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3 Types of Drug Charges in Denver

29 June, 2022

There’s no question that Colorado is laxer when it comes to drug laws than other states. While this is true, there are still laws that must be followed.

If at any time you are arrested and charged with drug crimes in Denver, you can count on the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani to help you. We can review your charges and help ensure you receive the quality legal protections and representation that you deserve.

Basic Drug Crimes in Colorado

In Denver, there are several drug offenses that you may be arrested and charged with. These include:

1. Drug Use

In most situations, the use of a controlled substance in Denver (and the entire state of Colorado), is considered a level II misdemeanor. The one exception to this level of drug charge is if you take a prescription medication without having a valid prescription or not as prescribed. It also applies to cases of using medical marijuana or any marijuana outside of your home (or the home of someone else).

2. Drug Possession

It’s legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado if you are over the age of 21. However, most other controlled substances are illegal.

In Denver, you can be charged with three different types or levels of possession. These include:

  • True possession, which means you are physically in possession of the drugs.
  • Constructive possession, which is when you have control over the drugs.
  • Joint possession is if you share ownership or control of the drugs with someone else.

The possession of controlled substances beyond what is considered legal according to the law will result in you facing criminal charges. However, the level of the crime depends on what you have and how much of it you have.

3. Selling or Manufacturing Drugs

Selling or manufacturing drugs can be considered a misdemeanor or felony. What you are charged with is dependent on the following:

  • Your past criminal activity or charges
  • The amount you are accused of selling or making
  • The type of drug you are accused of selling or making

Understanding Drug Felonies in Denver

Usually, if you are charged with a felony related to drugs in Denver, it will be related to the manufacturing or selling of narcotics. In Colorado, you will find there are four different levels of felony drug charges. These include:

Level I Drug Felonies

This is considered the most serious drug felony that you can be charged with in Denver. This is the charge that you will face if you are caught with the following:

  • Selling over 50 pounds of marijuana
  • Selling marijuana to someone under 18 (a minor) in over 2.5 pounds if the adult is a minimum of two years older than the buyer
  • Selling a Schedule I or II drugs to a minor if the adult dealer is at least two years older than them
  • Selling a controlled substance, which includes more than 225 grams of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug, or more than 112 grams of methamphetamine, ketamine, or heroin

The penalties involved with a Level I drug felony can include fines that go up to $1 million and up to 32 jails in prison. If there are any type of aggravating factors involved in the situation, then the minimum sentence that applies to the charge is 12 years. The aggravating factors include the following:

  • Being out on bond for a different felony
  • After escaping from prison
  • Being confined for a different felony
  • Being on parole or probation for a different felony

Level II Drug-Related Felonies

The next level of felony drug charges is Level II. You will face this type of drug charge if you are caught selling over 14 grams of any Schedule I or Schedule II substance, if you sell or distribute materials that are used for manufacturing any controlled substances, or if you have materials for producing methamphetamine or amphetamine. If you’re charged with a felony in Denver, you’ll need even more staunch representation.

Let Our Legal Team Help with Your Denver Drug Charges

If you are facing drug charges in Denver, it’s important to get in touch with us at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani. We will review the facts of your case and provide you with a strong defense for the charges you are facing.

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Most Common Drug Arrest in Denver

28 January, 2022

Denver is known for many things: its 300 days of sunshine, the 16th Street Mall, and its high altitude. One thing that often surprises people is that Denver is also home to a significant number of drug arrests. 

This has become a problem because it creates an environment where people are more likely to be convicted of a crime, even if they have not committed one. It also wastes law enforcement’s time and resources when they could be focusing on other issues. 

What does this mean for those charged with a drug crime? How can a drug crime lawyer help? How can you protect yourself if you are accused of a drug crime? Read on to find out.

Common Drug Arrests in Denver

The following types of arrests for allegedly possessing common illicit substances are most common in Denver:

1. Drug Possession Arrests

It is a crime to have any degree or amount of drugs on one’s person. If an officer sees you with even a small amount, he may arrest you for possession. You may also be charged with possession if an officer sees residue in a baggie, pipe, or bong that can be tested and identified as one of these substances. 

Possession charges often come about after a stop by police. Oftentimes Denver Police Department officers will get calls from concerned citizens about individuals suspected of trespassing or loitering in a park or other public place at night. If a suspect is approached by officers and appears nervous, the officer may order a search of their belongings.

2. Possession with Intent To Distribute or Sell

In addition to possessing drugs, an individual may be charged with this offense if they are found with what the police believe to be evidence of an intent to sell or distribute. 

These charges often come from leaving paraphernalia such as baggies, scales, pipes, etc., out in the open and visible and/or if there are large amounts of money present. These types of arrests can result from investigations that last for days and involve many undercover purchases by police officers.

3. Paraphernalia Possession Arrests

This type of drug arrest involves any individual caught using or possessing drug paraphernalia. The definition of drug paraphernalia is broad and may include any items related to the ingestion or storage of an illegal substance. 

If an officer believes that you have items used to ingest, plant, cultivate or store marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or psychedelic mushrooms, he may charge you with this offense even if there are no drugs on your person.

How Can a Drug Crime Lawyer Help You?

