or LSD is a Class B felony.
  • 80 grams or more, but less than 160 doses and no more than 200 grams of a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class B felony.
  • 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams is a Class A felony.
  • 160 doses or more, but less than 200 grams of a Schedule I or II depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class A felony.

Possession with the intent to deliver 128 milligrams or more, or 160 doses or more but less than 200 grams of hydromorphone hydrochloride or LSD is a Class A felony.

Schedule III CDS    

Possession with the intent to deliver or the actual delivery of Schedule III CDS is punished based on the amount of the substance involved:

  • Less than 28 grams that is not a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class C felony.
  • 40 or more but less than 80 doses of a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class C felony.
  • 28 grams or more but less than 200 grams is a Class B felony.
  • 80 or more but less than 160 doses of a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class B felony.
  • 200 grams or more but less than 400 grams is a Class A felony.
  • 160 doses or more of a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class A felony.

Schedule IV or V CDS    

Possession with the intent to deliver or the actual delivery of Schedule IV or V CDS is punished based on the amount of the substance involved:

  • Less than 200 grams is a Class D felony.
  • 40 or more but less than 80 doses for a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class D felony.
  • 80 or more but less than 160 doses of a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class C felony.
  • 400 grams or more but less than 800 grams that is not a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class B felony.
  • 160 doses or more but less than 800 grams of a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant is a Class B felony.

Delivery of 200 grams or more but less than 400 grams is a Class C felony. Delivery of 400 grams or more but less than 800 grams is a Class B felony.

Possession with intent to deliver 200 grams or more but less than 400 hundred grams of CDS that is not a depressant, hallucinogenic, or stimulant, is a Class C felony.

Schedule VI CDS

Possession with the intent to deliver or the actual delivery of Schedule IV or V is punished based on the amount of the substance involved:

  • 14 grams or less is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • 14 grams or more, but less than four ounces is a Class D felony.
  • Four ounces or more, but less than 25 pounds is a Class C felony.
  • 25 pounds or more, but less than 100 pounds is a Class B felony.
  • 100 pounds or more, but less than 500 pounds is a Class A felony.

Possession of Nitrous Oxide

Even though nitrous oxide is not a scheduled CDS, Arkansas still punishes people who possess nitrous oxide for the purpose of intoxication. The unlawful possession of nitrous oxide is a Class A misdemeanor. (Arkansas Code Section 5-64-1201.)

Enhanced penalties

Arkansas imposes additional penalties in certain situations, as explained below.

Sale or delivery to a minor

A defendant convicted of the sale of Schedule I or II CDS that is a narcotic or methamphetamine to a person under the age of 18, who is at least three years younger than the defendant, is punished at the next higher criminal classification.

(Arkansas  Section 5-64-406.)

Sale of CDS near certain facilities

A defendant convicted of a Class C felony sale within 1,000 feet of these facilities will be punished by an additional ten years' incarceration:

  • a city or state park
  • a public or private school, college, or university campus
  • a school bus stop
  • a skating rink, Boys Club, Girls Club, YMCA, YWCA, community center, recreation center, or video arcade
  • a public housing project
  • a drug or alcohol treatment center
  • a day care center
  • a place of worship, or
  • a shelter as defined.

(Arkansas Code Section 5-64-411.)

"Continuing Criminal Enterprise"

A continuing criminal enterprise is activity that includes the commission of two or more felonies, with at least five other people whom the defendant managed and from which the defendant derived substantial income. A conviction for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise is an unclassified felony.  Defendants who are convicted of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise receive a sentence that is twice that of the underlying crime.

The penalty for a second conviction of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise is incarceration for a period that is three times that of the underlying crime.

(Arkansas Code Section 5-64-405.)

Subsequent Convictions

If a person has been convicted in any state for any crime that involved marijuana, hallucinogens, narcotics, depressants, or stimulants, Arkansas will punish a subsequent CDS conviction with a period of incarceration of up to twice the term of the underlying crime, and up to twice the amount of the fine. However, some subsequent CDS convictions are penalized more harshly. To see how Arkansas may treat your subsequent CDS related conviction you should refer to Arkansas Code Section 5-64-408.

Talk to an Attorney

Distribution convictions carry steep penalties and have a long-lasting impact on your life. If you have past convictions, you face even harsher penalties. To learn about your options and the possible outcome of each, you should consult an attorney who specializes in CDS defense.

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