September 19, 2023
Sometimes, those found guilty of drug felonies in Colorado can face longer sentences than they otherwise would.
Many felonies in our state can lead to mandatory sentencing. These crimes are called aggravated drug crimes. But what is aggravated drug crimes? What makes them worse than non-aggravated drug crimes? Read on to find out all you need to know.
Aggravated Drug Crimes in Denver
In our state, there are two ways that you can get an aggravated sentence for a drug crime. The first way is that a judge will be required to use mandatory sentencing for aggravated drug felonies if you commit a drug crime and one of the following is true:
- When you committed the crime, you were serving parole for a different felony
- You were on bond or probation while waiting to be sentenced for another felony
- You were in prison, in any correctional institution, or confinement, or you had escaped a correctional facility
- You were on appeal bond for a previous felony conviction
- However, the court also has the discretion to use aggravated sentencing on you if when you committed the drug felony:
- You were convicted of another felony or were charged with or on bond for another felony
- You were on bond for or charged with a delinquent act that would be charged as a felony if you were an adult
- You had pled guilty to a less serious offense when the original charge was a felony
- You were under a deferred judgment for another felony
Colorado Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
In Denver, mandatory minimum sentencing doesn’t often apply to drug crimes. That’s because the crime has to be a Level 1 drug felony or a third or subsequent Level 2, Level 3, or Level 4 drug felony for mandatory minimum sentencing to be used.
However, for each level of a drug crime, the mandatory sentencing gets more severe, particularly in cases with aggravating factors.
Some examples of Level 1 drug felonies include:
- The sale of 225 grams or more of a Schedule I or II substance
- The sale of 112 grams or more of heroin, cathinone, ketamine, or methamphetamine
- The sale of 50 milligrams or more of flunitrazepam
- The sale of a controlled substance in any amount to a minor
- The sale of 50 pounds or more of marijuana or 25 pounds or more of marijuana concentrate
- The sale of one pound or more of marijuana concentrate or 2.5 pounds of marijuana to a minor
If you are found guilty of any of these Level 1 drug felonies, you can face a mandatory minimum of eight years in prison. If aggravating factors are present, that minimum increases to 12 years.
If the judge finds your case has aggravating factors, but it’s not a Level 1 drug crime, you can still face increased penalties. The mandatory minimums for first and second offenses include
Mandatory minimum of four years or eight years if aggravating factors are present
Mandatory minimum of two years in prison or four years if aggravating factors are present
Mandatory minimum of six months behind bars or one year for aggravated
Mandatory minimums for aggravated drug crimes are life-changing, so be sure to have an experienced attorney on your side.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Countless legal organizations have recognized Mr. Martinez for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020 and is Lead Counsel rated.