Knowledgeable legal advice is critical to ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the criminal justice process. At this time, you might be wondering how a drug crime lawyer could help your situation. The following list provides nine ways that a drug crime lawyer can assist you:

  • A knowledgeable attorney will thoroughly review the evidence against you to identify potential defects that may help you avoid prosecution or win at trial if charges are filed.  
  • An attorney will attempt to negotiate a plea agreement on your behalf. If such an agreement cannot be reached, the attorney will represent you at trial and build a defense using all available evidence. 
  • A drug crime lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected by advocating for a speedy trial or conducting discovery requests to gain access to valuable information in possession of the prosecution team.
  • Your lawyer may be able to have certain evidence or statements suppressed if it is determined that they were not properly obtained by authorities according to legal mandates and procedures. 
  • A drug crime lawyer can negotiate for more lenient punishment if there is enough evidence against you to establish guilt, but your cooperation in ongoing investigations would warrant it.

Pisani Law Can Help You Today

When you’re facing an uphill battle against some of the toughest laws in this country, make sure to get an experienced Denver drug crime lawyer on your team who knows what they’re doing and will use their experience and knowledge to work in your favor. If you want the best possible chance of keeping your record clean, then look no further than Pisani Law. 

We have been fighting for our clients at every turn from our office in Denver. In that time, we’ve garnered a reputation as one of the premier drug crime law firms operating today. Not only will you receive unmatched representation when you choose us, but you’ll also benefit from our collective experience.

Don’t just take our word for it, though. Get a taste of first-hand experience by visiting us online or giving us a call today!


Prescription Drugs and Drug Charges in Denver

20 September, 2021

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.

Prescription Drug-Related Crimes

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:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug possession
  • Drug distribution
  • Intent to distribute

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. 

What are the Penalties for a Drug Charge in Denver?

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. 

How are Drug Penalties Determined?

There are five basic factors that the court system takes into consideration when determining your penalty:

  • The schedule of the drug (Schedule I is the most serious)
  • The quantity of drugs involved in your case
  • Your criminal history, such as if you’ve been convicted of a drug-related offense in the past
  • Whether you’re on probation or parole
  • How you were using the substance, such as for personal use, selling, or trafficking

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. 

The Consequences of a Drug Conviction

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:

  • Loss of employment and inability to secure employment
  • Damage to your personal relationships
  • Revocation of your driver’s license
  • Negative effect on your ability to secure a loan, such as for a car or home
  • Negative effect on your ability to rent

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. 

Questions for a Denver Drug Defense Attorney

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:

  • How much experience do you have with my type of case?
  • Can you explain the possible consequences of a conviction?
  • Is it possible to have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor?
  • Is there any way to keep a conviction off my criminal record?

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! 


How To Beat A Drug Trafficking Charge In Colorado

11 March, 2021

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.

How to get a drug trafficking charge dismissed or reduced?

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:

  • “Insufficient evidence”: If the state doesn’t have the evidence to back up its claims against you of drug trafficking, your attorney can use it to your advantage in court. The burden of proof is on your accusers. 
  • Challenging how the state procured its evidence: It’s one thing for the state to have evidence against you. It’s another thing entirely for the state to procure its evidence through legal and acceptable means. Your attorney will no doubt scrutinize the evidence presented to make sure it’s admissible in court.
  • Challenging “confidential informants” using the 6th Amendment: The Sixth Amendment grants you the right to confront your accusers, including any “anonymous” informants whose testimony the police may be using as evidence against you. Your attorney may request that these informants be revealed in order to evaluate their credibility.
  • “Entrapment”: This comes into play if law enforcement induced you to commit a crime you wouldn’t otherwise have committed on your own. Your drug attorney will defend you against this type of foul play.
  • Requesting an amendment of the charge: If a conviction must be given, your drug charges lawyer may try to request an amendment of the charge to lessen the likelihood of a serious penalty, such as prison time. 
  • Offer “substantial assistance” to law enforcement: You may not want to cooperate with law enforcement, but it can go a long way in lessening the punishment you receive. By offering assistance in exchange for a reduced drug charge, you’ll help the authorities uncover other more serious drug-related crimes. 

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.

How much jail time will you get for a felony drug conviction?

man in jail for a drug charge in Colorado
How much jail time you serve for a drug conviction in Colorado depends on the type of drug and your criminal record.


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:

  • Schedule I: a highly addictive substance with no medical use.
  • Schedule II: a highly addictive substance with medical uses and has the potential to result in dependence. 
  • Schedule III: low risk for abuse with medical uses and only a moderate risk of dependence. 
  • Schedule IV and V: low potential for abuse and dependence, with accepted medical uses.

Now, here are some examples of the types of drugs that fit into each schedule:

  • Schedule I: LSD, heroin, PCP
  • Schedule II: cocaine, methadone, Vicodin, Oxycodone
  • Schedule III: ketamine, testosterone, and anabolic steroids
  • Schedule IV and V: Darvocet, Xanax, Talwin, and Ambien

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. 

Give yourself the best odds with a Denver drug charges lawyer

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. 

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

12 October, 2020

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.

But the law has changed 

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.

What would happen in case of probation revocation in Douglas and Arapahoe counties?

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. 

Additional rules 

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;

  • An employer still has the right to prohibit the use of marijuana as an integral part of terms of employment
  • Though Colorado State offers protection for the possession and use of medical marijuana, it’s illegal to travel across state lines with it
  • The terms of parole or probation also apply to travels with medical marijuana
  • A valid prescription for related medical marijuana is also subject to the state laws

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.

A Woman Jailed 3 Months Because Police Thought Her Cotton Candy Was Meth

25 July, 2020

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


How Soon Is It Safe To Drive After Smoking Cannabis? California Study Aims To Find Out

23 July, 2020

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


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

23 July, 2020

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


Aaron Carter Bragged About Not Getting A DUI Before Arrest

23 July, 2020

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


Sessions: Softened Approach To Drug Enforcement Led To Surge In Drug Abuse And Violent Crime

23 July, 2020

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


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