Important Facts About Colorado’s Drug Laws And Penalties
Some of Colorado’s drug laws and penalties have become less harsh over the past decade. However, the laws themselves can still be confusing. If you or someone you care about is charged with drug possession or distribution, it is in your best interest to work with a qualified drug defense lawyer to fully understand what is at stake and what the options are.
The attorneys at Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C. are Colorado drug defense lawyers. We have over 20 years of drug defense experience. Call 303-547-3434 and talk to us about what happened in a free consultation.
New Marijuana Laws
Colorado now has very lenient laws regarding marijuana. Personal use of marijuana is not illegal, but possessing over 28 grams of it can be a crime. You can also face distribution charges. If you are under 21 and caught with any amount of marijuana, you may also be charged. Possession of marijuana on federal property such as parks, airports, courthouses, post offices and HUD housing is a crime. Synthetic cannabinoids and salvia are also still illegal. It is a felony to manufacture or sell these.
Trafficking, or possession with intent to sell, synthetic cannabis on federal property is felony and a violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The penalties for possession include a fine of not less than $1,000 and up to a year in federal prison. The penalties for trafficking synthetics include a fine of up to $1,000,000 and up to 20 years in federal prison.
There are myriad possible defenses for possession charges which can range from unknowing possession (it looks like regular marijuana), it was for your personal use or the evidence was confiscated during an illegal search and seizure. An experienced and qualified drug defense attorney can advise you as to how to plead and when to get evidence thrown out.
Seven Drugs That Are Still Illegal
Seven very common recreational drugs do carry harsh penalties for possession. These seven drugs are:
- Methamphetamine (meth)
Anyone caught by the Metro Drug Task Forces for possession or distribution of drugs would be wise to enlist the support of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Difference Between Misdemeanor And Felony Charges
It is a misdemeanor to possess up to four grams of meth, cocaine, ecstasy or heroin. Instead of prison time, many courts now opt to sentence those found guilty with probation instead of mandatory jail time.
However, if you are charged with a felony drug crime in Colorado you will face heavy fines and up to one year in prison. If there are “aggravating factors” such as a previous charge or conviction, there are longer prison terms.
What Counts As Drug Distribution?
Though the words “distribution” and “trafficking” conjure images of cars, trucks and state borders, drug distribution is a drug-related crime most often done on a small, local scale. Either way, legal consequences are severe.
A typical drug distribution case might look something like this. A guy buys pot from a friend. Another friend asks the guy to get him some. They meet in a parking lot or other ordinary location and the pot is shared. This same scenario happens again, but this time 1) police are watching and, 2) money is exchanged to lessen the expense. “Helping a friend” is now deemed “distributing drugs.”
The next thing you know, officers from the Metro Drug Task Force are coming into your home, or detaining you in your car and asking questions about whom you deal to, or whom you buy from. They say if you don’t talk to them or give them three names that they are going to charge you with felony drug charges.
Is Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia A Crime?
Though the possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a petty offense, serious consequences can result from a conviction, including:
- A criminal record/prior record
- The stigma of a drug conviction
- Possible immigration consequences if you are a noncitizen
If you are charged with the possession of drug paraphernalia, it’s important that you protect your record now.
The Five Colorado Drug Schedules
These schedules are based on each drug’s likelihood for abuse. The lower the number the more likely the drug is perceived to be used recreationally or without a prescription. Schedule I drugs, unlike the rest of the groups, do not have any official medical use. Currently there are some medical studies being done with psilocybin or “magic mushrooms.” In a handful of currently operating churches and historically mescaline and peyote were used in religious ceremonies
- Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, PCP, psilocybin, mescaline and peyote.
- Schedule II: Cocaine, opium, oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, fentanyl, methadone, cocaine and meth.
- Schedule III: Small amounts of codeine, barbiturates, ketamine and anabolic steroid.
- Schedule IV: Diazepam (valium) and zolpidem (Ambien).
- Schedule V: Products that contain small amounts of narcotics such as codeine.
There are seven different classes of drug crimes in Colorado; Level 1-Level 4 felonies and Level 1- Level 2 misdemeanors. The last category is petty offenses which typically involve possession, consumption or transferal of two ounces or less of marijuana. A petty offense can involve paraphernalia and possession of prescription drugs that are not in their original container. A petty offense is usually a $100 fine.
Get Good, Sound, Common-Sense Representation
We are qualified Denver drug crime defense lawyers. Do yourself or your loved one a huge favor, and contact our law firm for a free consultation today. Yes, you can be sent to prison or serve serious jail time for drug charges in Colorado. Take your criminal case as seriously as we do and email us or call us for a free consultation today at 303-578-4036!