September 19, 2023
If you are facing drug charges in Colorado, you have several options when putting together your defense. Which strategy to use will depend upon the facts of your specific situation – something a knowledgeable criminal lawyer will be able to help you with.
That being said, knowing the various potential defenses that may be able to help you can be valuable. Because of that, in this post we are going to cover a number of common defenses to drug charges that often prove successful in Colorado.
9 Strategies That Can Help You Avoid Conviction for a Drug Charge in Colorado
Entrapment. When officers or informants convince a suspect to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed, entrapment occurs. If you can prove that you were unwittingly participating in a crime due to pressure from authorities, you may be able to use this as a defense.
Lack of Possession. This defense is most commonly used in situations where you are included in a party of accused individuals, yet you yourself did not participate in a crime. For example, you are a rental property owner who is unaware that your renters are in possession of drugs on your property.
Another example is if you are riding in a vehicle with several other people accused of drug possession, yet you do not possess any drugs yourself. The defense of lack of possession works best when the prosecution has a hard time proving that the defendant had the intent or ability to control the illegal drugs they are accused of possessing.
Unwitting Possession. You can use this defense if drugs are found in your possession, yet you were completely unaware of their presence. For example, if someone gave you a package to transport, but you were unaware that the package contained illicit drugs, you can build a defense against your drug charges.
Search and Seizure Violations. Your rights to due process are protected by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They include proper search and seizure procedures prior to an arrest. Specifically, officers must have reasonable suspicion to stop a person, and illegal drugs must be in plain view to be used as evidence. Assuming you don’t grant permission and the officer doesn’t have a search warrant, he or she is not allowed to pry open your trunk (or search in other out-of-sight places) and use any drugs found there as evidence in court.
Bottom line? If any part of the search is unlawful, the drug charges may be dropped.
Duress or Coercion. In the event you were forced against your will to transport or possess drugs that belonged to someone else, you may be able to use this defense against your drug charges.
Lab Analysis Proves Otherwise. Seized drugs must pass through the crime lab to determine their purity. If they appear to be illicit drugs but don’t pass the crime lab tests, the charges may be dropped. The lab technician must testify that the seized materials don’t match the charges for this defense to be effectively employed.
Drugs Were Planted. Since an officer’s testimony in court is usually airtight, this may be a difficult defense to use. However, your attorney can request that the file of the particular officer be released and examined for evidence that drugs were planted.
Seized Drugs Now Missing. The actual drugs from the crime scene must be produced as evidence in court. Since seized drugs get transferred between departments, the drugs produced during trial may not in fact be the same drugs in question. The case can be dismissed if the prosecution cannot prove that the drugs are the same.
Colorado Drug Convictions Bring Steep Penalties – Fight Back
Most drug charges are felonies. Felony charges can mean steep fines and a minimum of one year in prison. These sentences stay on your permanent record and affect your ability to apply for certain jobs, such as those in the health care field. They can also diminish your earning power and ruin your reputation.
Your chances of facing tough sentences increase depending on the danger level of the illicit drug and the quantity of the drug seized. Charges also increase if you intended to sell or distribute the drugs beyond personal use. If you are a repeat offender, felony charges may also apply.
Since felony charges are so serious, you need the help of a criminal defense lawyer with a proven success record. They will be able to assist you in navigating your charges and building the strongest defense possible.
In certain situations, you may qualify for reduced charges or even other options like community service. Contact a criminal defense lawyer today to explore your options.
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 designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.