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Denver is a unique city. It offers amazing experiences and plenty of job opportunities for those living there.

However, like any urban area, drug crimes are an issue that law enforcement deals with daily. From marijuana to methamphetamine, the variety of substances involved in drug crimes in Denver is vast.

Understanding more about drug crimes in the area can help you better understand the situation. It can also help you protect your rights if you are arrested or accused of a drug crime.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime in Denver, our criminal defense lawyer in Colorado can help you navigate the legal process and fight for your rights.

Drug Crimes in Colorado

There are several drug crimes in Colorado that an individual can be arrested for. Some of the charges include:

Drug Possession

Drug possession is one of the most common drug-related offenses in Colorado. Individuals found in possession of controlled substances, including but not limited to cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, may face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the type and quantity of the substance involved.

Colorado’s approach to drug possession has evolved significantly in recent years, particularly with the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012, yet enforcement remains stringent for other illicit substances.

Possession with Intent to Sell

Possession with intent to sell, also known as possession with intent to distribute, is a more serious offense under Colorado law. This charge typically arises when law enforcement officers believe that an individual possesses controlled substances to sell or distribute them to others.

The prosecution must establish evidence demonstrating the defendant’s intent to distribute, which may include the presence of large quantities of drugs, packaging materials, or other indicators of drug trafficking activities.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Possession of drug paraphernalia includes the possession of equipment, tools, or materials used for manufacturing, packaging, or consuming illicit substances

Common examples include syringes, pipes, bongs, and scales. While drug paraphernalia offenses are generally considered misdemeanors in Colorado, they can still result in significant legal consequences, including fines and potential imprisonment.

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking involves the illegal transportation, distribution, or sale of controlled substances across state or international borders. Colorado’s strategic location and extensive transportation networks make it a target for drug trafficking organizations seeking to exploit lucrative markets.

Law enforcement agencies use various tactics to combat drug trafficking, including surveillance operations, undercover investigations, and interagency collaborations. Convictions for drug trafficking offenses often carry severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines.

Drug Distribution

Drug distribution refers to the act of selling or transferring controlled substances to others, either directly or indirectly. This offense has a broad definition and includes everything from street-level drug transactions to large-scale distribution networks.

Prosecutors must establish evidence demonstrating the defendant’s involvement in the distribution of illicit substances, which may include witness testimony, surveillance footage, or intercepted communications.

Drug crimes often come with lengthy prison sentences and other harsh punishments. Working with a Colorado drug crimes attorney can help you fight your charges so they are dismissed or reduced.

Drug Arrest Statistics in Denver

As of April 2024, Denver had 1165 reported drug and alcohol crimes, translating to an average of 376.8 incidents per month or 12.4 incidents per day. Comparatively, in 2023, Denver recorded an average of 346.0 incidents per month, while in 2022, the average stood at 271.5 per month.

Among Denver neighborhoods, Civic Center reported the highest number of drug and alcohol crimes in 2024, totaling 140 incidents. On average, each neighborhood in Denver witnessed approximately 14.94 drug and alcohol-related offenses this year.

Denver’s alcohol and drug crime rate for 2024 is calculated at 6.0 crimes per 1,000 residents, reflecting the prevalence of such offenses within the city’s population.

Drug Crimes Defenses

Colorado offers individuals facing drug charges various defense options to protect their rights and pursue favorable outcomes. When dealing with drug-related allegations, it’s essential to seek guidance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Colorado who can develop strategies that meet your specific circumstances. Some defense options commonly utilized in Colorado include:

Illegal Search and Seizure

Evidence obtained through such means may be suppressed if law enforcement officers conduct an illegal search or seizure violating the Fourth Amendment rights. This defense challenges the legality of police actions, including warrantless searches, improper search warrants, or lack of probable cause.

Lack of Possession

To secure a conviction, prosecutors must prove the defendant either had direct or constructive possession of the illicit substances. The lack of possession defense, on the other hand, argues that the defendant neither had control over nor knowledge of the presence of the drugs. This defense may hinge on factors such as mistaken identity, lack of awareness, or mere proximity to drugs belonging to others.


Entrapment arises when law enforcement officers manipulate or pressure individuals into committing a crime they would not have otherwise committed. If defendants can prove that they were persuaded by law enforcement to participate in drug-related activities against their own volition or sound judgment, they have grounds to invoke an entrapment defense.

Unlawful Arrest

If the arresting officers lacked probable cause or violated procedural protocols during the arrest, defendants may challenge the lawfulness of their detention. Unlawful arrest defenses focus on procedural irregularities or violations of defendants’ rights during the arrest process.

Substance Misidentification

Errors in substance identification or testing procedures can lead to wrongful accusations. A skilled criminal defense lawyer in Colorado may challenge the accuracy or reliability of laboratory tests, arguing that substances seized by law enforcement were misidentified or contaminated, leading to incorrect charges.

Medical Necessity or Prescription

In cases involving prescription medications or medical marijuana, defendants may present evidence demonstrating lawful possession or use under medical supervision. Medical necessity defenses rely on the justification of medical need for possessing or using controlled substances.

Duress or Coercion

Defendants may argue that they engaged in drug-related activities due to threats of harm or coercion from others. Duress defenses assert that defendants acted under duress, fearing serious harm or injury if they did not comply with the demands of others.

Constitutional Violations

Violations of defendants’ constitutional rights, such as the right to counsel, right to remain silent, or right to a fair trial, can form the basis for legal challenges. Defense attorneys may assert constitutional violations as grounds for suppressing evidence or dismissing charges.

Plea Negotiation

In some cases, negotiating plea agreements with prosecutors may offer defendants an opportunity to reduce charges or secure alternative sentencing arrangements. Defense attorneys negotiate with prosecutors to achieve the most favorable outcomes for their clients while minimizing potential penalties.

Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs

In certain circumstances, participation in drug rehabilitation or treatment programs may serve as a mitigating factor in sentencing. A criminal defense lawyer in Colorado may advocate for diversion programs or alternative sentencing options that focus on allowing rehabilitation over incarceration.

Colorado Drug Crimes Attorney

Steven J. Pisani’s reputation as a top defense attorney in Colorado is well-deserved. His extensive knowledge of the state’s criminal law and his unwavering dedication to protecting clients’ rights have earned him numerous successes in defending against drug crimes in Denver.

With Mr. Pisani on your side, you can trust that you will receive knowledgeable legal representation and a strong defense for your case. Call our Colorado drug crimes attorney today to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options.


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