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Understanding Colorado's cocaine laws

Colorado has become quite famous in the last several years for its progressive laws regarding marijuana possession and use. Many people may assume that this relatively lax attitude toward marijuana extends to any and all controlled substances, but it this is a dangerously false assumption. When it comes to other, stronger substances like cocaine, Colorado state laws still carry stiff penalties for possession, manufacture and distribution.

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule I narcotic, and Colorado joins every state in the union in considering it a criminal offense to possess or traffic it. Like most other states, selling cocaine is a felony offense, carrying penalties of up to $750,000 in fines and up to 12 years of prison time per offense. While possession of cocaine carries lighter penalties, they are still quite hefty -- up to $500,000 in fines and as many as six years behind bars.

Sale of cocaine to a minor while within 1,000 feet of any school or public property is an exceptionally serious offense, carrying a first-time penalty of five years of jail time, increasing to 20 years of jail time for subsequent offenses.

Colorado's cocaine laws are perhaps less severe than those in other states, but still carry onerous penalties. There is some potential good news for those charged with cocaine-related offenses in the state, as some jurisdictions in Colorado have instituted "drug courts." They specialize in hearing first and second-time drug offenders' cases with the possibility of those individuals committing to drug treatment programs in lieu of harsher fines or jail time.

Those facing drug charges will want to consider very carefully how they intend to face the charges. Representation by an experienced legal professional can help to protect the defendant's rights and help guide him or her to the best possible outcome.

Source: Findlaw, "Colorado Cocaine Laws," accessed June 28, 2016

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