Drug possession charges depend upon the type of drug and the amount of the drug. Some, more serious possession charges require the government to prove that you intended to distribute or manufacture the drug (e.g., possession with intent to distribute). The following tables summarize many of the most common drug possession charges.
Drug Possession Attorney
Colorado has adopted the federal Uniform Controlled Substances Act. The law classifies drugs into “schedules” from one (I) to five (V). Schedule I substances are those with high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use, and lack of accepted safety for use even under medical supervision. These include heroin, MDMA (“ecstasy”), peyote, and LSD (“acid”). Schedule II substances have high potential for abuse, some accepted medical use, and high potential for dependency. These include cocaine, oxycodone, and Vicodin. Schedule III substances have less potential for abuse, accepted medical use, and moderate to low potential for physiological dependency or high potential for psychological dependency. These include anabolic steroids and ketamine. Schedule IV substances have lower potential for abuse, accepted medical use, and some risk of dependency if abused. These include Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. Finally, Schedule V substances have low risk of abuse, accepted medical use, and low risk of dependency. These include cough suppressants with small amounts of codeine, some weight loss drugs, and other fairly benign drugs which are only available with a prescription.
Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I substance. However, in 2012, Colorado voters amended the state constitution to permit recreational use, production, and sale of marijuana by and for people who are at least 21 years old (similar to the regulations for alcoholic beverages). Though marijuana use is still technically against federal law, President Obama has directed his law enforcement agencies (e.g., the Drug Enforcement Administration) not to focus their resources pursuing low-level marijuana cases in states where marijuana use has been legalized or regulations relaxed. Nevertheless, there are still marijuana possession charges in Colorado, depending upon the amount of marijuana involved.
Type of DrugAmountClassification Schedule I or II substance Any Level 4 drug felony Flunitrazepam Any Level 4 drug felony Ketamine Any Level 4 drug felony Schedule III, IV, V substance (other than flunitrazepam or ketamine) Any Level 1 drug misdemeanor Marijuana > 12 oz. Level 4 drug felony > 6 oz., but not > 12 oz. Level 1 drug misdemeanor > 2 oz., but not > 6 oz. Level 2 drug misdemeanor Not > 2 oz. Drug petty offense Synthetic cannabinoids Any Level 2 drug misdemeanor Materials to make methamphetamine Any Level 2 drug felony Drug paraphernalia Any Drug petty offense
Possession with Intent
Possession with intent to distribute greatly increases the level of offense as well as the corresponding penalties. Under Colorado’s new drug laws enacted in the 2013 revisions to the Colorado Revised Statutes, judges are required to “exhaust all reasonable and appropriate alternative sentences” prior to incarceration for level 4 drug felonies and for all drug misdemeanors. This is not true for level 1-3 drug felonies. Higher level drug felonies always involve the intent to distribute or some manufacturing charge. District Attorneys approach these cases with a heightened level of scrutiny, and often require a permanent felony conviction on the defendant’s record as part of any plea agreement. Prosecutors also routinely request a prison term. Below is a table outlining classification for various marijuana distribution charges, an outline containing other drugs can be found on our Drug Crime page.
Possession with Intent
Type of DrugAmountClassification Marijuana > 50 lbs. Level 1 drug felony > 5 lbs., but not > 50 lbs. Level 2 drug felony > 12 oz., but not > 5 lbs. Level 3 drug felony > 4 oz., but not > 12 oz. Level 4 drug felony Not > 4 oz. Level 1 drug misdemeanor Marijuana concentrate > 25 lbs. Level 1 drug felony > 2.5 lbs., but not > 25 lbs. Level 2 drug felony > 6 oz., but not > 2.5 lbs. Level 3 drug felony > 2 oz., but not > 6 oz. Level 4 drug felony Not > 2 oz. Level 1 drug misdemeanor Imitation controlled substance Any Level 4 drug felony Drug paraphernalia Any Level 2 drug misdemeanor
Distribution cases generally involve warrants, confidential informants, and/or entry into a defendant’s home or vehicle. Due to the elusive nature of individuals involved in typical drug transactions, the police are often forced to make arrests more quickly than they would like. Many times this raises situations involving the violation of a suspects constitutional rights.