December 1, 2022
In Colorado, it is a crime to sell, use, manufacture, or possess controlled substances. The laws tend to change little by little in the state, however, and possessing small amounts of most controlled substances can amount to a misdemeanor crime.
There are a lot of questions when it comes to drug crimes in Colorado, especially in the ever-changing landscape of the law. Here is what you need to know right now about Colorado drug crimes and what you can expect if you are charged with one.
What Types of Drugs Are Illegal in Colorado?
Controlled substances in Colorado are separated into five schedules. Which schedule they’re included in depends on any medical benefit to the substance and how likely it is that someone would abuse it.
This schedule includes drugs that have no accepted medical use and a high probability of abuse. Heroin, LSD, peyote, PCP, and other hallucinogens are in this schedule.
These substances have some medical use but a high probability of abuse and misuse, even if used under medical supervision. They include substances such as opioids, hydrocodone, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamines, and methadone.
The substances on this schedule have a reduced chance of abuse when compared to schedule I and II drugs, but their use can still lead to dependence. Ketamine, codeine, barbiturates, and anabolic steroids are on this schedule.
The substances on this schedule can still be abused, but it’s much less likely they will be in comparison to the substance in schedules I, II, and III. The substances in this category include drugs like valium and Ambien.
These are the substances that are considered least dangerous for misuse and abuse, and they have an accepted medical use. This includes some narcotic drugs such as cough syrups or cold medicines.
What Penalties Can Be Faced For Drug Crimes?
In Colorado, the prevailing sentiment among lawmakers is that those arrested and convicted of drug crimes should get treatment and not automatically be sent to prison.
That’s why the law changed a few years ago, allowing those in possession of four grams or less of a controlled substance to be charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony. However, you can still be charged with a felony for possession of more than four grams of drugs from schedules I and II, as well as GHB, flunitrazepam, and ketamine.
When it comes to drug crimes in Colorado, there are specialized drug treatment courts as well as Veterans Treatment Courts. These are designed to help those struggling with mental health issues that may be lead them to issues with substance abuse. Deferred sentencing is available to those in these courts as long as they plead guilty to drug offenses.
If someone is charged with the sale or manufacture of drugs, then a felony can be charged. What level of felony and the penalties faced will depend on a variety of factors, such as the schedule of the drug, the amount of drugs involved, whether the drugs were planned for personal use or sale, the criminal history of the offender, and if the offender is currently on parole or probation.
The consequences for Colorado drug felonies range from a mere six months incarceration and fines of $1,000 for minor offenses to as many as 32 years behind bars and $1 million in fines.
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. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations 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.