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Experienced Denver Drug Possession Defense Lawyer

When you’re searching for a Colorado drug possession lawyer, contact the law offices of M. Colin Bresee. With extensive experience in both prosecution and criminal defense, Mr. Bresee is one of the top drug crime lawyers in Denver and the state.

Colorado drug testing laws change at a rapid pace. Don’t fall victim to charges you don’t understand or that are unjust simply because you didn’t understand the law. Sharing prescription drugs with friends or relatives might seem reasonable, for example, but it can be a crime. Whether a college student who made an honest mistake or an executive caught in the crossfire, Mr. Bresee will work with you personally to:

  • Understand the charges being brought against you
  • Place you in a position to retain academic status and career stability
  • Minimize the impact on your criminal record
  • Defend your case to the utmost given your case’s specific details

No one expects to need a drug defense attorney. Colorado residents can rest assured that Mr. Breese’s expertise will not only help ease challenges when facing these types of charges but help both you and your family move forward while we work on the details of your case. Don’t wait: schedule a free initial consultation today.

Colorado Drug Laws 

After the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado in 2012, most Colorado Drug Laws were consolidated into the Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 2013, article 18.18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The law lays out how serious Colorado Law determines drug possession crimes to be by creating standards and schedules for drug types. 

This law has since been modified significantly. HB 1263, passed in 2019, for example, changed the penalties for possession of a controlled substance. The law will be modified further in 2023 after the legalization of psilocybin-containing mushrooms and other related substances. Although the full laws are not yet fully defined, as of January 4, 2023, Colorado Law states that it is legal for people over the age of 21 to use, possess, transport, or give away psilocybin, psilocyn, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline, though not mescaline extracted from peyote. It is still not legal to sell these drugs. 

Drug Crime Statistics

In recent years, drug crimes in Colorado have decreased substantially over the last five years. According to the state of Colorado, there were 15,414 drug crimes in 2022, compared to 22,547 in 2018. 

Drug possession is by far the most common drug narcotics violation. The top 5 types of drug crimes are:

  1. Possession (accounts for 77.4% of all drug crimes)
  2. Using (11.4%)
  3. Distributing / selling (9.5%)
  4. Buy / receiving (0.7%)
  5. Transporting (0.9%)

Colorado also reports the number of drug seizures in 2022 by type:

  1. Stimulants (41.4% of seizures)
  2. Narcotics (31.3%)
  3. Marijuana (13.1%)
  4. Other drugs (8.9%)
  5. Hallucinogens (2.0%)

This breakdown is by the number of individual seizures. By weight, marijuana is the most seized drug class, followed by stimulants (especially methamphetamines and cocaine), then narcotics.

Controlled Substance Classifications

To determine the severity of your drug crime, Colorado divides drugs into different classes called schedules. 

Colorado drug schedules are:

  • Schedule I: Drugs with a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the US, and that are not even safe for use under medical supervision. This includes multiple synthetic opioids such as heroin and hallucinogens such as LSD and PCP. Until this year, psilocybin, psilocyn, and mescaline were considered schedule I drugs. 
  • Schedule II: Drugs with a lower risk of potential abuse, as well as a valid medical application. However, when used, they can result in severe physical and psychological dependence. This includes opium and many opiates used for pain relief, such as oxycodone and fentanyl. It also includes stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines. 
  • Schedule III: Drugs with an even lower risk of abuse, a valid medical application, and only result in moderate physical and psychological dependence. This includes barbiturates, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and small amounts of schedule II drugs like codeine, morphine, and opium.
  • Schedule IV: Drugs with a relatively low potential for abuse, that have a medical application and only lead to limited physical or psychological dependence. This includes some prescription anti-anxiety drugs, sleep medications, and some mild stimulants, including some formerly sold as appetite suppressants and weight loss drugs. 
  • Schedule V: Drugs with the lowest risk of abuse, with a medical use, and even more limited physical and psychological dependence. This includes buprenorphine and some drug preparations with very small amounts of opioids. 

Drug Offense Penalties and Sentencing

Most drug offenses committed in Colorado are possession offenses. The possession of any amount of flunitrazepam, ketamine, or gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), or more than 4 grams of any schedule I or schedule II drug is considered a level 4 felony. 

