Drug trafficking is a serious offense in Colorado. A conviction could lead to a long prison sentence and have other consequences that could ruin your life. You need an advocate, a lawyer who knows how to fight tough cases to help you get the best result possible.
Do you know where to turn to in Colorado for help beating your drug charges? A lawyer with decades of trial experience who is not afraid to fight for you in court gives you the best chance to protect yourself and your rights. Our trial attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., believe everyone deserves an advocate and a voice. They are fully prepared to take a stand and always have your best interests in mind.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking means possessing, selling, or transporting a large amount of narcotics from one place to another. The term drug trafficking also includes importing illegal narcotics from outside of Colorado into the state.
Many states and the federal government have drug trafficking statutes. These laws determine the severity of the punishment by the weight of the drugs involved. Colorado has a similar law, although the Colorado drug crimes statute does not refer to drug trafficking by name. Instead, Colorado law criminalizes behavior such as manufacturing, dispensing, or selling illicit narcotics. The law also prohibits possessing narcotics with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or sell them. Also, possessing one or more chemicals or supplies with the intent to manufacture drugs falls under Colorado’s drug trafficking law. Marijuana does not fall under this law.
What Is at Stake in a Colorado Drug Trafficking Case?
Your freedom is at stake if the State charges you with drug trafficking. Colorado has strict punishments for drug charges, and you could go to prison for a long time if you get convicted. So what are the charges for drug trafficking in Colorado?
Colorado’s drug laws categorize drug crimes according to felony drug levels. The level of drug felony depends on the amount and type of drug.
Level 1 Drug Felony
A level 1 drug felony is any amount of narcotics or mixture of narcotics that weighs:
- Two hundred twenty five grams or greater of a schedule I or schedule II drug;
- Over 112g or greater of heroin, ketamine, methamphetamine, or cathinones;
- Over 50mg of flunitrazepam;
- Transferring a drug to a minor;
- More than 50 pounds of marijuana; or
- Over 25 pounds of marijuana concentrate.
The potential punishment is eight to 32 years in prison.
Level 2 Drug Felony
A level 2 felony is any narcotic or a mixture of narcotics that weighs:
- Fourteen grams to 225g of a schedule I or schedule II drug;
- Seven grams to 112g of heroin, ketamine, methamphetamine, or cathinones;
- Ten grams to 50g of flunitrazepam;
- Five to 50 pounds of marijuana; or
- Two and a half to 25 pounds of marijuana concentrate.
The maximum prison sentence is four to 16 years in prison.
Level 3 Drug Felony
A level 3 drug felony pertains to any drug or mixture that weighs:
- Up to 14g of schedule I or II drugs;
- Up to seven grams of heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine, or cathinones;
- No more than 10g of flunitrazepam;
- More than four grams of a schedule III or IV drug; or
- Twelve ounces to five pounds of marijuana or six ounces to two and a half pounds of marijuana concentrate.
The penalty for a level 3 drug felony falls between two and six years in prison.
Level 4 Drug Felony
Level 4 drug felonies only pertain to marijuana weighing between four to 12 ounces or two to six ounces of marijuana concentrate. The penalty for this crime ranges from six months in jail to two years in prison.
Level 1 Drug Misdemeanor
A level 1 drug misdemeanor relates to possession of a schedule V drug or transferring a schedule III or IV drug without selling it. Additionally, possessing less than four ounces of marijuana or less than two ounces of marijuana concentrate is also considered a level 1 drug misdemeanor. The penalty for this offense ranges between six and 18 months in jail.
What Should You Do If You Get Drug Trafficking Charges in Colorado?
One of the first things you need to do is get a reputable and experienced lawyer on your side as fast as you can. Even if the police have you under investigation and have not yet filed charges, you should contact an attorney. Having an attorney by your side can prevent you from making a mistake that could hurt your future and jeopardize your freedom.
If you are in a situation where there is no time to have a lawyer present, there are a few things to remember when police investigate you for drug crimes. The first thing to remember is that anything you say can, and will, be evidence used against you in court. Talking almost never helps you, even if you think it will “help clear things up.” You should remain silent and insist that you have a lawyer present during questioning.
You should never consent to a search. Instead, make the police produce a search warrant. If they have a search warrant, you should ask to read it. They might try to convince you to admit that you have drugs in your home or car by telling you they will rip your place apart unless you tell them where you hid the drugs. Asking you to cooperate is their way of getting you to waive your rights. It’s a trap—don’t fall for it.
What Can an Experienced Lawyer Do for You?
An experienced lawyer knows how to analyze your case to find the best defenses available to you.
A skilled attorney will:
- Advise you of your rights;
- Inform you about the potential consequences of a conviction;
- Obtain discovery from the prosecutor;
- Collect all of the evidence you need to defend yourself;
- Negotiate with the prosecution for a reduced sentence, if applicable;
- Draft and argue pre-trial motions such as motions to suppress and motions to dismiss;
- Investigate potential third parties who might be involved; and
- Assert all possible defenses at trial.
