Were you recently caught with cocaine in Colorado? The quantity of cocaine and other factors will determine if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. Unfortunately, even a tiny amount of unlawful cocaine possession can land you in hot water in Colorado. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts take cocaine very seriously. If you or someone you love was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine in Colorado, an exceptional criminal defense attorney is what you need. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we are not afraid of a fight in the courtroom. No matter what, you can count on us to advocate for you.
In Colorado, it is a crime to use, possess, sell, manufacture, and traffic cocaine. Each of these offenses will vary from misdemeanor to felony charges depending on several factors, including the following:
- The quantity of the drug;
- The intent of the possessor (e.g., to simply possess or to sell);
- The location of where the drugs are found; and
- The accused’s prior convictions or arrests.
Generally, larger quantities of drugs are going to involve more severe potential penalties. If you intend to sell or distribute the drugs, you will be prosecuted more severely. In addition, if you have prior convictions, are in a school zone, or are in the presence of children, these aggravating circumstances will impact the sentence.
Schedule II Classification
It is critical to understand the federal government’s classification of controlled substances to understand Colorado’s cocaine laws. According to the Uniform Controlled Substance Act, cocaine is categorized as a schedule II substance.
Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Prolonged use could potentially lead to severe psychological and physical dependency. Examples of Schedule II drugs in addition to cocaine are oxycodone, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.
Cocaine Laws in Colorado
Cocaine is considered a dangerous substance and is prosecuted strictly.
In Colorado, there are two tiers of drug misdemeanors: level 1 and level 2. Level 2 misdemeanors are less severe than level 1. Both penalties will be lighter than a felony conviction but harsher than a petty offense. Typically, without aggravating circumstances present, there are two misdemeanor cocaine charges in Colorado.
Unlawful Use of Cocaine
In Colorado, it is unlawful to use, possess, or be under the influence of cocaine. Unlawful use of cocaine is a level 2 misdemeanor. Don’t let its classification as a misdemeanor mislead you; the use of cocaine is a very serious offense.
A conviction for the unlawful use of cocaine can result in:
- Up to 12 months in jail,
- $50 to $750 in fines, or
- A combination of both.
In addition, you will now have a drug conviction on your record. If you were caught with cocaine, do not let this brief lapse in judgment impact your future. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you avoid conviction.
Unlawful Possession of Cocaine
Knowing what constitutes possession is vital to any drug charge. Possession is defined as having actual physical control over a substance. There are generally three categories of possession.
- Actual possession, which means physically touching, handling, or holding the drug. The most blatant example would be having the drug in your hand—but if the drug is in your pocket or purse, it could be considered actual possession as well.
- Constructive possession puts a bit more distance between the individual and the drug while maintaining control over it. A classic example would be storing the drug in a safe or locker that only you can access.
- Finally, joint possession occurs when two or more individuals have control over the drug. An example may be two people knowing about and keeping the drugs in a communal drawer that each person has control of and can access.
You can be convicted based on any of these forms of possession.
Cocaine Possession in Colorado
In Colorado, it is a level 1 drug misdemeanor to knowingly possess cocaine. If convicted, you could be sentenced to:
- 6 to 18 months incarceration,
- $500 to $5,000 fine, or
- A combination of both.
Unlawful use and possession of cocaine are generally the two cocaine-related offenses considered misdemeanors in Colorado. Once you cross the line with the intent to sell, manufacture, or traffic the drug, you are likely facing felony charges. The penalties for possession of cocaine in Colorado will drastically increase for a felony-level offense. For instance, if you have three prior convictions and now have a fourth, the crime rises to a level 4 felony.
To learn more about felony cocaine offenses, contact our drug defense attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C.
Generally, in Colorado, possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a petty offense punishable by a fine of up to $100 and no jail time. However, possession of drug paraphernalia is often charged alongside other drug possession crimes, including possession of cocaine.
Are There Any Defenses to Possession of Cocaine?
Yes, several defenses may apply to your situation. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you may have one or more defenses available. Some common defenses to possession charges include:
- Violation of the 4th Amendment (i.e., illegal search and seizure);
- The drugs were not within your control;
- The drugs were not yours; and
An accomplished criminal defense attorney can spot potential defenses immediately upon hearing the facts of the case.
Attorneys for Cocaine Possession in Colorado
Our leading criminal defense attorney has over 20 years of criminal defense experience, including years spent as a public defender. We are well-versed in the law and well-practiced in the courtroom. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., you will find a powerful ally for your criminal case. A possession charge can have rippling, lasting consequences on your life. Your best chance at beating the charge is to hire us as your voice! Contact us through our website or over the phone to schedule a free, confidential consultation.