There’s a big difference between prescription drugs and illicit drugs. Most importantly, as long as you use prescription drugs as intended, there’s no concern about running into trouble with the law.
However, there are times when prescription drug use can result in criminal charges. And if that happens, you could soon find yourself facing a variety of consequences such as prison time, a fine, and/or community service.
In Colorado, there are five “schedules” of controlled substances varying by the drug’s potential for abuse.
Many prescription drugs fit into Schedule II, with this passage from our website explaining more:
These drugs have high abuse potential but acceptable medical use. If a person abuses these drugs, they can experience severe physical and psychological dependence. Examples include opium and prescription-based opioid pain tabs like oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. Schedule II drugs also include stimulants such as methamphetamines and cocaine.
So, while you’re permitted by law to use these prescription drugs, you must do so as prescribed by your medical professional.
It doesn’t matter where you live in Colorado, you could be charged with one or more of the following crimes should you violate the law:
For example, if you’re prescribed prescription-based opioid pain tabs, they’re for your use only. You are not permitted to sell or distribute them to other individuals.
Even though the drug laws in Colorado are among the most lenient in the United States — as they favor treatment over incarceration — this shouldn’t invite you to take a risk.
Minor infractions, such as possession of a small amount of a Schedule V drug, almost always result in a misdemeanor.
However, if your case involves a more serious drug, such as Schedule II opioid pain medication, you could face felony charges with much more serious consequences.
Penalties for prescription drug charges in Denver range from a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail to 30+ years in prison and a fine up to $1 million.
There are five basic factors that the court system takes into consideration when determining your penalty:
Even if one or more of these factors is working against you, there are steps your legal team can take to minimize your penalties and help you get your life back on track.
In addition to a fine and/or time in jail or prison, there are other consequences of a drug conviction. These include but are not limited to:
In short, if you have a drug conviction on your record, it will show up on a simple background check. So, it’ll follow you wherever you go.
The second you’re arrested with a prescription drug-related crime is the second you should begin to think about consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Don’t assume that you’re on your own, as this is likely to result in more harm than good as your case moves through the court system.
Here are some questions to ask during your search for the perfect Denver drug defense attorney:
If you want answers to these questions, you’re in the right place. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, you can rely on our entire team during this difficult time of your life. We’re here to answer your questions, represent you in court, and minimize the impact of your charges on your future.
If you’re ready to discuss your prescription drug criminal charges, contact us online or via phone at (303) 529-1424. Our team is standing by!
Any type of drug charge has the potential to change your life forever, and that’s definitely the case with drug trafficking. In Colorado, authorities are on the lookout for drug trafficking throughout the state.
For example, the Colorado Attorney General and DEA Task Force recently wrapped up a nearly two-year-long investigation that involved 77, 000 counterfeit oxycodone pills, 60 pounds of heroin, and $931,000 in U.S. currency.
Keep in mind, even though drug trafficking is a serious criminal charge, your charges don’t necessarily have to result in a conviction. Our Denver drug charges lawyer explains possible legal defenses to help dismiss or reduce the charges against you.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to defending against drug trafficking charges in Colorado. Instead, you must consider all of the possible defense strategies available to you, including:
Your drug attorney may choose one or a combination of the above legal strategies to help you avoid a conviction in relation to your drug trafficking charges. Even if you can’t avoid a sentence, your attorney may be able to secure you a lesser penalty, such as probation instead of a prison sentence.
When combined with other approaches, such as submitting character letters, you position yourself to avoid a conviction or at the very least reduce your punishment.
Either way, make sure to consult with a skilled Denver drug defense lawyer who can determine the best route to take in your Colorado drug crime case.
Penalties associated with felony drug convictions are among the most serious. However, they vary based on many factors, including the type of crime, your criminal record, and the type(s) or drugs that were involved.
Let’s start with outlining the five schedules that define the different drug types:
Now, here are some examples of the types of drugs that fit into each schedule:
When the case involves higher level drugs such as Schedule I or II, or the offense involves manufacturing or sales, you may face felony charges. Penalties for drug trafficking can range from a fine of $1,000 and/or a six-month jail term to 32 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine. Repeat offenders are more likely to receive the harshest penalties allowed by Colorado law.
