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Drug Crimes in Colorado

At the Law Offices of Matthew A. Martin, PC, we help those accused of drug offenses by upholding their rights in court and making sure they take the legal actions drug possession lawyer that have the highest chance of producing a favorable outcome for them.

A lot of things can go wrong in the wake of a drug charge if the accused is not fully informed of their rights or, worse yet, they choose not to acquire legal representation at all.

If you’re facing a drug charge, there are essentially two potential outcomes:

  • You defend your case on your own, relying on your limited knowledge of Colorado law to navigate the court system. This path is almost always fraught with pitfalls if you make a wrong move, fail to file a certain motion, or make some other mistake.
  • You retain legal counsel and trust in the expertise of a proven, professional attorney who acts with your best interest in mind. Matt Martin has seen first-hand how important it is to know the law when it comes to criminal defense. District Attorneys and Prosecuting Attorneys always have the upper hand on someone who doesn’t have a lawyer.

When you have an attorney representing you—one that knows exactly what to say and when, and what motions to file—you’re much more likely to receive a lighter sentence, reduced jail time, or even have your case thrown out entirely due to lack of evidence or from a violation of your Constitutional Rights.

Your future is too important to risk going it alone. Do not make the mistake of thinking you can handle this situation by yourself. Contact our offices immediately to schedule a free consultation.

If you’re facing a drug charge, it’s withing your best interest to contact Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C..

Denver Drug Defense Attorney

After an arrest for a drug crime in Denver, CO, or any of the surrounding areas, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C.. Matthew Martin can help you fight charges for a misdemeanor or felony drug possession, distribution, or manufacturing crime.

The Law Offices of Matthew A Martin, PC, focuses on representing those who have been charged with drug offenses anywhere in the state of Colorado. It doesn’t matter what the drug is, whether there are multiple charges, or whether there are other people involved in your case. Attorney Martin has taken on every obstacle in his 28 years of trial experience, so no case is “too big” for him. Set up your first consultation by contacting Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. at (303) 725-0017 today.

Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area and surrounding cities including Lakewood, Golden, Evergreen, Conifer, Castle Rock, Parker, Highlands Ranch, Larkspur, Castle Pines, and Franktown.

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Types of Drug Crimes in Colorado

The most commonly prosecuted drug crime in Colorado include:

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What is the Schedule of Drugs Used in Colorado?

Similar to other states and federal law, Colorado categorized the severity of a drug based on its schedule. Drug schedules are a type of classification for controlled substances which is measured by the drug’s addictive nature as well as its use in the medical field. The lower the drug schedule, the higher the penalties a person will receive for possessing, selling, or manufacturing it.

Schedule 1 Drugs (Heroin, LSD, and Other Hallucinogens)

Colorado has classified heroin and LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) as Schedule 1 drugs, meaning the state does not acknowledge any medical benefit associated with their use. Other drugs that are grouped in with this category are PCP, mescaline, and peyote.

Colorado has determined that these drugs come with a very high risk of abuse, meaning law enforcement is very motivated to charge and prosecute anyone who possesses, manufactures, or sells these drugs. If a law enforcement officer finds that you knowingly possessed any of these substances in any amount, it’s likely you are going to have to mount a strong legal defense to adequately defend yourself in court.

After March 1, 2020, if you are found in possession of more than 4 grams of a Schedule 1 controlled substance you will be charged with a level 4 drug felony (DF4). If you possessed less than 4 grams, then you would only be charged with a level 1 drug misdemeanor (DM1).

Schedule 2 Drugs (Opiates, Cocaine, Methamphetamine)

In the eyes of the state of Colorado, the difference between schedule 1 drugs and schedule 2 drugs lies in medical usefulness. While schedule 1 drugs have been determined by state lawmakers to not hold any medical use, schedule 2 drugs do have the ability to medically aid certain people. Because of this, these drugs fall into a classification of their own.

What makes possession of a schedule 2 substance illegal is if there is not an accompanying prescription that has been issued to the person in possession of said substance. So, if you’re found to be in possession of oxycontin, hydrocodone, morphine, methadone, or fentanyl, and if you don’t have a prescription, you’re likely to be charged with a schedule 2 drug possession charge.

After March 1, 2020, if you are found in possession of more than 4 grams of a Schedule 2 controlled substance you will be charged with a class 4 drug felony (DF4). If you possessed less than 4 grams, then you would be charged with a level 1 drug misdemeanor (DM1).

Schedule 3 Drugs (Less Addictive Drugs of Potential Abuse)

Barbiturates, ketamine, some steroidal drugs, and codeine are classified as schedule 3 substances. While these drugs may not be as physically addictive as schedule 2 drugs can be, they still come with a significant risk of dependence and/or psychological addiction.

As such, possession, distribution, and manufacturing of these substances without the prescriptions or licenses to do so is considered highly illegal. After March 1, 2020, if you are found in possession of any amount of a Schedule 3 controlled substance, then you will be charged with a class 1 drug misdemeanor or a class 3 drug felony (DF3) if the police believe you were intending to distribute the drugs.

Schedule 4 Drugs (Certain Prescribed Medications)

Schedule 4 drugs are considered by the state of Colorado to have a low risk of addiction. However, they are still seen as capable of being abused. Use of these drugs without adequate medical supervision can result in psychological and physical dependence, which is why it’s illegal in the state of Colorado to possess, manufacture, or sell them.

Drugs that fall into the schedule 4 category include valium, ambien, and some other anti-anxiety medications. As with schedule 3 and schedule 2 substances, a prescription for schedule 4 drugs is required, or else an illegal drug possession charge may very well be filed against you for a class 1 drug misdemeanor.

