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Penalties for drug crimes in Colorado

Posted on January 6, 2020

Colorado courts typically consider drug possession for personal use a misdemeanor. Possession of large quantities of controlled substances or other evidence that indicates trafficking can result in felony charges.

Understand the penalties for various levels of drug crimes before facing state charges for these offenses.

Misdemeanor drug offenses

Huffing, which Colorado law defines as abusing toxic vapors, is the least severe drug crime. This Level 2 misdemeanor carries $50 to $750 in fines and a maximum of 12 months in prison.

Possession of drugs listed in Schedule III, IV or V is a level 1 misdemeanor. Examples of these substances include cough medicine with codeine; prescription drugs such as Xanax, Valium and Ambien; anabolic steroids; and Suboxone. Penalties include between 6 and 18 months in jail and $500 to $5,000 in fines.

Felony drug offenses

Certain drug crimes in Colorado result in felony charges. A level 4 felony involves possession of Schedule I or II drugs, such as cocaine, morphine, heroin, prescription opiates, Adderall, Ritalin, ecstasy and LSD, or sale of up to 4 grams of a Schedule III or IV substance. These penalties include six months to one year in jail and $1,000 to $100,000 in fines.

Level 3 felony charges result from selling up to 14 grams of a Schedule I or II controlled substance or selling an imitation of a controlled substance to an individual younger than 18. Penalties include two to four years in prison and $2,000 to $5,000 in fines.

A level 2 drug felony involves selling 14 to 225 grams of a Schedule I or II substance or selling materials to make methamphetamine or another controlled substance. These crimes carry four to eight years in prison and $3,000 to $750,000 in fines.

In addition, offenders may receive enhanced penalties for aggravating factors such as committing a drug offense while on parole. Some individuals may be eligible for a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time.