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Colorado Drug Laws Update: End of 2022 Edition
/ 31 October, 2022

During the summer months, the state of Colorado is full of fun things to do. From concerts and shopping to partying all hours of the day and night with friends, there’s no question that this is a fun place to live.

In many cases, these fun events result in the use of alcohol and other substances. Sometimes, both legal and illegal substances are present.

Regarding drug laws, Colorado is one of the most lenient states in the country. After all, marijuana is legal here. However, if you happen to violate one of the drug laws, it can result in serious consequences. Due to the impact a drug conviction can have on your life, it’s important to know exactly what the laws are.

If you are convicted of a drug crime, it can impact your family, job, and income. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, we are ready to help you fight the charges you are facing. We can help build a solid defense for the charges you are facing.

Colorado’s Latest Marijuana Laws

The state of Colorado legalized the use of recreational marijuana in 2012. The state has also legalized medical marijuana; however, you must have a residential identification card, which can be acquired at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

If you want to purchase this substance or consume marijuana, it is required that you must be 21 years old or more. If someone provides retail marijuana to someone under this age, it is charged as a felony.

If you are 21 years old, you can legally purchase one ounce of marijuana at a time from a licensed retail store. You have the right to possess as much as two ounces of this substance at a time in the state, too.

You should note that you must consume your marijuana in designated locations. These include:

  • Lodging: An example would be a hotel. The lodging provider can determine if marijuana can be consumed on their property.
  • Private property: This is your home. If you are a renter, you should check with your landlord before doing this. Some property owners may decide to ban the possession and use of marijuana on their property.

Just like there are places where you can consume marijuana, there are locations where it is illegal to do so. This includes federal lands like ski slopes, national forests, and national parks and public locations like amusement parks, restaurants, businesses, common areas at housing complexes, concert venues, sidewalks, and ski resorts.

It’s also possible for cities and towns in Colorado to set rules regarding marijuana consumption. Because these rules and laws can vary, it’s smart to investigate the local laws and rules before you use or consume marijuana.

Related Article: Can I Use Marijuana While on Parole or Probation in Colorado?

Understanding Colorado’s Schedule Classifications for Illegal Drugs

Just like the federal government, the government in Colorado has separated different types of controlled substances (drugs) into schedules. The schedules are categories created that highlight how likely a drug is to be abused. Drugs in Colorado are separated into the following schedules:

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs include peyote, heroin, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), PCP, and LSD. These are drugs that are likely to be abused and that don’t have any proven medical use.

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs in Colorado include methamphetamines, opium, hydrocodone, oxycodone, cocaine, fentanyl, and other drugs with a high likelihood of abuse. However, these drugs also have a proven medical use. If someone abuses these drugs, it can have significant psychological and physical consequences.

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs include ketamine, anabolic steroids, barbiturates, and other drugs that have a lower possibility of abuse than Schedule I and II drugs. However, it can still result in higher levels of dependence.

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs include sleep medications like zolpidem, anti-anxiety medications like diazepam, and other drugs with a set medical use and a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs.

Schedule V

A Schedule V drug includes over-the-counter medications and certain cough syrups that have a small amount of codeine. These types of drugs have a low potential for abuse and accepted medical use.

A recent law, HB19-1263, changed possession laws related to small amounts of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs from a felony to just a misdemeanor. However, even with misdemeanor charges, you will face serious penalties like fines, probation, and jail time. These can impact your ability to access housing and employment opportunities.

Related Article:Most Common Drug Arrest in Denver

Colorado Drug Penalties Explained

The penalties for Colorado drug crimes vary based on the substances involved, your age, and your actions (for example, distribution or possession).


Marijuana is legal in Colorado; however, driving while high is not legal. It is fine to transport marijuana in your vehicle if you keep it in a sealed container, but you can’t drive across state lines or bring it with you to Denver International Airport.

It is illegal to drive after consuming marijuana, and if caught, you will face DUI charges. Based on state law, the impairment level for marijuana is five nanograms per milliliter of blood.

If you are caught with more than the legal amount of THC in your system while you are driving, you will likely face DUI charges. However, getting a DUI charge with lower amounts of THC in your system is possible if it has impacted your driving ability.

According to the government in Colorado, using 10 mg or more of THC can result in impairment. It’s best to wait a minimum of six hours after you smoke up to 35 mg of THC before driving. For edibles, the waiting time is eight hours for up to 18 mg of THC.

Other Drug Penalties in Colorado

If you possess a controlled substance, the penalties you face depend on the drug you are caught with. For example, if you are caught with under four grams of a schedule I or II controlled substance, it is charged as a level 1 drug misdemeanor until your fourth offense. At this point, the charge is elevated to a level 4 drug felony.

