Reforming Minor Drug Possession Charges in Colorado
Colorado is paving the way for criminal justice reform, as it recently enacted HB19-1263 which makes minor drug possession a felony rather than a misdemeanor. As criminal justice reform becomes increasingly important to various lawmakers, Colorado is setting a great example of how to implement consequences for minor drug possession without permanently destroying defendants’ livelihoods.
Under this law, the following possession charges are classified as misdemeanors rather than felonies:
Level 1 drug misdemeanor: Possession of more than 6 ounces of marijuana or more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate, and possession of 4 grams or less of a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II.
- Punishment: A sentence of up to 180 days in the county jail or 2 years of probation, with up to 180 days in jail as a condition or violation of probation. You may also suffer a $1,000 fine.
- For a third or subsequent offense, you may face up to 364 days in jail.
Level 2 drug misdemeanor: Possession of 3 ounces or less of marijuana concentrate.
- Punishment: Up to 120 days in the county jail or one-year of probation, with up to 120 days in jail as a condition or a violation of probation. You may also suffer a $500 fine.
- For a third or subsequent offense, a person may be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail.
You may not be arrested for the petty offense of possessing up to 2 ounces of marijuana. However, you may be charged with a level 4 drug felony if you’re caught in possession of any amount of gamma hydroxybutyrate or a fourth or subsequent offense for possession of 4 grams or less of a schedule I or II controlled substance or any amount of a schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance.
Counties can also receive grants for offering defendants access to mental health treatment services, diversion programs and other strategies that reduce jail and prison bed use.
Schedule I & II Drugs
Schedule I drugs have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Examples include heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone and peyote.
Schedule II drugs are considered dangerous as they have a high potential for abuse, which could result in severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples include combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall and Ritalin.
Remember, under CO law, possession of 4 grams or less of Schedule I drugs is a level 1 drug misdemeanor and possession of 4 grams or less of Schedule II drugs is a level 2 drug misdemeanor.
Arrested for Drug Possession in CO? Call (303) 732-5048 for Legal Help.
Our Denver drug crime defense attorneys have the skill, experience and diligence needed to help you overcome your drug possession charges. Whether you’re accused of minor possession or serious drug offenses, our team wants to help you avoid a messy encounter with the criminal court system at all costs.
As tried-and-true legal advocates, we have what it takes to resolve your drug crime charges. Thus, you should contact us at (303) 732-5048 for a free consultation!