Denver Drug Offense Lawyer
If you’re in Colorado and you are facing charges of misdemeanor or felony drug possession, distribution, or manufacturing, you already know how serious your situation is.
There’s a lot riding on the decisions you make from here on out. While the circumstances surrounding your drug charge might be complicated, there’s one fact that is very, very simple: you need to protect yourself.
The Law Offices of Matthew A Martin, PC specializes in 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. All that matters now is the actions you take as you proceed through Colorado’s criminal justice system.
How Harsh Are Colorado’s Drug Laws?
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.
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.
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.
Schedule 1 drug offenses are very, very serious. 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, but having the drug packaged for distribution 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, which 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.
What Could Happen in the Wake of a Drug Charge?
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 that have the highest chance of producing a favorable outcome for them.
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.
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, as the penalty for making a wrong move, failing to file a certain motion, or making some other mistake is very
Even if you’re able to somehow obtain a comprehensive understanding of criminal defense in Colorado, it’s likely you’re not going to fare well by representing yourself when your day in court comes.
- 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.
However, 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.
Remember that unless you’re a Colorado-based criminal defense attorney yourself, you’re never going to be as effective in defending yourself against a drug charge than if you hired an attorney with a criminal defense specialization.
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.
We will not judge you. We will not mislead you. We will act on your behalf and help you to understand your options so that your case results in the most favorable outcome possible.
If you’re facing a drug charge, you need us in your corner.