Grand Junction Drug Crime Lawyers
What You Should Know About Drug Crimes on the Western Slope
Drug crimes aren’t as glamorous (or, most of the time, as violent) as many other Colorado offenses, but they’re punished just as harshly. When you’re convicted of a drug crime, it can affect every area of your life: where you can work, where you can live, your ability to drive, your personal relationships, your ability to vote or own a gun, and more.
If you have been accused of a drug crime of any kind, you should take action immediately to protect yourself. The legal team at Peters & Nolan, LLC, has handled thousands of these cases. Call today at (970) 243-4357 to see if we can help you clear your name.
What Do We Mean by Schedules?
The federal government classifies different drugs into categories based on their legitimate uses and the harmful effects they can cause. These categories are known as schedules. Most states, including Colorado, have modeled their drug laws on the federal guidelines and schedules.
Schedule I drugs include any substances that the government deems to have a high potential for abuse without any accepted medical use (or that are recognized as unsafe even under medical supervision). This list includes heroin and a wide range of hallucinogens (LSD, PCP, psilocybin, mescaline, and peyote). It should be noted that even though cannabis has been legalized for recreational use here in Colorado, it is still considered a schedule I drug by the federal government.
Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse but do have some recognized medical use with severe restrictions. These drugs include amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, barbiturates, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, opium, and fentanyl.
The other schedules are less restrictive and include substances we would consider to be prescription medicines. These can range from things as serious as anabolic steroids and benzphetamine, which are under Schedule III, to prescription cough suppressants in Schedule V.
The chart below provides more information regarding the various schedules:
What Drug Charges Are Most Common?
Law enforcement is likely to bring multiple charges against you in a drug case. When faced with multiple charges, defendants are more likely to plea bargain, because they risk stricter penalties if convicted, including prison terms and large fines.
The amount of a drug that police find on a person matters when it comes to how that person is charged. For each type or schedule of drug, there is a threshold amount - once surpassed, you will be charged with trafficking rather than possession. The threshold is much lower than you might think. When you breach it, you don’t need to make a sale to be charged with trafficking.
For instance, with Schedule I drugs such as heroin (as well as methamphetamine), possession of 7 grams (less than a quarter of an ounce) is enough to be charged with a Level 3 drug felony. Possession of 112 grams (under four ounces) can get you charged with a Level 1 drug felony. Stiff penalties will follow for a very small amount of these substances.
The mildest drug charges in Colorado are known as petty offenses. These would include things like public consumption of cannabis or possession of drug paraphernalia, such as hypodermic needles or drug containers. The penalty is generally a fine, something like a ticket, for an amount up to $100.
In Colorado, drug misdemeanors are divided into two categories: DM1, carrying a penalty of 6-18 months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines; and DM2, carrying between 0-12 months in jail and up to $750 in fines.
Drug felonies range from Level 1 to Level 4. A Level 3 drug felony (DF3), which can be charged for possession of 12 ounces of marijuana, can lead to a penalty of 2-6 years in prison, with fines up to $500,000. The most serious charge, Level 1 drug felony (DF1), calls for a prison sentence between 8 and 32 years, and fines up to $1 million!
It’s in your best interest to hire a Grand Junction criminal defense lawyer who knows the Western Slope, its prosecutors, its judges, and its courts. Andrew J. Peters and Andrew J. Nolan together have handled thousands of drug crime cases, and can definitely handle yours. Call today at (970) 243-4357 to request a free first consultation.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.