For many years, the conviction of certain crimes would cause a person to lose their right to own firearms – even in Colorado. However, a new law passed may now change all of that.
According to the Durango Herald, a bill was passed after the shooting at King Soopers in Boulder that barred those convicted of some misdemeanor crimes from buying guns for at least five years. The law, however, also loosened the restrictions for people convicted of certain felonies regarding firearm ownership.
Some lawmakers noted that this seemed inconsistent. The result is a new Senate bill that aims to alter the misdemeanor code in the state. Now, possession of a gun will only be restricted for those who are convicted of certain felonies.
While this may be good news for many people, it’s still important to realize there are serious consequences for drug crimes in the state, even misdemeanor drug crimes. Here’s what you need to know about Colorado drug crimes.
Classifications of Drugs in Colorado
If you want to understand Colorado drug laws, you first have to understand the classifications used for drugs. These classifications are regulated under the Controlled Substances Act and place drugs in schedules – which schedule depends on if the drug has any medical value and its potential for abuse.
Schedule I drugs include substances such as peyote, heroin, MDMA, and LSD.
This schedule includes common medications such as fentanyl, oxycodone, and methamphetamine. They have some use in healthcare but are at high risk for abuse.
This schedule includes drugs such as ketamine, testosterone, and anabolic steroids.
Drugs on this schedule are often prescribed because they have some medicinal value but are abused quite frequently. You’ll find substances such as Valium, Ambien, and Xanax on this list.
Schedule V drugs include preparation that contains a limited amount of narcotics, such as cough medicines. While these schedules have remained consistent, there have been some changes to Colorado law that impact penalties associated with these schedules.
For example, a new law signed in March of 2020 decriminalized small amounts of Schedule I and II drugs. So, if you are caught with less than four grams of substances listed under those schedules, you’ll now be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
Penalties for Colorado Drug Crimes
In general, drug offenses in Colorado fall into one of the three categories. They’re either petty offenses, misdemeanors, or felonies. The penalties often depend on what offense was committed as well as the type of drug involved and the amount that was found.
Petty drug offenses are often classified according to the weight of the drug involved. Misdemeanors are judged the same way and have two classes:
Drug Misdemeanor I
The maximum sentence for a drug misdemeanor 1 in Colorado is 18 months in prison and fines of as much as $5,000.
Drug Misdemeanor II
For this, you may serve no jail time at all, but in the worst-case scenario, you can serve up to one year in prison and be responsible for fines up to $750.
Drug felonies in Colorado are broken down into four levels. They are:
Drug Felony 4
This is the least serious felony charge and can put you in prison for up to one year and make you responsible for fines of as much as $100,000.
Drug Felony 3
You can face up to four years in prison for this level and pay fines of as much as $500,000.
Drug Felony 2
For crimes in this category, you can face as much as eight years in prison and pay fines of as much as $750,000.
Drug Felony 1
The most serious, this level can lead to a prison sentence of 32 years and fines up to $1 million.
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.