Yes, a drug trafficking charge in Colorado is a serious crime, but there are ways to beat a conviction. At the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC we have the experience and knowledge you’re looking for in a skilled drug defense lawyer.
Over a decade, we’ve successfully helped good people get through tough times involving serious drug charges including drug trafficking. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We’ll discuss your drug charges and explain the best options for moving forward.
Whether you’re sentenced on a felony offense or misdemeanor offense in Colorado, your sentence is likely to include a period of probation (supervised). Many probationers have been frustrated for many years as the probation statute is broad, and many probation officers prohibited the use of marijuana entirely.
The law previously allowed probation to impose different conditions that would help the accused lead a law-abiding life. One of the common complaints of probationers is that they were not allowed to use marijuana for medical reasons.
The good news is that Colorado’s new law allows parolees and probationers to use medical pot, weed, or marijuana. Pay attention to the word ‘medicinal’ as it means all the difference between what’s legal and illegal when it comes to marijuana use. In May 2015, Governor Hickenlooper reviewed and signed the changes to marijuana-related law into effect.
Currently, the court of probation in Adams and Jefferson counties cannot prohibit the use or possession of medical marijuana as a mandatory condition of probation or parole. This is a relief to patients who desperately need weed for medical reasons such as pain management.
If you, the defendant, violate your probation terms, you are likely to face a probation revocation proceeding. Probation can be violated in two different ways. First is the technical violation, and the second the new law violation.
Generally, technical violations stem from your failure to comply with your probation’s specific conditions. Some of these failures include missed classes, monitored sobriety, inability to pay necessary fees, and other offenses. On the other hand, new law related probation violations occur when you, the defendant, are charged with a new crime while already serving an active probation period.
The good news is that the recent changes in Colorado’s probation statute allow medical marijuana use. This doesn’t constitute a technical violation or a new offense. Thus, it can’t be the basis of the revocation of probation. If you have been threatened with a probation revocation of proceedings because of a failed UAs and you have a valid medical marijuana license, it is essential to consult with a reliable criminal lawyer.
If you were previously convicted of a marijuana-related offense, you’ll be prohibited from using it on parole or probation. Other essential things that you must remember while using medical marijuana include;
Colorado HB 1267 applies to the use and possession of medical marijuana only. As such, recreational weed users who are on parole or probation are not protected under this law. It’s important to mention that the terms of parole or probation vary from person to person, and in most cases, recreational weed use is prohibited.
Suppose you are unaware of the specific terms of your parole or probation. In that case, you could find yourself in trouble if you just assume that the new law applies in every situation involving the use of recreational or medical marijuana. Violation of parole or probation terms might lead to severe ramifications like jail time or an extended period of probation. So, consult with an experienced attorney if you still have questions about your parole or probation.
Dasha Fincher spent three months in jail after two Georgia deputies said a field test of a blue substance found in her car turned up positive for methamphetamine. But it wasn’t meth. It was cotton candy.
While in jail she missed the birth of her twin grandchildren, could not help with her daughter’s miscarriage, and was refused medical care for a broken hand and ovarian cyst.
However, the substance in her car was not methamphetamine. In fact, it was not an illegal substance at all. It was cotton candy. But despite professing her innocence repeatedly to officers, Fincher was arrested for possession and trafficking of narcotics due to an incorrect field test.
She was then forced to wait in jail until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had time to test the substance, as she could not pay her $1 million bail. When the GBI finally confirmed that the substance did not contain any narcotics, Ms. Fincher was still forced to wait almost two more weeks before she was released.
Now, she is suing Monroe County and the three officers involved for wrongful imprisonment and violation of her civil rights. Her lawsuit is also directed towards Sirchie Acquisition Company, the maker of the field kit that the deputies used to “test” the cotton candy.
Ms. Fincher hopes that her case can spark some changes within the justice system, especially in terms of drug testing and the length of time that was necessary for her release.
Hopefully, her case also changes the way in which the field test kits are used, as clearly, they are not the most reliable method for drug detection.
Generally, the field kits have a solution that changes color when certain drugs are placed inside. The problem is that dyed cotton candy or any other dyed substance can easily create a false positive. The Law Offices of Steven J Pisani specialize in DUI, traffic, and criminal defense.
