The Lux Law Firm
Arrested? Accused of a drug crime? Let me help you.
While Colorado drug laws have changed in recent years, being charged with a drug crime can still have serious consequences. A drug conviction can land you in prison with hefty fines and a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life.
If you have been charged with a drug crime, you need to find an attorney immediately. At The Lux Law Firm, our experienced criminal defense attorney defends clients against drug crime charges. We can explain changes in Colorado drug law and legal options to minimize the impact of your drug crime charge.
The truth is that no one can do this on their own. It takes years of study and practice to learn the law and then know how to implement it.
We have that experience. Our knowledge comes from the inside. Before moving into private practice, Austin spent years working as a prosecutor. During that time he appeared in front of dozens of judges, spoke to hundreds of jurors, and reviewed thousands of cases. After spending months out of each year in trial, he learned what it takes to win.
-If you are ready to stop the worry and uncertainty, schedule a free, non-committal consultation today.
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Controlled Substances in Colorado
Colorado drug crimes vary depending on the controlled substance involved. A controlled substance is a drug or chemical that government regulation restricts due to the potential for abuse or harmful side effects.
Common Controlled Substances
Controlled substances can have both legal and illegal uses. Common controlled substances used by people in Colorado include:
- Prescription drugs,
- Peyote, and
Some of these controlled substances are legal in small quantities or by prescription, while others are never legal to use or possess.
Five Classifications of Controlled Substances
Under the Controlled Substances Act, controlled substances are divided into five classifications, based on their potential for abuse and medical uses. The classifications are defined by the following:
- Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use, high potential for abuse, and include heroin and synthetic opiates;
- Schedule II drugs have accepted medical uses but high potential for abuse, and include cocaine, opium, and Ritalin;
- Schedule III drugs have accepted medical uses, lesser potential for abuse, and include anabolic steroids;
- Schedule IV drugs have accepted medical uses, lower potential for abuse, and include Valium and Ambien; and
- Schedule V drugs have accepted medical uses, the lowest potential for abuse, and include medicines with small amounts of codeine.
It is also illegal to possess drug paraphernalia used for controlled substances. Federal law defines drug paraphernalia as “any equipment, product, or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.”
Drug Crimes in Colorado
Drug crimes include any charge related to the possession, use, or distribution of controlled substances, including the following:
- Drug possession,
- Intent to distribute drugs,
- Solicitation of drugs,
- Drug distribution,
- Possession of drug paraphernalia, and
- Drug trafficking.
Colorado law has minimized penalties for drug possession, but you can still face significant fines and prison time for drug distribution or manufacturing.
Colorado legalized marijuana use in 2012. This means that marijuana is no longer considered a controlled substance in Colorado. However, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. So, if you are subject to federal drug testing requirements for a job, marijuana usage can still get you in trouble even though state law legalized it. Also, you cannot legally use or possess marijuana on federal property, such as a national park or federal courthouse.
Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, you can only possess it in limited quantities and use it where it is legally allowed. People under age 21 cannot legally possess any marijuana.
Driving with marijuana
You can be charged with driving under the influence if you exceed THC concentration limits of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Also, drivers and passengers cannot use marijuana in vehicles. Even open containers of marijuana are prohibited in vehicles. You cannot leave the state with marijuana.
Adults age 21 or older can grow marijuana for their own recreational use. However, you can grow only 12 plants per residence under state law, and you can only grow marijuana in areas outside of public view. If you live with anyone under the age of 21, you must grow marijuana plants in a locked space that is inaccessible by minors.
Even if you grow your own, you cannot possess more than one ounce of marijuana. Additionally, you cannot sell any surplus from your crop unless you are a licensed retailer. However, if your crop yields extra marijuana, you can give up to an ounce away to an adult age 21 or over.
Punishment for Drug Crimes in Colorado
Colorado divides drug crimes into misdemeanors and felonies. Penalties for drug crimes range from a small fine to extended time in prison, depending on the details of your drug charge.
However, Colorado has relaxed penalties for mere possession of drugs. As of March 2020, Colorado defelonized possession of Schedule I and II controlled substances in small quantities, including heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. This means if you are found with a small amount of controlled substances, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony.
Colorado drug possession penalties include:
- Possession of limited amounts of Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances is punishable by up to six months in jail, two years of probation, and a fine of $1,000; and
- Possession of limited amounts of Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substances is punishable by up to four months in jail, one year probation, and a $500 fine.
However, possession of larger quantities or distribution of drugs brings increased penalties. Under the harshest Colorado drug penalties, a person convicted of drug distribution or manufacture could face up to 32 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Aggravating factors could increase penalties.
Marijuana Possession Penalties
Since Colorado legalized marijuana possession, people who are 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Possession of more than one ounce can result in these penalties:
- Possession of more than one ounce but less than two ounces of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $100 (but you will not be arrested for possession of this amount);
- Public display of up to two ounces of marijuana is punishable by up to $100 and community service;
- Possession of two to six ounces of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $750 and up to a year in jail;
- Possession of six to twelve ounces of marijuana is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000; and
- Possession of more than twelve ounces of marijuana is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.
To avoid these penalties, limit possession of marijuana to one ounce at a time and only use marijuana on private property. Public use of the drug is illegal.
What to Do After Being Charged
If you are arrested for a drug crime, there are steps you should take to preserve your legal options:
- Cooperate with the police;
- Do not volunteer information other than your identification;
- Request an attorney;
- Do not speak to anyone in your jail cell about your charge;
- Do not discuss your charge on social media; and
- Respect the terms of your bail.
Even if you are not arrested, it is important to consult a Colorado Springs drug crime attorney about your charge. Drug convictions can have a lasting impact on your life, so your goal should be to get charges reduced or dismissed if possible.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
A Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney will work to get your drug charges reduced or dismissed. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. In criminal court, a prosecutor must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that your Colorado defense attorney must convince the judge or jury that there is reasonable doubt as to your drug charge.
Even a drug conviction that carries a minor penalty can affect your future job and housing prospects. A skilled criminal defense attorney will work hard to protect your freedom and your future, negotiating for a reduced charge that can spare you long-term consequences.
Contact a Colorado Springs Drug Crime Attorney
After you are charged with a Colorado drug crime, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Austin M. Lux at The Lux Law Firm began serving criminal defendants after working as a district attorney for years. Austin participated in 50 jury trials at the DA’s office, where he learned the strategies prosecutors use against defendants. Austin uses this insight to help present your best drug crime defense. Austin will negotiate to have your charges reduced or dismissed, and he will take your case to trial if necessary.
If you face drug charges, you need to take steps to avoid the most serious consequences of a drug charge by obtaining a skilled criminal defense attorney. To start your defense against drug charges, contact Austin at The Lux Law Firm for a confidential consultation.