Every case is different. Your Colorado drug crimes lawyer will discuss the merits of each option with you.
We Can Defend You
Your biggest asset is only a phone call away. Choosing Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. means you will always have attorneys with your best interests in mind by your side. No matter the situation, they are prepared to fight for you. Contact us today to speak with an attorney who is fully equipped to fight for you.
Can You Be Charged with Murder for Self-Defense?
You have a right to defend yourself or another person in Colorado. In some situations, the right to protect yourself is absolute. However, some situations could arise where the prosecutor does not believe you had the right to use deadly force in self-defense—and if that happens, you could face a murder charge.
Suppose you killed another person while defending your life or the life of another from a dangerous attack but got charged with murder. You would need to arm yourself with a lawyer willing to fight for you. In Denver and across Colorado, Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. is the law firm you can trust to fight aggressively to protect your rights. With several decades of experience litigating complex, serious cases, Gerah Steiner Blanton understands what it takes to argue self-defense successfully. Contact us today.
What Should You Do If You Use Deadly Force in Self-Defense?
If you are ever in a situation where you have had to use deadly force on someone, the best thing you can do is ask for a lawyer as soon as possible afterward. You might feel compelled to explain what happened immediately. However, you are better off if you do not talk to the police. You can invoke your right to remain silent with the police and speak to a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer before making a statement. Having an experienced lawyer with you through every step of the investigative process can help you avoid making mistakes that could jeopardize your future.
Speaking with an attorney before talking to the police does not prevent you from claiming self-defense. Instead, asking for a lawyer shows that you understand the gravity of the situation and want to protect yourself from possible criminal prosecution. The police and prosecution cannot use your silence against you during the investigation or in court. If you already gave a statement to the police without asking for a lawyer first, it’s okay. A skilled lawyer can still help protect you.
The Investigation—What to Expect
The police will likely start an investigation right away. Investigators will take the weapon you used to defend yourself, and they will probably send it to a forensic lab for testing.
The police will also talk to witnesses and look for surveillance footage of the incident. If the incident happened outside your home, they will likely scour nearby businesses or residences to see if anyone caught anything on tape. You do not have to turn over surveillance video if you have it, but the police are likely to get a search warrant for it.
Once the police collect all the evidence, they will likely consult the local prosecutor’s office to determine if there is enough evidence of wrongdoing to charge you with a crime.
Why Can You Be Charged with Murder for Self-Defense?
Self-defense is a full defense, meaning the jury should find you not guilty if you defended yourself according to Colorado law. If you do not follow the law, you could face murder, manslaughter, or criminally-negligent homicide charges.
Self-Defense Jury Instructions
Colorado Criminal Jury Instructions Section H12 (page 999) specifies what a jury may consider as evidence that a person was justified in using deadly force against another. A person can claim the use of deadly force when the actor has a reasonable belief that a lesser degree of force is insufficient to defend oneself or another person and:
- The actor harbors a reasonable belief that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or suffering significant bodily injury; or
- The person killed was about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling or business while committing a burglary; or
- The person killed is committing a kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault, or another assault.
Colorado’s general self-defense statute is sometimes called the Stand Your Ground Law.
In a homicide trial, a judge can instruct the jury concerning self-defense if there is evidence any of the above circumstances existed at the time of the killing.
The judge will not give the jury instruction on self-defense when:
- The accused provokes the use of unlawful force by the other person;
- The accused is the first aggressor—in which case he cannot claim self-defense unless the accused completely withdraws from the engagement and communicates that withdrawal;
- Both parties engaged in mutual combat; or
- The use of force occurred after discovering the victim’s sexual identity, including when the victim made advances toward the accused.
A judge has no authority to give a jury instruction if these circumstances exist at trial. However, the judge must allow the accused to argue self-defense if the accused presents any evidence the killing occurred in self-defense. In that instance, the judge can instruct the jury that the jury can reduce a murder charge to a lesser-included offense like manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.
Colorado’s Make My Day Law
The Colorado general assembly believes that Colorado citizens have an absolute right to feel safe in their homes. Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-1-704.5 is the Make My Day law. The law grants immunity from prosecution and civil liability if the occupant of the dwelling uses physical force, including deadly force, against someone who unlawfully enters a home and intends to commit a crime against a person or property. This section applies when the occupant of the dwelling reasonably believes that the person is committing or will commit a crime other than unlawful entry, and the occupant believes the intruder might use some physical force.
Under the Make My Day law, the prosecutor cannot bring criminal charges against you if you acted as per the statute. However, you are not entitled to use deadly force to protect a building from an unlawful trespass unless it is in response to a person’s attempt to commit first-degree arson.
Award-Winning Lawyers Willing to Fight for You
Call on the award-winning lawyers from Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. today for help with your self-defense claim. They are prepared to fight for you and protect your rights and freedom. We make a difference in the lives of our clients because we put them first. We keep our caseload small so that we can devote as much time as needed to your case. Contact us right now to learn more.