If you have been accused of a drug crime, call our Denver office today for a free consultation at 303-635-6768.
CNN, Dakin Andone and AJ Willingham, November 27th, 2018
The legalization of marijuana has swept across the country recently, gaining more and more traction with each passing day. That being said, it has not come without its share of problems. One such problem is intoxicated drivers on the road.
Cannabis has not been studied as extensively as other intoxicants and a common question is how long one must wait to drive after smoking? This problem has plagued researchers for a while now, as it is much harder to determine the degree of impairment caused by Marijuana than alcohol.
An individual may have THC in her/his system, but not have her/his ability to drive affected in the slightest. Conversely, another individual may have a very minute amount of THC present in her/his system and be completely unable to drive. Luckily, researchers at the University of California San Diego are conducting a new study aimed at answering how long someone must wait to drive after smoking. Participants will be asked to smoke marijuana and complete a driving simulator, as well as take a performance assessment on an iPad that is designed to measure the individual’s memory, attention, and motor control.
Hopefully the study can lead to answers regarding how THC affects an individual’s driving abilities, as well as how long it takes one to regain her/his normal mental faculties after consuming marijuana. This could then aid police officers in determining if a driver who had consumed marijuana was actually driving while impaired.
The Law Offices of Steven J Pisani specialize in DUI, traffic, and criminal defense. Call our Denver office today for a free consultation at 303-635-6768.
Newsweek, Kashmira Gander, July 16th, 2018
Apparently, one should not call the police if her/his illegal drugs are stolen. A self-described Florida drug dealer, found this out the hard way the other day when he called 911 to report a robbery.
When the police officers showed up he told the responding deputy that someone broke into his car and took some money and about a quarter ounce of cocaine.
The deputy then looked around the car and found some crack-cocaine and a crack pipe, and the reporting party was arrested on the spot. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and resisting arrest without violence, which is inevitably going to cost him far more than just the quarter ounce of cocaine.
We specialize in Colorado Drug Defense. Call our Denver office today for a free consultation at 303-635-6768.
NY Post, Associated Press, 7/19/2017
It is rarely beneficial to be overconfident when it comes to the law and our justice system. Aaron Carter, The less-successful brother of Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter, was recorded on camera bragging that he will never get a DUI just five days before the Georgia police pulled him over and arrested him on DUI and marijuana charges. His girlfriend, Madison Parker, was in the car with him at the time and was charged with possession of marijuana and obstruction of law enforcement officers.
Maybe the has-been pop star should have knocked on wood after he made such a bold claim. Or at least gotten somebody else to drive.
The Law Offices of Steven J Pisani specialize in DUI, traffic, and criminal defense.
Call our Denver office today for a free consultation at 303-635-6768. Page Six, Linda Massarella, 7/16/2017
In a recent letter sent to and published by The Washington Post, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions elaborated upon his plan to be tougher on drugs and drug offenders. Sessions blamed the United States’ supposedly rising rate in violent crime on the Justice Department’s increasingly relaxed approach to drug offenders and offenses.
According to Sessions, drug prosecutions have decreased from 2011 to 2016 by 23 percent, while the average sentence for a convicted drug offender has decreased 18 percent from 2009 to 2016. This is what he believes is causing the “disturbing trend that could reverse decades of progress,” as violent crime is rising across the country.
This rise in violent crime has made Sessions issue a memorandum to all federal prosecutors in which he authorizes prosecutors to charge offenses “as Congress intended.” This memorandum is supposed to allow prosecutors to apply the laws fairly while still exercising discretion, yet seems like it is meant more to punish minor drug offenders and minorities.
Sessions’ misguided efforts are due to his fear of this “crime surge” being an ongoing trend in America, and apparently this policy will improve minority neighborhoods and communities that are “disproportionately impacted by violent drug trafficking.” Yet, Sessions does not seem to want to address the root cause of the oppression faced by minority communities, and is instead content attacking minor drug offenders and users who he claims are “infecting their communities.”
Jeff Sessions and his “time-tested policy” are supposed to help, but will end up punishing small-time drug users as the United States punitive policies once again become the focus of our justice system.
Steven J. Pisani is a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney, Denver DUI Lawyer and Denver Criminal Defense Attorney.
The Cannabist, Jeff Sessions, June 19, 2017