Remember that having any amount of a schedule 4 drug qualifies as simple possession. If the drug was packaged for distribution, then it could qualify for a drug sales charge which carries much harsher penalties upon conviction.

Schedule 5 Drugs (Substances with Small Amounts of Narcotics)

The lowest rung of the Colorado drug designation ‘ladder’ is schedule 5. This group is reserved for very specific substances that, while they may have medical benefit, also carry at least some risk of abuse, dependence, or addiction.

The most commonly cited drug in this category is cough syrup that is prescription-only and that contains small amounts of codeine. This substance is great for those who need it to relieve pain while easing their coughing symptoms, but without a prescription, it’s illegal to possess, manufacture, or sell.

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Drug Charge Sentencing in Colorado

The penalties for a drug-related crime in Colorado depend on various factors including the type of drug, the amount involved, and if any additional criminal acts were committed. Most Colorado drug charges generally fall into these three categories: misdemeanors, petty offenses and felony crimes.

  • Petty Offenses – Minor drug crimes such as public consumption of marijuana are considered a petty offense. These crimes are not serious enough for jail time but are punishable by a fine amount assigned by the Colorado Code.
  • Misdemeanors – Misdemeanors are either classified as a DM1 or a DM2.
    • DM1 – These are considered to be the more serious type of misdemeanor out of the two. DM1 offenses can include manufacturing, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute. The maximum penalty for a DM1 is up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
    • DM2 – Although less serious than a DM1, you should not take the penalties for a DM2 related crime lightly. Some DM2 crimes include possession of a synthetic cannabinoid or abusing toxic vapors. The maximum sentencing for a DM2 offense is up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.
  • Felony Offenses – The most severe type of drug offense is classified as a felony. Colorado has four levels for their felony drug offenses, and these include:
    • DF1 – DF1 crimes include drug offenses such as distribution of any material with specific amounts of schedule I or II controlled substances combined, or distribution of schedule I or II drugs to a minor. The maximum penalty for a DF1 offense includes up to 32 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
    • DF2 – Less severe than a DF1 crime, DF2 drug offenses still have life-changing penalties. The maximum sentence for a DF2 rime is up to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.
    • DF3 – Level 3 drug felony cases, also referred to as DF3, can include crimes such as distribution of any material weighing 14 grams or less if the material contains a schedule I or II controlled substance. The highest penalty a person can receive for a DF3 crime includes up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
    • Df4 – Most crimes are simply labeled as a DF3 unless the distribution was for the purpose of sharing use of drugs at “a time substantially contemporaneous” with the exchange of drugs. Upon conviction a person can face up to 12 months in prison for a DF4 offense and a fine of up to $100,000.

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Current Marijuana Laws in Colorado

In November of 2012, Colorado residents voted to pass Amendment 64, which effectively legalized the recreational possession and private use of cannabis (at the time, medical use had already been legal in our state). This opened the door for widespread commercialization of the drug, something that has been a highly controversial development in recent years.

Love it or hate it, Colorado has fully adopted the manufacturing, use, distribution, and cultivation of cannabis and cannabis-related products. However, cannabis is still considered a federally illegal substance, which makes the entire situation a bit confusing.

For Colorado state law enforcement, there is no longer any way to charge, prosecute, or sentence someone for simple cannabis possession (unless they’re a minor). However, being under the influence of cannabis while operating a motor vehicle or while providing sworn testimony still carries with it certain legal ramifications.

Remember: while it is legal to possess up to 28 grams (one ounce) of cannabis, it is illegal to possess any more than that. Also, if you’re on federal land located within the state of Colorado, then federal laws trump state laws, and you could be charged with simple cannabis possession even though you’re technically in the state.

Also, it is still sharply illegal to sell cannabis without state licensure to do so. If you are found with any amount of cannabis that is packaged for distribution and you don’t have a state license to operate a dispensary, you could be charged with a drug distribution crime.

Even though cannabis-related drug charges have reduced in number since 2012’s passing of Amendment 64, they’re still issued by the state with regular frequency, and they’re still very serious

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Additional Resources

NORML | Colorado Chapter – Visit the official website for the Colorado Chapter of NORML, also known as the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana laws. Access the site to read pending 2021 legislation about marijuana, an in-depth look at marijuana recreational laws in Colorado, when’s the latest chapter meetings, and more.

Colorado Revised Statues | Drug Laws – Visit the official website for the Colorado Revised Statutes to read up on their legislation regarding drug laws in the state. Access the site to learn more about the drug offenses in Colorado, the various penalties, and admissible defenses.

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Denver Attorney for Drug Crimes | Colorado Drug Laws

We know how the state of Colorado treats drug offenders, and it’s not always compassionate and merciful. While most first-time drug offenders may receive lighter sentences including treatment instead of jail time, your case might be wholly different. If you have been arrested for possession, sale, manufacture, or distribution of drugs, contact the legal team at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C..

Even though Colorado is considered a highly progressive state when it comes to what drugs are legal, illegal, or decriminalized, there are still very strict drug laws on the books. Matthew Martin has over 28 years of valuable trial experience, so he has an in-depth understanding of Colorado’s drug laws. He can examine your case and develop a strong defense so you can avoid the ful statutory penalties of the crime.

Set up your first consultation with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. by calling our offices at (303) 725-0017. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area and surrounding counties such as Arapahoe County, Adams County, Jefferson County, Broomfield County, Boulder County, Douglas County, and Clear Creek County.