Even though Colorado has legalized marijuana, that shouldn’t be taken as a pass for other drugs in the state.
In Colorado, if you are caught with illegal drugs or even quantities of marijuana that exceed the legal limits, you can face drug charges. When this happens, you need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the charges against you as well as the nuances of Colorado drug law.
Here’s what you need to know about drug charges in Colorado and the possible defenses to avoid the sometimes harsh penalties associated with a conviction.
Current Drug Crime Penalties in Colorado
In Colorado, the state does try to help rehabilitate those charged with drug crimes. It uses incarceration as a last resort in minor drug crimes, but it still prosecutes felonies related to drugs rather harshly.
If you are convicted of felony drug charges in the state, you can face anywhere from six months in prison all the way up to 32 years. You may also be responsible for fines as high as $1 million. That’s why it’s vital to mount a good defense when you’re facing drug charges.
Fighting Back Against Colorado Drug Charges
An attorney can employ several defenses to help win your case in court. The best defense will be specific to the circumstances surrounding your case, but, in general, there are several common defenses used against drug charges. These include:
Lack of Possession
This is a defense often used in situations where the defendant was charged within a group. If you did not participate in the crime for which you’re being charged but merely got swept up in activities of the people around you, that’s a viable defense.
If you did not individually possess any drugs, this is a good defense to use.
In some circumstances, the police’s search and property seizure methods may have violated your Constitutional rights.
Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, you are guaranteed the right to proper search and seizure before arrest as a part of due process. The officers that arrested you must show they had a reasonable suspicion to search you.
If an informant or a police officer convinced you to commit a crime you may not have otherwise done, that’s called “entrapment”. In order for this defense to be successful, you must be able to show:
- You were not a willing participant in the crime
- You were pressured by authorities to do so
If you were arrested and charged because law enforcement found drugs on your person, but you didn’t realize you were in possession of them, this is a valid defense.
A good example: someone gives you a package to deliver, and you have no idea what is in the package—and it contains drugs. In cases like this, unwitting possession may be a proper defense to use.
If someone else forced you to possess or transport drugs against your will, highlight this situation as a good defense.
Another defense that can be used in certain circumstances: drugs were planted on you by an officer who has a history of doing so.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.