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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains: Denver’s Drug Laws
/ 27 July, 2022

If you are in Denver and are charged with a drug crime, it is crucial to have a competent Denver drug crime lawyer help you navigate the corridors of justice. The laws governing drug crimes in Denver can be complicated and vary based on the type of drug involved.

Whatever drug crime you are accused of, you need to understand how the Denver drug laws operate and what you can do to get out of trouble. This article will discuss some of the key aspects of Denver’s drug laws.

Denver Drug Schedules – The Basics

According to Colorado state law, controlled substances are divided into five “schedules” depending on the drug’s potential for misuse. They include:

Schedule I Drugs

This category is reserved for the most dangerous drugs with a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use, such as PCP, magic mushrooms, heroin, and LSD.

Contact a Denver drug crime lawyer if you are ever accused of a criminal charge involving these drugs.

Schedule II Drugs

Unlike Schedule I drugs, some Schedule II drugs are used across the state for medicinal purposes. These potent medications, however, pose a high risk of addiction. As a result, the state prohibits the recreational use of narcotics as well as their uncontrolled manufacture and distribution. Examples include opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamines.

Any use of such drugs outside a medical expert’s prescription is illegal and may be termed a misdemeanor.

Schedule III Drugs

This class of drugs offers medicinal benefits without the heightened risk of dependency. This means that they are entirely free of addictive elements. Codeine, anabolic steroids, ketamine, and barbiturates are some of the drugs that fall in this category.

Schedule IV Drugs

The drugs in this level have a low potential for abuse and dependency compared to Schedule III drugs but still pose some risk. You can even get them as prescription pills at various drug stores. Such drugs include Valium and Ambien.

Schedule V Drugs

These drugs are the least addictive on this list. They are great for medicinal use, and you can often buy them as prescription drugs over the counter. For instance, your cold meds fall into this category. If you are accused of abusing prescription drugs, your penalty will be much less severe as compared to the other drugs on the list.

What Substances Are Legal in Denver?

In Denver, as in the rest of Colorado, the possession and use of marijuana is legal for adults over the age of 21. You can purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries, and there are also several private clubs where members can consume marijuana on site.

However, it is important to note that consuming cannabis in public places is still illegal, and you can only possess a small amount of marijuana at any given time.

In addition to marijuana, alcohol is also legal in Denver. You can purchase beer, wine, and liquor from various retailers, and there are no restrictions on consumption in public places. However, it is worth noting that Denver has a higher than average number of DUI arrests. It is always important drink responsibly!

Tobacco products are also legal in Denver. However, several regulations are in place regarding their sale and use. For example, you must be over the age of 21 to purchase tobacco products, and smoking is prohibited in many public places.

Denver has also decriminalized possession of small amounts of other drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms and MDMA. While these substances are still technically illegal, possession is punishable only by a fine, and there is no risk of jail time. This change in the law reflects a growing acceptance of drug use in the city.

Drugs Crimes In Denver

Drug crimes in Denver fall into various categories. Drug possession, drug use, and drug manufacturing are the main categories when it comes to drug crimes in Denver.

Drug Possession

You can either be accused of true possession, constructive, or joint possession of drugs in Denver. For instance, if the police find you in physical possession of marijuana, that will be classified as true possession.

Constructive possession, on the other hand, will come into play if you control the drugs. For instance, if you are a drug supplier or act as a middleman between the buyer and seller, your offense will fall into that category.

Lastly, if you own drugs in collaboration with other people, then it is a joint possession. This means that whatever legal action is taken against you and your co-owners will be based on shared drugs.

Depending on what drugs you have or the amount you have, drug possession can either be a felony or a misdemeanor. Penalties can range from a few years in prison to life imprisonment.

Drug Use

In general, drug use in Colorado is a class 2 misdemeanor that will stay on your records forever. Well, unless, of course, you seek an expungement. You can be arraigned in court if you are found using and abusing any of the controlled drugs in the state. The weight of your case will vary depending on the drug you abused.

You may also be charged with wrongful use of marijuana. For instance, if you are not of age, that could count as a misdemeanor. The same applies to when you use marijuana in public.

Colorado law does allow for the use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances. To be eligible for a medical marijuana card, patients must have a qualifying condition such as cancer, glaucoma, or HIV/AIDS. 

They must also obtain a recommendation from a licensed physician. Once approved for a card, patients are allowed to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana per month from a state-licensed dispensary. 

Manufacturing or Selling Drugs

Just like the other drug crimes, manufacturing or selling drugs can either be a felony or a misdemeanor. As such, this crime may attract different penalties depending on factors such as the type of drug you were manufacturing, the amount involved, and your criminal record.

Judges may be slightly more lenient towards first-time offenders as opposed to drug peddlers with a record of the same crime.

The law may also be a bit softer if you are peddling marijuana compared to other controlled drugs.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Offenses in Denver, Colorado?

The penalties for drug offenses in Denver, Colorado, depend on the type and amount of drug involved and the offender’s prior criminal history.

