Finding yourself facing drug charges is a daunting situation. There can be numerous questions surrounding your arrest that leave you looking for an ally for representation and guidance. Below you’ll find some helpful information intended to give you a starting point for building a successful defense and fighting felony drug charges.
What Determines If A Drug Charge Is A Misdemeanor Or Felony?
As with any crime, there are variables that determine the severity of the charges. For drug possession crimes, a key aspect is the quantity of drugs involved. Other factors include the type of drugs and any other “aggravating” factors. Drugs that are deemed “more dangerous” will bring with them harsher punishments.
For example, if someone were charged with possession of a small amount of lower-classification drug, they may be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony. An individual with a large quantity of drugs could potentially face charges of intent to distribute and face a felony charge.
Other factors that can lead to felony charges include the involvement of minors, possession near drug treatment facilities or school grounds, or a repeated offense.
How Long Can You Go To Jail For A Drug Felony?
Penalties for drug crimes in Colorado vary based on the type of drug, the offense committed, and the amount of drugs involved in the offense. Common penalties for felony drug crimes include jail time, fines, and probation. (Learn more about Felony Probation and Felony Probation Violations here.) There are three general categories for drug crimes in Colorado: petty offenses, misdemeanors, and felonies.
Colorado Drug Crime Penalties
Petty offenses carry with them a fine amount. These offenses include paraphernalia possession and consumption of marijuana in public.
The next level of charge is a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are considered more serious than petty offenses, but less serious than felonies. They are classified as either “DM1” or “DM2.”
DM1 – Serious drug misdemeanors. Manufacturing, possession with intent to distribute, and distribution are included in this category.
Jail time typically ranges from 6 to 18 months and/or a fine up to $5,000.
DM2 – “Less serious” misdemeanors. An example of a DM2 charge would be possession of marijuana between 2 and 6 ounces. Possession of synthetic cannabinoids also falls into this category.
Jail time ranges from 0 to 12 months and/or a fine up to $750.
Considered to be the most serious drug-related offense, felonies are accompanied by long prison sentences and large fines. Drug felonies in the state of Colorado are group into four levels: DF1, DF2, DF3, DF4.
Drug felony charges follow the same hierarchy as misdemeanors, but the jail time begins at 6 months for a DF4 and extends to up to 32 years for a DF1. Fines levied range from $100,000 to $1 million.
How Do I Fight Drug Charges?
Drug crimes in Colorado are taken seriously. Penalties for a drug charge conviction can be harsh. While every case is unique, there are a number of ways that drug charges are successfully challenged in court.
When fighting drug charges, several factors need consideration. If appropriate procedures were not followed surrounding the investigation, you may have remedies that can lead to positive results.
If police conducted an illegal search without permission to gather evidence, you may find legal avenues to work things out in your favor. Similarly, if you were a victim of a wrongful or false arrest, you should have a viable defense in court.
It may also be difficult or impossible to prove the person who is in fact in possession of the substances found.
The police crime lab may have had testing irregularities that work in your favor.
At any rate, speaking with a knowledgeable attorney is always a good course of action when facing legal uncertainty.
Will A Judge Reduce Felony Drug Charges?
A judge will take many of the things outlined above when considering adjusting charges. It is important to work with an attorney experienced with drug-related cases who can chart the most favorable course for your legal defense when fighting felony drug charges.
What Is a Drug Court? Will It Help Me In Fighting Felony Drug Charges?
Instead of serving a jail sentence, individuals convicted of drug-related offenses can enter treatment programs known as “drug courts.” There are parameters in which a person is eligible for drug court. The judge must determine that you are addicted to a drug and in need of treatment, or otherwise dependent on a drug.
Some treatment plans last as long as four years. When treatment is successfully completed, most cases are dismissed. If treatment is not completed an individual is still subject to the full punishment sentenced prior to the drug court agreement.
WeedenLaw Can Help You Fight Felony Drug Charges
If you’re wondering when to hire a criminal defense attorney, the time is NOW! All criminal cases are time-sensitive. The sooner you hire a good criminal defense lawyer that can develop a successful defense strategy, the better.
The gap between getting arrested and hiring an attorney can affect the outcome of your case, substantially.
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested for a crime in the Denver area, call WeedenLaw immediately.
Since 2005, Jeffrey L. Weeden has been practicing criminal defense law in Colorado and has helped countless clients protect their rights and freedoms as a respected, caring, hard-nosed criminal defense attorney.
Act Now—Call Attorney Jeff Weeden To Build A Solid Defense Strategy In Fighting Felony Drug Charges.
For Parents: Check out our blog 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Parents of Addicted Adults.