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What Are the Penalties for Repeat Drug Offenses in Colorado?

Posted on November 29, 2022

Many drug offenses are considered felonies in Colorado, especially if the charge is for a repeat offense. As a result, that often means more severe sentences and stricter requirements for parole or probation.

Factors Considered in Sentencing

A repeat drug-related felony offense is typically considered aggravating circumstances, which means sentencing will fall under the “aggravated range.” By law, your case is considered to have aggravating circumstances if you committed the drug crime while:

  • On parole for another felony;
  • On probation for or on bond while awaiting sentencing following revocation of probation for another felony;
  • Under confinement (e.g., in prison or any other correctional institution);
  • You were an escapee from a correctional institution for another felony;
  • On appeal bond following a conviction for another felony;
  • Any other factors the court deems appropriate;
  • Using, displaying, or in possession of a deadly weapon.
  • Using a child as an agent

Another fact the court will consider is whether the offense was part of a pattern of manufacturing, selling, dispensing, or distributing controlled substances.

Aggravated Sentencing for Drug Felonies in Colorado

The table below demonstrates the difference when a felony sentence is handed down on the aggravated range compared to the presumptive range.

Offense Level Presumptive Range Aggravated Range Mandatory Parole
Level 1 Drug Felony

8 to 32 years

$5,000 to $1,000,000

3 years
Level 2 Drug Felony

4 to 8 years

$3,000 to $750,000

8 to 16 years

$3,000 to $750,000

2 years
Level 3 Drug Felony 2 to 4 years

$2,000 to $500,000

4 to 6 years

$2,000 to $500,000

1 year
Level 4 Drug Felony

6 months to 1 year

$1,000 to $100,000

1 to 2 years

$1,000 to $1,000,000

1 year

Habitual Offender Provisions

As a general rule, if an offender is convicted of a level 1 drug felony and has two prior convictions for similar offenses, the court must impose a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 40 years.

If an offender is convicted of a drug felony and has been twice convicted of other distinct felonies within 10 years of the commission of that offense, the court’s sentence must be three times the maximum of the presumptive range for the class of felony of which a person is convicted (e.g., level 1, 2 or 3 drug felony). If the triggering offense is a level 1 drug felony, the sentence shall be 48 years.

Similarly, suppose an offender has been previously convicted of three distinct felonies within 10 years of another drug felony conviction. In that case, the court must hand down a sentence of four times the maximum of the presumptive range for the level of the felony conviction. In these situations, a Level 1 Drug Felony conviction would be a 64-year sentence.

A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one is facing a charge for a repeat drug offense, it is critical to speak to a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. We can help you build the strongest possible defense and may be able to negotiate a deal to reduce your charges and avoid aggravated sentencing. Call (970) 453-5533 or send us a message online to arrange a free consultation today.