The legal landscape in Colorado related to felony drug charges has changed dramatically since October of 2013. The Colorado legislature created a new class of offense called drug offenses for felony drug charges.
There are no longer simply felonies or misdemeanors in the same class as all other crimes. Now a drug crime is considered a drug felony, a drug misdemeanor, or a drug petty offense. The new drug laws are more complicated than ever, so getting a Colorado Springs Criminal Defense attorney is very important. A good Drug Crime lawyer can make all the difference in how your case is resolved.
In determining whether a case is a drug felony, misdemeanor or petty offense, the law looks to the type of drug, the amount, and behavior prohibited by law. For felony-level offenses, there are four classes of offense. Each class of offense carries with it different penalties, including prison and fines. Additionally, each level has a drug offender surcharge, which is a cost that the offer has to pay when the case is resolved. The penalties for drug felonies are defined in Colorado Revised Statute, 18-1.3-401.5. Distribution or Possession with Intent to Distribute Under CRS18-18-405, “It is unlawful for any person knowingly to manufacture, dispense, sell or distribute, or to possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell or distribute, a controlled substance… “ In other words, dealing drugs or having enough in your possession that if can reasonably be assumed that you intend to deal, is a crime.
Drug Felony Level One
A Drug Felony One (DF1) is the highest level of offense under the new laws. It carries with it a range in prison between eight to thirty-two years, followed by three years of parole. It also carries with it a fine range between five thousand and one million dollars. The drug offender surcharge is four thousand five hundred dollars. In addition, to the regular range of sentencing, the sentence can be aggravated depending on the factors surrounding the offense. If the drugs seized or in possession of the accused person for distribution are a schedule I or II and weigh more than two hundred and fifty grams then the person will be charged with a DF1. Additionally, if the accused person is in possession of more than one hundred and twelve grams of methamphetamine or heroin, the charge will be the same. There are other types of drugs that will make up a DF1, but those are the most common.
Drug Felony Level Two
A Drug Felony Two (DF2) carries with it a presumptive range of four to eight years prison and a two year period of parole. Additionally, it carries a fine between three thousand up to seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The drug offender surcharge is three thousand dollars. Under certain circumstances, a DF2 can have aggravated factors leading to a longer-term of imprisonment. If an offender distributes or possesses to distribute more than fourteen grams but less than two hundred and twenty-five grams and it is a schedule I or II substance then the person will be charged with a DF2. Additionally, if the accused person is in possession of more than seven grams but less than one hundred and twelve grams of methamphetamine or heroin, or certain other types of drugs, that also qualifies as a DF2. There are other less common causes of being charged with a DF2. A felony drug defense attorney will know all of the details regarding being charged with such offenses.
Drug Felony Level Three
A Drug Felony Level three (DF3) carries with it a presumptive range of 2-4 years in the Department of Corrections and one year of parole. The fine is between two thousand and five hundred thousand dollars. The drug offender surcharge is two thousand dollars. Under certain circumstances, aggravating factors can increase the amount of time in prison to between four to six years. If drugs distributed amount to less than fourteen grams of a schedule I or a schedule II controlled substance or less than seven grams of methamphetamine or heroin than that person will be charged with a DF3. Additionally, the distribution of more than four grams of a schedule III or IV controlled substance is a DF3.
There are distribution drug misdemeanors for such things as distributing a schedule V or given away for no remuneration less than four grams of a schedule III or schedule IV controlled substance. For example, giving another person, perhaps a friend, certain prescription pill without being given anything back in return would constitute a drug misdemeanor. A Drug Misdemeanor carries a punishment from no jail up to eighteen months in jail depending on the level. However, these types of offenses are rarely charged given the difficulty to prove the elements of the offense.
If you or someone you know has been charged with Distribution or Possession with Intent to distribute, please contact me as soon as possible. The variations and legal defenses are complicated and can be confusing to someone not familiar with all aspects of the new drug laws. You need a knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney to help you navigate the system. James Newby Law is on top of all the changes and knows what it takes to provide you the strongest defense possible. Call James Newby Law today. These are serious charges and you need a serious defense.