Being suspected or alleged of committing a crime does not mark you as guilty; however, it is crucial to take precise and informed legal action immediately following an arrest or accusation.
Drug possession can be viewed as possession with intent to distribute depending on the drug and the other key factor being the amount of the drug in question. Outlined below are the three critical elements of a drug crime and the difference between possession and distribution.
What Factors Affect Drug Charges?
- Colorado Controlled Substances: In Colorado, drugs, officially referred to as controlled substances, are categorized into schedules modeled on federal drug scheduling. A drug schedule regarding an accusation of either possession or distribution is critical. It often plays a significant role in determining the crime you may be charged with and affects other processes, such as sentencing, if or when convicted.
- Quantity of the Substance: The amount or quantity of the controlled substance found on your person or property may be a distinguishing characteristic of the ultimate charge an accused individual faces. Quantity can affect the legal weight of a circumstance of possession. In most cases, possession for the personal use of a controlled substance (typically, smaller amounts) is considered a minor or less severe crime compared to manufacturing or distributing (selling).
- Intention Behind Possession: Lastly, the purposes for which you possess the drug are considered when accused of a drug crime. In addition, for any crime of this nature to amount to guilt, it must be proven the individual possessing the substance did so knowingly.
Colorado Possession Charges
In Colorado, it is unlawful to possess a controlled substance knowingly; the offense is known as simple possession or possession for personal use. For less strictly enforced drugs, such as marijuana, individuals of age (21 and older) are legally permitted to have up to 2 ounces of marijuana. Although, in a public space, up to 2 ounces of marijuana amounts to a petty offense with fines up to $100. You may also receive community service hours as part of sentencing.
Cocaine and heroin, which are Schedule I or II narcotics, are now considered misdemeanors in Colorado instead of felonies if possession is less than 4 grams. Notably identified in these examples are the type of substance, its scheduling, and the amount, which can all be attributed to the intention behind the possession.
Colorado Intent to Distribute
An accusation of intent to distribute can be made even for lesser amounts of drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, depending on additional circumstances and evidence. For example, the prosecution may consider possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance as intent to distribute if drug paraphernalia is found at the time of your arrest in combination with the substance, such as plastic bags or a scale. The bags can be viewed as packaging to distribute the drugs and the scale to measure out amounts for distribution. The penalties for intent to distribute charges are also affected by the quantity and schedule of narcotics involved. You may be facing a potential felony conviction, categorized into classes ranging from a Level 4 felony drug offense to a Level 1 (the most severe).
Accused of a Colorado Drug Crime?
An unjust conviction can impact all areas of life, regardless of severity. It is vital to know your rights and arm yourself with a solid legal defense if you have been accused of a Colorado drug offense, whether intent to distribute or simple possession. Because a criminal record, especially one related to drug offenses, can affect countless aspects of your present and future, such as employment opportunities, education goals, and housing options, do not procrastinate or accept the false notion that you have no options. After thoroughly examining your case, a seasoned Colorado criminal defense attorney will determine the most effective course of action and design a strong defense on your behalf. Contact our offices for a free consultation with an experienced Boulder, Colorado, criminal defense attorney.