Possession of any controlled substance is a felony, and manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances is also a felony and can result in up to 32 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Hang on; there’s more.

Sales of controlled substances are also felonies, carrying a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. Anyone convicted of a drug offense will also have their driver’s license suspended for at least one year.

In addition, all drug offenses are subject to asset forfeiture, meaning that the government can seize any property used to facilitate the crime.

The bottom line is that the penalties for drug offenses in Denver are severe, and anyone charged with a drug offense should consult an experienced Denver drug crime lawyer as soon as possible.

What Are Some Possible Defenses to Drug Charges in Denver?

Depending on the facts of the case, there are several possible defenses to drug charges that a good Denver drug crime lawyer can help you build. They include;

1. Lack of Knowledge

Lack of knowledge means that the defendant did not know that the substance was drugs or that they thought it was something else.

For example, if the defendant was given a pill by someone else and told it was a vitamin, they could not be charged with drug possession if it is later revealed to be MDMA.

In these cases, the lack of knowledge defense can be used to get the charges dropped or reduced. Ultimately, whether or not this defense is successful will depend on the case’s specific facts.

2. Lack of Control

In Denver, as in all jurisdictions, if the accused can prove they did not have control of the drugs, they have a valid defense. This is typically accomplished by showing that someone else planted drugs or that the accused was unaware of their presence.

For example, suppose you are charged with drug possession after police find drugs in your car. In this case, you may be able to avoid conviction by proving that the drugs belonged to your passengers and that you were unaware of their presence.

3. Self-defense

This defense may be available if the accused can show that they only possessed the drugs because they were trying to protect themselves from harm.

For example, if someone was being threatened by a dealer and agreed to hold onto their drugs to stay safe, self-defense could be a valid defense. Another situation where self-defense might apply is if someone was forced to participate in a drug deal against their will.

This can be difficult to prove, but it may be possible to argue self-defense in some cases successfully.

4. Necessity

This defense applies when the accused person can show that they committed the crime to prevent more significant harm from occurring.

For example, suppose someone is charged with possessing methamphetamine, they may be able to argue that they were using the drug to self-medicate for a mental health condition and that there were no other options.

While this defense is not always successful, it can sometimes be used to convince a judge or jury to find a person not guilty of drug possession.

Hire A Denver Drug Crime Lawyer Today!

If you are charged with a drug offense in Denver, the best thing you can do is to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A competent criminal defense attorney should be able to examine the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Contact the experienced Denver drug crime lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC now for a free consultation if you have been charged with a drug offense in Denver. With us on your side, you have a considerably better chance of a good outcome in your case. We believe in safeguarding your interests! So call us today and let us assist you!

Can I Be Arrested for Pot in Colorado?
/ 20 July, 2022

In the state of Colorado, marijuana is legal. While this is true, the quantity you are legally allowed to possess, and what you can sell and cultivate are highly regulated.

If you are arrested for the possession of marijuana in Colorado, you have rights. To protect your rights, it’s smart to get in touch with a drug arrest lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani. You can also learn more about the laws in Colorado related to marijuana here.

Drug Classifications of Marijuana in Colorado

The FDA released a classification system for controlled substances in 1970. This system organized different drugs based on their level of abuse and addiction. Every state, including Colorado, has used this categorization of drugs to help with the development of penalties and sentencing for various drug offenses.

Under this system, marijuana is a Schedule I drug. Some scientists have contested that it should not even be on this level for several years, since it is in the same category as ecstasy and LSD, under the claim that the research opportunities are too restricted. Even with compelling arguments, the DEA refused to change the drug’s scheduling in 2016.

What Is a Schedule I Drug?

A drug that is classified as a Schedule I drug is one that’s considered to be more likely to be abused. They can be used for medical reasons if a doctor prescribes them. If a user does become addicted to a Schedule I drug, then they may develop acute physical and psychological dependencies. Marijuana, cocaine, morphine, hydrocodone, methamphetamines, methadone, Codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are all listed under this classification.

Understanding Colorado’s Laws on the Unlawful Possession, Cultivation, and Sale of Marijuana

Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, there are laws in place related to the possession, cultivation, and sale of it.

Colorado Possession Laws

While smoking marijuana in Colorado is legal, regulations are still in place regarding how much you can possess. The penalties for breaking these laws vary based on the amount you possess.

If you have over two ounces and up to six ounces of marijuana (or three or fewer ounces of marijuana concentrate), it is considered a level 2 drug misdemeanor. If convicted, the crime is punished with three to 12 months in jail and fines of $250 up to $1,000.

If you have over six ounces of marijuana (or three or more ounces of concentrate), it is considered a level 1 drug misdemeanor. If convicted, the crime is punished with six to 18 months in jail and fines of $500 up to $5,000.