Otherwise, drug possession is considered a level 1 drug misdemeanor. However, on the fourth or subsequent offense, this becomes a level 4 drug felony. 

Using a controlled substance not prescribed by a doctor counts as a level 2 drug misdemeanor. 

Depending on the type of drug, unlawful distribution (AKA drug trafficking), manufacturing, dispensing, and sale of drugs can range from a level 1 drug misdemeanor (for schedule V drugs or quantities of no more than 4 grams) to a level 1 drug felony (for 50 mg to 225 g of schedule I and II drugs or for sale of drugs to a minor). 

Presumptive sentencing, including jail time and fines, for different levels of drug offenses, are:

  • Drug felony level 1: 8-32 years imprisonment, $5000-$1,000,000 fine
  • Drug felony level 2: 4-8 years imprisonment, $3000-$750,000 fine
  • Drug felony level 3: 2-4 years imprisonment, $2000-$500,000 fine
  • Drug felony level 4: 6 months to one-year imprisonment, $1000-$100,000 fine
  • Drug misdemeanor level 1: 6-18 months imprisonment, $500-$5000 fine
  • Drug misdemeanor level 2: up to 12 months imprisonment, $50-$750 fine

In many cases, aggravated offenses can lead to more severe sentences.  In addition, people convicted of drug crimes may be asked to pay surcharges – additional fees related to their drug case. These surcharges can be up to $4500.

Contact a Drug Defense Attorney

With the constant changes in Colorado’s drug laws, including drug testing requirements, it’s easy to find yourself facing a surprise drug charge. What you thought was legal drug possession or use might put you at risk for years of imprisonment. 

If you are facing charges for drug crimes, don’t hesitate. Take decisive action for yourself, your family, and your future by contacting an experienced Denver drug defense attorney. 

Our legal services extend to the following areas:

  • Arapahoe County (including Aurora, Centennial, Englewood, Greenwood Village, and Littleton)
  • Adams County (including Thornton and Westminster)
  • Denver County
  • Douglas County (including Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, and Parker)
  • El Paso County (including Colorado Springs and Security-Widefield)
  • Gilpin County (including Central City)
  • Jefferson County (including Arvada and Lakewood)
  • Weld County (including Greeley and Longmont)

No matter the time of day, we encourage you to call us. We are available 24 hours a day to take your call. The first step is letting us know how we can help.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are facing a drug charge, call a Denver criminal defense attorney immediately. An experienced drug case lawyer like M. Colin Bresee can be your best resource for understanding and navigating Colorado drug laws.

Mr. Bresee has a respected reputation as one of the top Colorado drug possession lawyers. Contact our law office at 303-625-7964. You can get a free consultation that can help you understand the charges you are facing, the penalties you might suffer, and the lifelong consequences of a conviction. 

Mr. Bresee can meet with you and become your trial lawyer. You won’t get stuck with a junior associate. There will be no bait-and-switch as you might get at a “factory” law firm. You might think that it could be expensive, but it’s a bargain compared to what you might lose with a drug charge conviction. Plus, we offer payment plans to make our fees affordable. Everyone deserves the best criminal defense lawyer to protect their lives.

Drug Charge FAQs

It’s true. Even if you’ve already posted your bond, the District Attorney may still attempt to add some or all of the following terms and conditions to your release. Below are frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding what happens after a drug charge in Colorado.

What can the Court do to me?

  • The Court can arrest you, and law enforcement can issue a warrant.
  • The Court can impose “reasonable terms” associated with your bond.

What are these “reasonable terms?”

  • No contact with your family.
  • You cannot return to your house.
  • You cannot see your own children.
  • You may be subject to an alcohol sensor (you cannot consume alcohol while you are out on bond).
  • Your probation officer can come to your home or place of work at any time, unannounced.
  • A GPS ankle bracelet is mandatory until the case is concluded.

What happens if I’m convicted?

  • If convicted or taking a plea, you will likely lose your driver’s license for one year or more.
  • The Court may require you to immediately start drug testing, including random daily urine testing – at YOUR expense.
  • The Court can order you to not use drugs even if you have a medical marijuana license.
  • The Court can seize property that they suspect has been used in the commission of the crime (money, car, home).