Drug possession is a crime that can have severe consequences for Colorado offenders. The penalties for drug possession depend on several factors, including the type and amount of drugs involved, the defendant’s criminal history, and the location of the offense.
In Colorado, possessing a controlled substance, such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, can lead to fines, probation, community service, and even jail time. The penalties increase as the amount of drugs involved increases. For instance, possessing less than one ounce of marijuana is considered a petty offense with a maximum fine of $100. Possessing more than 12 ounces of marijuana can result in up to 18 months in jail and a $100,000 fine.
A drug possession conviction can have serious long-term consequences besides criminal penalties. A conviction can damage a person’s reputation, making it difficult to find employment, secure housing, or obtain loans. Drug possession convictions can also affect professional licenses and immigration status.
Criminal History and Drug Possession Penalties in CO:
Colorado has legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal use; however, possessing other controlled substances is still against the law. Even with marijuana, possessing more than one ounce can result in criminal charges. It is illegal to have marijuana on federal land or transport it across state lines.
The severity of the penalties for drug possession can also depend on the defendant’s criminal history. First-time offenders may receive lighter penalties than repeat offenders. However, this does not mean that first-time offenders can avoid criminal charges entirely. Drug possession charges can still have serious legal consequences even if you have never been convicted.
Legal Defenses for Drug Possession Charges in Colorado
Possession with intent to distribute is another drug-related offense that carries severe penalties in Colorado. The intent to distribute can be inferred from the amount of drugs found in the defendant’s possession. The penalties for drug distribution can include fines, probation, and lengthy prison sentences.
It is also important to note that possessing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, public housing complex, or other designated location can result in enhanced penalties. It is known as a “drug-free zone” enhancement that can increase the severity of the penalties for drug possession.
If you have to get charged with drug possession in Colorado, it is essential to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A qualified attorney can help you understand your rights and explore your legal options. They can negotiate a plea bargain, challenge the evidence against you, or seek a reduced sentence or diversion program. With the proper legal representation, you can reduce the impact of a drug possession conviction on your life.
The Importance of Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney in Drug Possession Cases
In some cases, drug possession charges are challenged based on the legality of the search and seizure that led to the arrest. For instance, if the police obtained evidence illegally or without a warrant, a defense attorney may be able to have that evidence suppressed, which could lead to a dismissal of the charges.
Another potential legal defense to drug possession charges is the argument that the drugs did not belong to the defendant. For instance, if drugs get found in a car that the defendant was a passenger in, the defense attorney may be able to argue that the drugs belonged to someone else in the car.
Drug possession is a severe offense in Colorado, and those facing charges should take them seriously. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help defendants minimize the impact of a drug possession conviction and protect their future. With proper legal representation, it is possible.
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 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 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 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.