If you have been charged with drug possession in Colorado, your first priority should be familiarizing yourself with the usual penalties you could face if convicted.
To be facing a charge of possession of drugs, it would mean that you were found to be in possession of controlled substances considered illegal to possess under the law of Colorado. There are various levels of severity for this charge, including possession, cultivation, intent to distribute, and trafficking of a controlled substance. Each one has its own penalties, each one worse than the last, and can only be defended through the guidance of a skilled criminal defense attorney that is well experienced in such cases. The criminal law team at Pollart and Miller LLC can help you understand the circumstances behind the charges filed against you in order to prepare the proper defense.
Possession of Drugs
The police can arrest you for possession of drugs if at the time they confronted you, drugs were on your person, or in your vehicle. In both cases it was determined that drugs were under your full control. You can then be prosecuted for drug possession under the statutes of the state the arrest took place in. The penalties and punishments will vary, depending upon the drugs possessed, the quantity, and other factors determined by the arresting officers to be valid in your case, like intent to sell or distribute a controlled substance.
Possession of drugs does not necessarily mean that it is only limited to what is deemed to be illegal controlled substances. There are cases where being in possession of a prescription that is not yours can lead to a possession charge, as can attempting to refill a prescription that is not yours, or stealing someone else’s prescription. If you are the driver of a vehicle in which drugs were later found, even if they were located outside the area of the driver’s seat, you could be charged with possession, simply because they were present in a vehicle under your direct control.
Formulating A Defense
The sooner you retain the services of a skilled criminal lawyer, the better. With their help, a proper defense against all charges can be prepared, informed by the relation of all details surrounding the events leading up to the actual arrest. Every detail in cases like these is important to a criminal defense lawyer, as they can be used to prove that the arrest was not valid because of technicalities on the part of the arresting officers, the officers who searched the car, or that there was not enough proof available for the officers to have had probable cause to conduct the search in the first place.
Penalties for Drug Possession in Colorado
Most crimes relating to drug possession are punishable by jail terms, however, if the amount discovered was less than one ounce, it will be treated as a “petty offence”, resulting in a fine of about $100. As a defendant, you must appear in court or you could be charged with a misdemeanor, resulting in a six-month prison sentence.
More than one ounce of drugs will automatically result in a misdemeanor charge, with prison term of 6 to 18 months, and a hefty fine.
Carrying more than 8 ounces of an illegal substance, is considered a felony and is punishable by one to three years in prison and a much larger fine, plus a suspended driver’s license.
If you are caught using illegal drugs for medicinal purposes
If you have written documentation from your doctor, then you can use this as a defense, since Colorado does have laws that allow drugs to be used medicinally. Some drugs have been so decriminalized that no prison time or criminal record will occur when a person is caught with a small amount of the drug in a first-time offense.
What should I do when charged with a misdemeanor or felony drug possession in Colorado?
As you might have guessed, the first thing you should do is contact a lawyer with experience in defending clients against this type of charge.
The best criminal legal advice that any attorney could give a person caught with drug possession is to cooperate fully with the officers, and their search, even if it does not end in your favor. To do otherwise is to risk further charges being made, including obstruction. If you are truly innocent, your cooperation cannot be used against you, and you will still have the right to speak with a lawyer before, during and even after charges of possession have been filed against you. This is the time to protest your innocence, not during the arrest or search, where emotional outbursts may be used against you at a later date.