What Kinds of Drugs Come with the Worst Penalties in CO?

Drug penalties in Colorado have evolved over time, and the last few years have seen a lot of changes. Marijuana has been decriminalized as has possessing small amounts of other drugs.

However, there are still some drugs in some quantities in Colorado that can set you up for significant penalties. Being charged with drug crimes, even in Colorado, is quite serious. Here is an overview of the drug schedules and their associated penalties in Colorado.

The Classification of Drug Felony Penalties

In Colorado, there’s a sectioned system that ranks drug felonies. It starts with level I drug felonies and goes to level 4 drug felonies.

The schedule of a drug corresponds to the level of drug felony with which a person can be charged. The more dangerous the drug is considered to be, the more serious the potential penalties. Also, the amount of drugs involved in the case and any previous criminal record involving drug felonies can impact the sentence.

The schedules for drugs are based on their medical use and their risk of dependence or addiction. Schedule I is the most serious while schedule V is the least serious. The schedules with some examples of drugs in them are:

  • Schedule I: This schedule involves drugs with no medical use and a high potential for abuse, such as LSD or heroin.
  • Schedule II: These drugs have some accepted medical use but still have a high potential for dependency and abuse, such as methamphetamine or opium.
  • Schedule III: These drugs have medical uses but a high potential for abuse and dependency, such as anabolic steroids, ketamine, and hydrocodone.
  • Schedule IV: These drugs have a risk of dependency and misuse, but are often prescribed by doctors to treat specific conditions, such as lorazepam.
  • Schedule V: This is the least serious schedule that contains drugs often used in things such as cough syrups or in very small amounts of drugs to treat drug addiction, such as buprenorphine.

Colorado Drug Felonies

While it is possible to get a drug misdemeanor in Colorado, the most serious drug crimes that can be faced are felonies.

Level 1 Drug Felony

If you are convicted of a level 1 drug felony, you can serve up to 32 years in prison. You may also be ordered to pay fines of as much as $1 million. There is also a mandatory parole period of three years after release.

Level 2 Drug Felonies

For level 2 drug felonies in Colorado, you can spend up to eight years incarcerated. You may also be responsible for fines of as much as $750,000 and be required to complete parole for two years after release.

Level 3 Drug Felony

You spend up to four years in prison if convicted of a level 3 drug felony in Colorado. Fines of as much as $500,000 may also be assessed, and a one-year period of mandatory parole is required.

Colorado Springs Drug Crimes Attorney

Level 4 Drug Felony

Level 4 is the least serious drug felony charge in Colorado, but it can still send you to prison for up to one year and require you to pay $100,000 in fines. You also must complete a mandatory parole period of one year after your release.

Even though Colorado has decriminalized certain drugs in certain amounts, that doesn’t mean you can’t get into serious legal jeopardy if you are convicted of a drug felony in the state.


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.