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Even in states like Colorado where some controlled substances have been legalized or decriminalized, you can still face serious charges for drug crimes if you’re found with large amounts of a controlled substance. In fact, large amounts of drugs in someone’s possession can even lead to charges of possession with the intent to distribute.

Being charged with possession with the intent to distribute means you have a quantity of drugs that leads the police to believe you may be trying to sell them. It’s vital to not only have legal counsel to help you navigate these serious charges, but to understand what these charges mean and how they can be legally proven.

Read on to find out what you need to know about Colorado’s possession with the intent to distribute charges.

Elements of Possession with Intent in Colorado

It’s a crime to possess controlled substances in Colorado, but being accused of intending to sell those substances is another issue entirely. In our state, possession with the intent to distribute is a lot like possession – it simply means they also suspect you of selling the substance illegally. In order to convict you, however, the prosecution will have to prove certain elements against you, including:

  • You possessed the substance knowingly
  • You possessed an amount large enough to sell
  • You had the intent to sell the substance

In other words, the state must prove in court that you had actual possession of the substance, which means you had direct physical control or possession of it. This includes situations such as having the drugs on your physical person, in your bag, or simply holding them.

They can also make a case against you if you had constructive possession, meaning that the drug wasn’t on you physically but instead was in a place you had access to, such as a safe.

Proving that you intended to sell the substance may be far more difficult than proving possession. That’s because unless you make a confession, the prosecution must provide evidence that you intended to sell the substance.

This is often done through the amounts you were in possession of, showing you were found with drug-selling paraphernalia such as small baggies or scales, if you had large amounts of cash, or if law enforcement witnessed people coming and going from your residence.

If you’ve been charged with possession with intent in Colorado, contact an experienced attorney as soon as you can and invoke your right to remain silent until you have a lawyer present.

How This Crime Is Charged in Colorado

Drug charges against a person will largely depend on the schedule the drug is listed on. The drug schedules are numbered I through V, with I having the most serious and addictive drugs under it with no medical use, and V having drugs with known medical uses and lower potential for abuse.

Possessing four or more grams of almost any controlled substance is a felony and a conviction can have a terrible impact on your life going forward.

The penalties for possession with intent in Colorado range from a Level I drug felony, which can result in up to 32 years in prison and fines of as much as $1 million, to a level 4 drug felony, which can result in up to 12 months in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.


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.



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