The Dispensing, Transfer, or Sale of Illegal Amounts of Marijuana

In Colorado, there are certain actions related to marijuana that are prohibited. If you are caught doing any of these, different sentences apply. The things that are prohibited include the sale, the transfer, or the dispensing of:

  • Over 2.5 pounds total of marijuana or one pound or more of marijuana concentrate to any minor if the individual is an adult and two years older than the minor.
  • Over one ounce but six ounces or less of marijuana or over one-half ounce but three or fewer) ounces of marijuana concentrate to any minor (an individual under 18) if the individual is an adult and two years older than the minor.
  • One ounce (no more) of marijuana or one-half ounce (no more) of concentrate to any minor (an individual under 18) if the individual is an adult and at least two years older than the minor.

In Colorado, the sale of marijuana to minors has become a huge issue. If you are found committing this crime, you will face severe consequences.

Marijuana-Related Penalties in Colorado

In the state of Colorado, the dispensing, transfer, and sale of marijuana is still considered illegal even though there are legalization laws in place. The following amounts of marijuana are not allowed to be sold or distributed in the state:

  • Over one ounce but under two ounces: Comes with fines of up to $100.
  • Under two ounces: Considered a class two petty offense and carries a punishment of up to 15 days in jail and fines of up to $100.
  • Two ounces to five pounds to minors (15 to 18): Considered a class 4 felony and carries a punishment of two to six years in jail and fines of $2,000 up to $500,000.
  • Over five pounds to minors (15 to 18): Considered a class 3 felony and carries a punishment of four to 12 years in jail and a fine of $3,000 up to $750,000.

Protect Your Legal Rights

If you have been arrested in Colorado for a marijuana-related case, you have rights. You can reach out to our drug arrest lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani. We will work to help protect your rights in these cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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What Is a Level 1 Drug Felony in Colorado?

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What Is a Level 1 Drug Felony in Colorado?
/ 11 July, 2022

A level 1 drug felony in Colorado is a crime that (if convicted) comes with prison time of eight to 32 years and fines of $5,000 up to $1 million. If aggravating circumstances are present in the case, then the minimum prison sentence is 12 years. Additionally, if convicted of this crime, then it can never be sealed from your criminal record.

Keep reading to learn more about this drug charge, your rights, and why you should get in touch with our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani for help building a viable defense.

What Is a Level 1 Drug Felony?

A level 1 drug felony is considered the most serious criminal charge when it comes to drug felonies. This type of crime carries a much harsher and more serious punishment than level two, three, and four drug felonies in the state.

What Type of Sentence Will You Face for a Level 1 Drug Felony in the State of Colorado?

The range of penalties for a level 1 drug felony in the state of Colorado is between eight and 32 years in prison. You will also face between $5,000 and $1 million in fines. There’s also a $4,500 surcharge and a three-year period of parole, which are both mandatory.

As mentioned above, if there are aggravating factors involved in the case, then the minimum prison sentence will be 12 years. Cases of aggravated level 1 drug felonies occur when the individual was:

  • In confinement for a felony
  • On parole
  • An escape from confinement for some felony
  • On bond or probation for a different felony

Common Examples of Level 1 Drug Felonies

Some of the most common crimes that occur that result in a person being charged with a level 1 drug felony in Colorado include:

  • The sale of controlled substances including over 225 grams of schedule I or II drugs or over 112 grams of cathinone, ketamine, heroine, or methamphetamine; or over 50 milligrams of flunitrazepam.
  • Selling marijuana if the total amount is over 50 pounds or there are more than 25 pounds of marijuana concentrate.
  • The sale of marijuana to a minor when there are over 2.5 pounds of the substance or over one pound of marijuana concentrate. Also, the adult must be two or more years older than the minor being sold to.

Is It Possible to Have a Level 1 Drug Felony Sealed from Your Record?

It is possible for a level 1 drug felony conviction in Colorado to be sealed after a period of five years has passed from when it closed. However, if the charge is dismissed, there’s no waiting period to request having your record sealed.

Can You Have a Trial When Facing a Level 1 Drug Felony?

If you are arrested and charged with a level 1 drug felony in Colorado, you can have a jury trial that includes twelve jurors or a bench trial. If a jury trial is had, then you can request a smaller jury if needed, but there has to be a minimum of six jurors.

What Happens if You Are Not a U.S. Citizen?

A non-citizen who is convicted of a level 1 drug felony in Colorado will face deportation from the United States after they have completed their prison citizen. This is why it is so important for non-citizens who are facing drug crimes to get in touch with a lawyer to help fight these charges. Our legal team can help in these situations to ensure you have the best possible representation and defense in these cases.

Is There a Statute of Limitations to File Criminal Charges?

Prosecutors in Colorado have three years to file a level 1 drug felony against someone after the offense takes place. If the defendant is not in the state, then the statute of limitations can be paused for up to five years.

Get in Touch with Our Legal Team for Help with Your Colorado Drug Charges

If you are facing level 1 drug felony charges, or any drug charges, in the state of Colorado, our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani is here to help. We can review the charges and evidence against you and work to help you build a solid defense. Our team is here to help with your situation. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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