The penalties for a level 1 drug misdemeanor charge include fines of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. After getting out of jail, you can have two additional years of probation for your first two convictions. If you have a third or subsequent offense, then you will face jail time of up to 364 days.

If you are caught selling drugs, the potential penalties are more severe than just possessing them. If you give marijuana to a person under 21, you will face felony charges, which carry penalties of up to $1 million in fines and 32 years in prison.

Related Article: How To Beat A Drug Trafficking Charge In Colorado

Contact an Attorney for Help with Colorado Drug Charges

You can face significant penalties if you are caught with drugs in Colorado. To help protect yourself and your freedom, get in touch with a Colorado criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. Our legal team will help you build a solid defense to help you overcome the charges you face.

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3 Types of Drug Charges in Denver

‘Drug Dealer’ Learns Why You Don’t Call Cops When Someone Steals Your Cocaine

Denver DWAI: Fast Facts
/ 27 October, 2022

In Denver, it’s possible to be charged with a DWAI, which stands for driving while ability impaired. This occurs when you operate a vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over 0.05% but under 0.08%. 

If you are charged with a first-time DWAI in Denver, it’s a misdemeanor, and the consequences for this include the possibility of two days to 180 days in jail, fines ranging from $200 to $500, eight DMV points, and 24 to 48 hours of community service. A Denver DWAI lawyer from the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, can further explain subsequent charges and the penalties they bring. 

DWAI-first charges alone won’t result in your license being suspended (this is different from DUI per se charges in Denver). 

Our DWAI law firm can defend your situation if you find yourself in this situation and can provide you with the same quality, professional defense. 

Denver DWAI Defined 

Based on Colorado Revised Statutes, if you drive while your ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs, even in “the slightest degree,” it results in DWAI charges. The state’s DWAI law means you are less able physically or mentally (or both) to operate your vehicle safely. 

Usually, your driving ability is considered impaired in Colorado if your BAC is over .05% but under the legal limit in the state of .08%, which would result in a DUI per se charge.


DWAI charges are considered less serious than DUI charges in Denver (and all of Colorado). DUIs are usually charged if your BAC is a minimum of .08% or more. Typically, DWAI charges are reserved for cases where your BAC is above .05% and under .08%. 

Receiving a first-time DWAI conviction won’t result in your driver’s license being suspended automatically like what happens if you are convicted of a DUI conviction. Also, the community service requirements and fines for a DUI Denver conviction are twice what you receive for a DWAI conviction. 

Proving DWAI in Court 

It’s up to the prosecutor to show you were impaired while driving to get a DWAI conviction. 

Unlike with a Denver DUI, no BAC level makes you guilty of DWAI automatically. There must be actual impairment to prove a DWAI charge. If your BAC was under .08% and your driving wasn’t impaired (in any way), it means you aren’t guilty of DWAI. 

However, if you have a BAC of more than .05% and under .08%, it provides strong evidence that you were driving while impaired. This can be proven by the results of a blood or breath test. 

When you are pulled over, you may be tempted to refuse the chemical test to avoid getting this result. However, it’s important to note that there are serious penalties if you refuse a DUI test in Denver. These penalties include:

  • The automatic suspension of driving privileges in the state
  • Significant fines and potential jail time

In some situations, the prosecution can state that since you refused the test, you were likely guilty of DWAI. 

Potential Penalties for DWAI Conviction in Denver 

The “number” of the offense will include any past convictions for DWAI and DUI in any United States territory or state. The consequences you will face for being convicted of a Colorado DWAI may include the following:

First Offense

  • Two days up to 180 days in jail
  • Fines of $200 up to $500
  • Eight points added to your driving record
  • Between 24 and 48 hours of community service

Second Offense

  • 10-days to one year in jail (for a second offense, 10 days is the minimum mandatory sentence)
  • Fines of $600 to $1,500
  • Eight points added to your driving record
  • Between 48 and 120 hours of community service
  • Two-year driver’s license revocation

Felony DWAI

If you have three or more prior convictions of vehicular assault, DUI, DUI per se, vehicular homicide, or DWAI, then additional DWAI charges are a class 4 felony. 

The potential consequences of a felony DUI conviction in Denver include the following:

  • Two to six years in a Colorado state prison
  • Fines of $2,000 to $500,000
  • Two-year driver’s license suspension
  • Mandatory three years of parole

Fighting DWAI Charges 

We recommended contacting our attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, as soon as you can after being charged with a DWAI. We have several options for defending you against these charges. While each case is unique and the defense strategy will vary, some common defenses include:

  • The officer had no probable cause to stop you
  • Your BAC was under 0.5% when you were driving
  • You were not arrested properly or lawfully
  • Your driving wasn’t impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • The arresting officer suspected you of DWAI due to your medical marijuana I.D. card
  • The arresting officer did not read you your rights
  • The breath or blood test was not administered based on the regulations in the state

What to Do When Pulled Over by a Law Enforcement Officer

If you are pulled over, and the officer believes that you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it’s important to know your rights. You should ensure you never provide the officer with any type of “legal leverage” against you. 

