Heroin is one of the five most addictive drugs in the world, according to American Addiction Centers. It has ruined the lives of countless people across the United States, landed people in prison for decades, and torn families apart. The story here in Colorado reflects that larger reality. One of the issues with the policies and laws surrounding heroin is that putting people in jail just doesn’t address the root cause of the problem: the addiction.
The attorneys at The Moorhead Law Group in Boulder have decades of experience both defending and prosecuting drug cases, including many heroin cases. We are passionate about preventing clients from having their lives destroyed by drug convictions. And while we were pleased when Colorado altered its drug laws to make treatment a larger priority, we continue to see people subjected to harsh criminal penalties, including prison time and heavy fines.
If you have been accused or if your loved one has been arrested for a heroin crime, do not hesitate to reach out to our criminal defense lawyers. We offer a free initial consultation and we will offer the honest, up-front advice you need at this critical time. Contact us today and we’ll respond as soon as possible.
A Brief Overview of Colorado’s Heroin Laws
First, it is important to realize that heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug in Colorado. That means it has no legally accepted use, making it completely illegal. With that in mind, here is a brief overview of the different types of heroin offenses in our state.
Unlawful Use Of Heroin
The unlawful use of heroin is classified as a level 2 drug misdemeanor under Section 18-18-404 of the Colorado statutes. The penalty is a fine of $50-$750 and up to 12 months imprisonment. Unlawful use is a less serious offense than possession. Drug treatment is often used as an alternative sentence in these cases, as Colorado wants people to be able to overcome their addictions. One example of unlawful use is if a person is administered heroin by someone else. In that case, the user never really “possesses” the drug.
Possession of any quantity of heroin is illegal under Section 18-18-403.5 of the Colorado statutes, which make it a level 4 drug felony to knowingly possess any amount of heroin. Penalties may include 6-12 months in jail and/or fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. If you possessed 4 grams or less and you meet other conditions, you could receive drug treatment and probation instead of the tougher penalties.
Selling, Distributing, Or Manufacturing Heroin
It is a felony in Colorado to sell (or possess with the intent to sell) heroin. The penalties vary depending on the amount of heroin and the age of the person sold to. In order of most severe to least severe (remember, these are all felonies, which means they are all serious):
- Most severe – selling more than 112 grams or selling any amount to a minor: These are level 1 drug felonies. Conviction carries a mandatory minimum of 8 years in prison, with up to 32 years possible. There is a potential fine of up to $1 million.
- Somewhat less severe – selling more than 7 grams but not more than 12 grams: This is a level 2 drug felony. Penalties may include 4-8 years in prison and fines between $3,000 and $750,000.
- Least severe – selling 7 grams or less: This is a level 3 drug felony. Penalties include 2-4 years in prison and fines between $2,000 and $5,000.
Defenses Against Heroin Crime Charges
The attorneys at the Moorhead Law Group are experienced trial lawyers who have prosecuted heroin cases in the past. That means we know how these cases are handled by the state, which helps us build strong defenses for our clients.
No two cases are the same, and the defense of one client won’t be the same as any other client. Even so, there are a few types of defenses that frequently arise, and they include:
- Mistake: The heroin belonged to someone else, but you have been charged due to a mistake by law enforcement or prosecutors.
- Lack of knowledge: To be guilty, you must knowingly possess heroin; if someone planted it on you and you didn’t know it, this is a good defense.
- Lack of intent to sell: You possessed a small amount of heroin for personal use and did not intend to sell it to anyone.
- Unlawful search and seizure: Your Constitutional rights were violated by an illegal search of your property, such as a car or apartment without probable cause or a warrant.
- Misconduct/coercion: Police pressured you to confess, planted false evidence, did not read you your rights, or you were otherwise put under duress by an official.
Positive outcomes in heroin cases are achieved only by working with an experienced legal team. The state of Colorado has talented prosecutors, and those accused of crimes deserve talented lawyers to protect their rights. The Moorhead Law Group provides strategic, powerful representation for our clients. If you are hesitant to reach out to an attorney for help, please do not be. Our team helps people just like you every day, and we are here to protect you, not to judge you.
Accused Of A Heroin-Related Crime? Call Us For A Free Consultation.
You deserve to know what you are really facing if you have been charged with a heroin-related offense in Colorado. Call an attorney at The Moorhead Law Group in Boulder today for advice; your initial consultation is free. Reach us at (303) 447-1400 or send us an email and we’ll respond as soon as possible.