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Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer in Denver, CO
Have you been charged with possession or sale of illegal drugs? At Castañeda Law, we defend clients charged with drug crimes. We are experienced in the law, and we know how to defend against these charges and to provide you with the best opportunity for a successful result. Call us for a free consultation.
Even a relatively minor possession charge can be a blot on your record that could affect your present and future educational and job opportunities. Some possession charges are felonies. No matter what the specific charges against you are, a drug conviction will have a major impact on your life. Get the help you need by contacting an experienced Denver drug crimes attorney.
Marijuana Can Be Illegal
Colorado is one of the first two states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. More than a decade earlier, the voters approved a constitutional amendment permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But even with these laws, pot can still cause you legal trouble.
Whether the issue is recreational use or medical use, the law has strict limits on marijuana. Here are just a few of them:
In order legally to use or possess medical marijuana, you need a registry card issued by a physician, who must state that you have a qualifying medical condition. The list of those conditions is relatively short. You and your caregiver can (collectively) possess up to six marijuana plants (only 3 of which can be mature), and two ounces of usable marijuana. Possession of more than that amount is illegal.
Under the recreational marijuana law, possession of more than an ounce, and up to two ounces of marijuana is a drug petty offense. Possession of between two and six ounces is a level 2 drug misdemeanor. Possession of more than 12 ounces is a level 4 drug felony.
The display, use or consumption of marijuana in public is a drug petty offense, that may carry a fine and community service.
Possession with intent to distribute (other than transfer of one ounce or less for no remuneration) four ounces or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor. With higher amounts, the offense is a felony.
Cultivation of more than six marijuana plants is a felony.
Similar rules apply to possession, distribution and transfer of hashish.
So while it is legal to possess marijuana in certain situations, going beyond the limits can lead to being charged with an offense, and in some cases that offense could even be a felony.
In Colorado, most drug offenses are set forth in the Controlled Substances Act of 1992. As in many other states, the question of how serious a drug crime is, and the potential penalty, will depend upon more than one factor. The first is the classification of the drug. The second is the amount of the drug involved. And the third is the activity alleged, that is, whether you are charged with possession, sale, possession with intent to sell, etc.
Drug Schedules. The Colorado Criminal Code divides drugs into five schedules. Schedule I drugs purportedly have a high potential for abuse, no current accepted medical use in the United States, and no accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Examples of Schedule I drugs are heroin, “mushrooms”, bath salts and LSD. Schedule II drugs are like those in Schedule I, but have an accepted medical use, although they may cause severe dependency. Schedule II drugs include morphine, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone and codeine. Schedule III, IV and V drugs have less and less potential for abuse. Generally, illegal possession of Schedule I and II drugs is treated more harshly than possession of, say, a Schedule V drug. Possession of any controlled substance in Schedule III, IV or V is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Drug Amounts. Possession of a larger amount of a particular drug is treated more harshly than a lesser amount of the same drug. For example, possession of four grams or less of a Schedule I or II drug (other than meth) is a class 6 felony. Possession of more than four grams is a class 4 felony.
Drug Activity. Illegal use of any controlled substance is a class 2 misdemeanor. Possession may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the particular drug. Distribution, possession with intent to sell, sale, manufacture and similar activities are class 2 and 3 felonies, in the case of Schedule I and II drugs. Even in the case of Schedule IV drugs, distribution and possession with intent to sell are felonies.
Colorado law also contains special rules for methamphetamine. Possession of two grams or less is a class 4 felony. Possession of any compound weighing 2 grams or less that contains any amount of meth is a class 6 felony.
Sentencing for Drug Crimes
Those convicted of drug crimes in Colorado are sentenced under guidelines that contain a presumptive range minimum and maximum range. For example, the presumptive range for a level 2 drug misdemeanor is no jail and a $50 fine minimum, and a 12-month sentence plus a $750 fine as a maximum. For a Level 2 drug felony, it is 4 to 8 years minimum and a maximum of 8 to 16 years.
In addition to the presumptive sentence, other factors will also come into play in a sentence for a drug crime. Aggravating factors include questions such as whether you were on probation or parole at the time of the offense.
If you are convicted of a drug crime, your sentence will be a function of a number of things. And although the sentencing laws on drugs are harsh, it is possible in some cases to receive a suspended sentence.
Defense of Drug Crimes in Denver
Even a cursory review of the drug laws in Colorado demonstrates that they are complex and often confusing. There are differences from drug to drug, and your charges will also involve the particular activity you are alleged to have engaged in. Beyond that, there are multiple factors that determine what the potential sentence might be in your case.
If you are facing a drug charge, we have the experience to help. We will explain the charges and potential penalty, and outline a defense that makes sense under all the circumstances. Contact Castañeda Law and speak to an experienced Denver drug crimes lawyer.
Call (303) 386-7135 for a free consultation
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