Remember, a police officer must have probable cause to stop you. If there is no probable cause, this can be used as part of your defense strategy. 

Your Rights During a Traffic Stop (and if You Are Suspected of Driving While Impaired)

You have rights during any traffic stop. These include:

  • You are not required to tell the officer what you have consumed. This includes drugs, alcohol, medicine, or food. 
  • You don’t have to tell the officer when the last time was that you consumed drugs or alcohol. 
  • You don’t have to tell the officer the last time that you drove if you are sitting in a vehicle when they are talking to you. 
  • You can refuse to take a field sobriety test. 

You Have the Right to Remain Silent 

It can feel scary and awkward not to answer the questions the police ask you. However, the prosecution can use anything you say to prove you are guilty. When the police are asking you questions, stay calm and be polite when you tell them you decline to answer their questions. 

Some additional tips to keep in mind in this situation include:

  • Never admit to using any type or combination of drugs and alcohol, which includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Don’t admit to when you last had a drink, even if it was more than 24 hours ago. 
  • Never provide information to the police that can be used against you. 
  • If you are charged with DWAI, contact the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, immediately. 

Remember, even if the police are nice and seem conversational, they aren’t on your side. They can also legally lie to you to get you to admit to something. The police are trying to gather information to prove you are guilty. Don’t give it to them by remaining silent. 

Denver DWAI FAQs

What is the difference between a DUI and DWAI in Denver?

The main difference between a DUI and DWAI is your blood alcohol level. DWAI charges apply when your BAC is at least 0.05% but under 0.08%. You are charged with a DUI if your BAC is 0.08 or higher. While both of these crimes carry significant penalties if you are convicted, a DUI conviction is more serious and has more serious consequences. 

A DUI conviction will result in 12 points against your driver’s license, fines of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, license suspension, and community service. After your first offense, the penalties for DUI become even more severe. 

If you are facing DUI charges, you need to have a strong defense and attorney on your side. Our legal team has proven results establishing “reasonable doubt” and poking holes in the evidence presented by the prosecution. An example of this is questioning how accurate the BAC reading was, which can result in a reduced charge (in some situations). 

Is DWAI a criminal charge in Denver?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that DWAI is a criminal charge and can impact your life and future in many ways. Therefore, you should take DWAI charges as seriously as you do DUI charges. Even though the penalties are not as severe as DUI charges, they are still significant. 

You can face legal penalties, which include community service, jail time, and fines. Also, DWAI will go on your criminal record, which may impact many of your rights and future employment. Any type of criminal charge is serious and requires the help of an experienced and reputable attorney. 

Are you required to take a field sobriety test?

If you were stopped because an officer suspected DWAI, you don’t have to consent to any field sobriety test. Until the officer puts you under arrest, you don’t have a legal obligation to provide any information to officers. After being arrested, if you fail to consent to a chemical test, it can result in serious legal penalties. 

The officer must have a reason to place you under arrest. If you don’t provide information to them, it is difficult to justify being arrested. For example, if you are stopped after you consume a single beer, you don’t have to tell the officer what you have consumed, nor do you have to consent to a field test. 

Can you be charged with drunk driving if you are buzzed, not drunk?

In Colorado, it is possible to receive a DWAI charge if you are “buzzed.” A BAC of 0.05% puts you in the range of receiving this. If you are found to have a BAC of .02%, it is a Class A traffic infraction. Remember, there is no safe amount of alcohol to have in your system when you are behind the wheel. 

Don’t Wait to Our Legal Team for Help with Your DWAI Charges 

If you have been charged with DWAI in Denver, contact our legal team at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC. Our legal team can handle all types of DWAI cases and can help you develop a solid defense and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Remember, these charges can significantly impact your life if you are convicted. Our legal team will be your advocate in these situations. Contact us today.

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Holiday Drunk Driving Statistics

DUI Penalties for Drivers Under Age 21 

Holiday Drunk Driving Statistics
/ 05 October, 2022

Every year in the United States, drunk driving accidents result in the deaths of over 10,000 individuals. Around holidays, when social binge drinking happens more frequently, your chances of being engaged in an alcohol-related crash rise. All drunk driving fatalities are avoidable, and tragically, holiday-related fatalities have started to become uncannily predictable.

It is in your best interest to speak with an expert drunk driving attorney to learn about your legal options if you or someone you love was hurt in a drunk driving accident or if a loved one died as a result of injuries sustained in a tragic drunk driving accident.

