Colorado has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of certain drugs and made others legal. Many people mistakenly believe that means anyone caught up in a scheme involving drugs won’t face serious penalties. In fact, those found guilty of serious crimes such as drug trafficking in Colorado face very serious consequences.
You may be surprised how often large drug busts that end in drug trafficking charges occur. Here’s what you need to know about drug trafficking in Colorado, including penalties if you are found guilty. Pay special attention to mandatory minimum sentencing because it’s a real wake-up call as to what can happen if you are convicted of this serious crime.
Drug Trafficking in Colorado
It is against the law for anyone to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or sell a controlled substance knowingly in Colorado. You also cannot try to convince others to do so or conspire with others too. Additionally, it is illegal to possess the chemicals used in the manufacture of a controlled substance. Doing these things can get you accused of drug trafficking in the state.
What Is a Controlled Substance?
Controlled substances are also defined under the law as illegal drugs, either recreational or medicinal, as well as imitation or synthetic substances and certain over-the-counter medications. It’s important to note that how addictive a drug has no bearing on whether it is considered a controlled substance. Substances that are considered controlled include:
- Ecstasy, GHB, and Ketamine
- Sleep medications
- Anabolic steroids
- ADHD medications
Mandatory Prison Sentencing in Colorado
If you are found guilty of committing a drug felony, then can be subject to mandatory minimum prison sentencing in Colorado. These sentences are broken down as:
Level One Drug Felony
You can be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years for a level 1 drug felony in the state. However, the sentence can be up to 32 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines. If the crime is aggravated, then the mandatory minimum is set at 12 years in prison.
Level Two Drug Felony
If you are convicted of a level two drug felony in Colorado, then you can face up to 16 years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of four years. You may also be required to pay fines of as much as $750,000.
Level Three Drug Felony
A level three drug felony can send you to prison for up to six years with a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison. You may also have to pay fines of up to $500,000.
Level Four Drug Felony
This level of drug felony can send you to prison for as many as two years, with a minimum mandatory sentence of six months. You may also be asked to pay fines of up to $100,000.
Level One Drug Misdemeanor
A level one drug misdemeanor still has a mandatory minimum of six months in jail, but you can be sentenced up to 18 months and be responsible for fines for as much as $5,000.
Being charged with drug trafficking in Colorado is serious and can land you in prison for many years at a minimum if you are found guilty. That’s why it’s vital to understand all charges against you and mount the best defense you can.
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.