Colorado has been making strides in recent years to help decriminalize drugs, especially now that marijuana is legal both for medicinal and recreational use. However, at this time, Colorado is taking things a step further to help keep those who are charged with drug crimes out of the court system altogether. They’re doing so through a new recovery diversion program.
According to the District Attorney in Aurora, recovery diversion programs will now be an alternative to the traditional justice system for those accused of possessing drug paraphernalia or illegal controlled substances. In lieu of jail time, those in the program will receive treatment for recovery abuse of drugs.
Those who enter the program and complete its steps, which include meetings with a counselor and screenings, can have their charges dismissed. This is a great alternative to other consequences that drugs can bring into a person’s life.
Don’t be fooled – Colorado may be working to be more progressive when it comes to dealing with drug crimes, but you can still get in serious trouble if found guilty of them.
Colorado Drug Laws
In Colorado, the law makes it illegal to use, sell, possess, or manufacture certain amounts of controlled substances. While it is no longer a felony in the state to possess less than four grams of some narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, you can still face misdemeanor penalties for possession in these small amounts.
Drugs are also broken up into different schedules. The purpose is to divide them into categories based on their medical value and if their use can result in physical dependence.
Drugs on this schedule have no accepted medical use and are seen as having a high potential for abuse. This includes drugs such as heroin and hallucinogens.
With a high potential for dependence and abuse, these drugs have an accepted medical use but are still considered dangerous. They include opioids, fentanyl, methadone, methamphetamines, and cocaine.
These drugs have less of a chance of resulting in abuse and dependence and have an accepted medical use. Drugs on this schedule include ketamine, steroids, barbiturates, and medications that contain codeine.
These drugs have a lower potential for abuse as well as an accepted medical use. They include prescription medications such as Valium and Ambien.
The drugs on this schedule are the least dangerous of the bunch with the lowest potential for dependence/abuse and accepted medical use. It includes medicines with small amounts of narcotics such as cold medicines and cough syrups available over the counter.
Penalties for Drug Crimes
In Colorado, if you are convicted of a drug crime, then you can face a variety of penalties. They can range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the type of drug involved and the amount found in your possession.
Misdemeanors may result in only probation with an order to get treatment as a condition. The Colorado courts do favor alternatives to jail or those found guilty of drug crimes, but you should still consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that things go well for you in the process.
For felonies, the penalties can be much more severe and often include prison sentences and fines. These penalties can range from six months in jail and fines of $1,000 to 32 years in prison and fines of $1 million.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.