We have gathered the most compelling holiday drunk driving statistics from throughout the nation, mostly collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (also known as NHTSA), to better understand the trends associated with holiday drinking and driving. We will also explore some DUI and DWAI Colorado-specific statistics as well.

The Current State of Holiday Drunk Driving in the United States

Every day, drunk driving is a concern on our country’s highways, but the holidays are when it happens most frequently. 2018’s New Year’s and Christmas holidays saw 285 fatalities due to drunk driving. All of these fatalities might have been avoided. 10,511 persons lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in 2018, which is about one-third of all collision deaths. The sorrow of these losses is felt all year long, but for many people, the holidays are when it is felt most keenly.

According to the National Safety Council (or NSC), one of the major road safety concerns in the United States is drunk driving. According to the organization’s research, the number of fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired driving rose to 11,654 in 2020, up from 10,196 in 2019, a 14.3% rise, and the highest number since 2009. At least one motorist or motorcycle operator in a drunk auto accident had a blood alcohol content (or BAC) of 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.

The Law Surrounding Drunk and Intoxicated Driving

Drug-impaired driving is considered illegal in all fifty states, much like drunk driving. In 2017, positive drug tests came back for 45% of the drivers who died in fatal collisions. Drugged driving is dangerous for drivers, passengers, and other road users regardless of how the substance was obtained.

According to Colorado law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated, high, or when one’s judgment is otherwise compromised. Although DUI or DWAI can be established in other ways, blood tests and breathalyzers are frequently used in the enforcement of drunk driving legislation. A defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle was likely affected by alcohol if their blood alcohol content was more than 0.05 but less than 0.08 at the time of the alleged offense or within a reasonable period of time afterward. A defendant may be presumed to have been drunk if their blood alcohol content is 0.08 or above.

The reduction in alcohol-related fatalities on American roadways is the result of a number of initiatives, including minimum drinking age regulations and high visibility policing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 1975 to 2017, the implementation of minimum drinking age rules prevented more than 31,000 fatalities.

Preventing Drunk or Intoxicated Driving During the Holidays

Make wise decisions and prepare a safe return route home after the celebration if you have a holiday gathering on the agenda. Make a pledge to be sober at all times if you’re the designated driver to protect your friends and yourself. If you encounter a drunk driver on the road, call your local police department right away. The life of the driver, the passenger, and other people on the road might be saved by doing this. The greatest present you could ever offer a buddy who is ready to drive while intoxicated is to take away their keys and assist them in making plans to get home safely.

Since the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the NHTSA has seen that drivers are choosing riskier actions when operating a vehicle, such as driving after intoxication. Make it a goal to always drive sober when the year comes to an end and a new one begins, or around any holiday when drinking may be encouraged.

How Does Colorado Look in the Context of Holiday Drunk Driving?

Some occasions, like New Year’s Eve, may be associated with excessive drinking and partying around the United States. However, according to collision investigation data gathered by the Colorado State Patrol between 2019 and 2021, Labor Day was the most hazardous holiday for injury and mortality automobile wrecks brought on by drunk drivers in Colorado. Through early October, the number of DUI arrests remains largely constant. The Colorado State Patrol detained 4,665 drunk drivers in 2021, with more than 35% of those incidents taking place in the four months from May to August.

The “Stay in Your Lane” year-long campaign by Colorado State Troopers continues its low-tolerance policy toward lane violators. This campaign is intended to serve as a reminder to drivers to adjust their lane position to the conditions of the road. Additionally, it seeks to spread awareness of three of the most prevalent and preventable actions that result in car accidents or traffic citations: hostile driving, driving without paying attention, and drunk driving.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving around the holidays or have been negatively affected by a drunk driving accident, it is absolutely vital to seek out the best DUI law firm Denver has to offer. Denver, CO DUI lawyers can better assess your case and help you get the best possible results.

Trust a Denver Drunk Driving Lawyer to Represent You From The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC

Are you in need of Denver, CO DUI lawyers that have the experience and nuance to fight for your DWAI Colorado case? The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC is the ideal DUI law firm Denver has to offer for your unique case.

The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC is a highly regarded Denver DUI law practice with national recognition. By utilizing our aggressive litigation approach and putting our considerable experience in all facets of DUI defense to use, we have established a solid reputation as unyielding, successful Denver DUI attorneys. With more than ten years of expertise and a thorough understanding of Colorado DUI laws, Denver drunk driving lawyer Steven J. Pisani can help you get the best result for your drunk driving accusation.

Don’t delay if you have been accused of DUI; time is of the essence. Our staff at The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC has assisted many people facing DUI accusations. Protect yourself and your future with the aid of our DUI attorneys in Denver. To schedule an initial consultation, contact our company by phone at (303) 529-2825 or online via our contact form. We’ll fight to get your case dropped or to get the damages you deserve after being involved in a drunk driving car accident.

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