Boulder Drug Defense Lawyer
Colorado’s statutory scheme for drug offenses is highly complex and is evolving quickly. For the most part, it is changing for the better: Penalties are lessening, and opportunities for eventual records sealing are increasing, even in certain cases that result in convictions. In this context, it is essential that you have a Boulder drug defense lawyer who understands and is skilled in working with the current drug laws. Schedule a free consultation with us today, call 303-593-1874 or message us online.
Why Choose Our Firm?
At Dolan + Zimmerman LLP, our Boulder drug defense attorneys have extensive, in-depth knowledge of Colorado’s evolving body of law regarding drug-related offenses.
- Our Boulder criminal defense attorneys are always accessible, as we understand the importance of taking action as soon as possible in drug possession cases.
- We will empower you to make well-informed decisions in your case by ensuring you understand how they may impact you down the line.
- We intentionally limit our caseload to ensure we give clients the attention they deserve.
Do Not Assume Drug Crimes are Lightly Penalized
Because of the recent favorable changes in drug laws, it is easy to assume that drug charges are not a big deal. That is not the case.
Drug felonies still carry potential prison sentences. Only some types of convictions for drug offenses allow for eventual file sealing; the number of years before file sealing is available vary greatly on the level of the offense. Additionally, drug-related cases frequently present highly complex factual and legal issues and consequently are often more defensible than you may initially assume.
You need a Boulder drug defense attorney who is skilled in navigating this technical and complex area of law. That is exactly what you will find at our firm. Our attorneys have experience in every aspect of drug crime defense, including jury trials. They will aggressively pursue an approach that is right for you. We handle all types of drug charges related to marijuana, meth, cocaine, prescription drugs, heroin, and others, including:
- Possession: Colorado law considers a number of substances to be “controlled dangerous substances” (CDS). These drugs are highly regulated, and some are unlawful to possess in any capacity. If you are suspected of unlawfully possessing a CDS, you can face arrest and serious criminal charges and penalties.
- Distribution: It is illegal to dispense, manufacture, sell, or distribute a CDS. Distribution is the transfer of drugs from one person to another. Giving away a drug free of charge also counts as distribution, as the transfer does not have to be for money or any other benefit. However, the non-commercial nature of the crime may reduce the penalty in some cases.
- Possession with the intent to distribute: It is against the law to possess a CDS with the intent to distribute. What defines “intent to distribute” is usually the amount of the controlled substance in possession. In general, 25 grams or more will carry distribution or possession with intent to distribute charges.
When Should I Hire A Boulder Drug Defense Attorney?
Hire an experienced drug possession lawyer as early on in your case as possible. One of the biggest mistakes that individuals make in drug cases is waiting to seek professional legal representation.
If the police question you about a drug possession crime, anything you say can be used against you throughout their investigation and eventually in court. Even if you are innocent, your words can get twisted around and turned into something you did not intend. The sooner you get a Boulder drug defense lawyer by your side, the better the chances for a satisfactory outcome. They will be your best guide throughout the entire process, from arrest to preparing for hearings and trial.
Possible Defenses to Drug Possession Cases in Colorado
There are numerous ways to defend Colorado drug possession cases, to dismiss a charge, or reduce the level of penalties. Some of the possible defenses can include:
- The drugs belong to another party.
- Another party planted the drugs.
- The drugs were for personal use.
- You were not aware that you had a controlled substance.
- The drug is prescribed by a medical doctor.
- You did not intend the drug for human consumption.
- There wasn’t enough of the substance to use as a drug.
- You were not in possession of a sufficient quantity of the drug to warrant the applicable charges.
- The drugs were seized in an unlawful search and seizure.
- You had the legal right to manufacture or sell the controlled substance,
- The drug has a Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act approved new drug application.
- Your conduct was in accord with a Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act approved investigational use.
- The prosecution’s crime lab analysis insufficiently proves that the drug in question is an illicit substance.
- The prosecution cannot produce the actual drugs
While all of these are potential defenses that can be used in a drug possession case, an addiction to the substance cannot. Admitting to an addiction indicates that you once possessed an illegal substance to form your dependency in the first place.
Colorado Drug Classifications
Colorado drug law classifies controlled dangerous substances under five Federal drug “schedules.” They are categorized in descending order of their risk of addiction, the potential for abuse, and medical uses.
The most dangerous substances that have a high risk of addiction or dependency and no accepted medical use. Drugs included are LSD, heroin, PCP, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline, and peyote.
Drugs that have a high risk of abuse but may have legitimate medical uses. These include substances such as opium and prescription opioid medications like oxycodone (OxyContin), cocaine, methadone, methamphetamines, and amphetamines.
Slightly less dangerous drugs than Schedule II substances and have an accepted medical use, but still, have a moderate risk of dependency. For example, codeine, anabolic steroids, testosterone, ketamine, barbiturates, and some depressants.
Drugs that have a lower potential for dependency and have accepted medical uses such as diazepam (Valium), some tranquilizers, and non-barbiturate sedatives like zolpidem (Ambien).
The least dangerous drugs that have a very low risk of abuse and include things like over-the-counter cough syrups or cold medications with minimal amounts of Codeine.
The type of drug you are accused of being in possession of impacts the charges and potential penalties you face if you are convicted. The lower the drug is scheduled, the harsher the punishment will generally be. Not all of these above-listed drugs are illegal, even without a prescription, but your charges can still be based on how a legal drug is used.
Drug Possession and Penalties in Colorado
The criminal penalties associated with possession differ depending on the charge you are facing, based on the type and amount of the CDS you had.
- Schedule I or II Drug Offense:
- Class 3 felony, 4 to 12 years imprisonment
- Up to a $750,000 fine
- Includes LSD and heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines.
- Schedule III Drug Offense:
- Class 4 felony, 2 to 6 years imprisonment
- Up to a $500,000 fine
- Includes ketamine and anabolic steroids
- Schedule IV Drug Offense:
- Class 5 felony, 1 to 3 years imprisonment
- Up to a $100,000 fine
- Includes sedatives and tranquilizers
- Schedule V Drug Offense:
- Class 1 misdemeanor, 6 to 18 months imprisonment
- up to a $5,000 fine.
- Includes cough syrup with codeine
The penalties and charges can be less severe if you are accused of possessing less than one gram of any CDS. On the other hand, the penalties can be enhanced if the prosecutor believes that you possessed the drugs with the intention to sell or distribute them.
Start Building Your Defense Today
In your first consultation, we will review your case, explain your best options and help you better understand what to expect from the defense process. To schedule a time to speak with one of our Boulder drug defense lawyers, please send us an email or call our office.