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Drug Felony Penalties and Crimes in Colorado


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The landscape of felony drug penalties in the state of Colorado has changed in recent years. With the decriminalization of marijuana and society demanding reform to many of the drug laws that have been in place for decades, Colorado’s drug laws have had an overhaul.

Currently, all the offenses previously listed under Colorado law as felonies, misdemeanors, or petty offenses, are now designated as drug felonies, drug misdemeanors, and drug petty offenses. This has led to a slightly lesser degree of punishment compared to the punitive scheme that applies to other felonies, and it was part of a general overhaul of Colorado’s approach to drug crimes that occurred in 2013.

Despite these reforms, being charged with felony drug penalties is a serious matter. Depending on the severity of the crime, individuals can serve up to 32 years in prison and pay up to $1 million in fines. If you or a loved one is facing felony drug crime charges, you need legal representation as soon as possible. Contact Peters & Nolan, LLC, at our Grand Junction office at (970) 243-4357 to see how our drug crime defense lawyers can help.

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Drug Felony Penalty Classifications

The classification for drug felonies in Colorado works in a sectioned system, ranking from Schedule 1 drug felonies (DF1) to Schedule 4 (DF4). The penalties for these classifications are:

Drug Felony 1 (DF1) Penalties

  • Minimum Sentence: 8 years
  • Maximum Sentence: 32 years
  • Mandatory Parole: 3 years
  • Fine: $5,000 to $1,000,000
  • DOS: $4,500

Drug Felony 2 (DF2) Penalties

  • Presumptive Sentence: 4 - 8 Years
  • Aggravated Sentence: 8 - 16 Years
  • Mandatory Parole: 2 Years
  • Fine: $3,000 - $750,000
  • DOS: $3,000

Drug Felony 3 (DF3) Penalties

  • Presumptive Sentence: 2 - 4 Years
  • Aggravated Sentence: 4 - 6 Years
  • Mandatory Parole: 1 Year
  • Fine: $2,000 - $500,000
  • DOS: $2,000

Drug Felony (DF4) Penalties

  • Presumptive Sentence: 6 Months - 1 Year
  • Aggravated Sentence: 1 - 2 Years
  • Mandatory Parole: 1 Year
  • Fine: $1,000 - $100,000
  • DOS: $1,500

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What is a DF1 Drug Crime?

DF1 drug crimes are viewed by the Colorado legal system as the harshest of drug violations. For this reason, they carry the most severe punishments and are pursued aggressively by prosecutors. DF1 drug crimes include:

  • 18-18-405- Distribution/manufacture/possession with intent to distribute more than 225 grams of Schedule I/II (over 8 oz.) or more than 112 grams of meth, heroin, ketamine, cathinone (over 4 oz.) or more than 50mg of Flunitrazipam.
  • 18-18-406- Distribution of more than 2 ½ pounds of marijuana, or 1 pound of concentrate to a minor and the person distributing is more than 2 years older. Distribution of Schedule I/II to a minor and the person distributing is more than 2 years older.
  • 18-18-407(1)- Special Circumstances Mandating DF1 Sentence including;
    1. Offense was part of a pattern of manufacturing, selling, dispensing, or distributing which constituted a substantial source of that person's income and in which the person manifested special skill or expertise.
    2. Offense was part of conspiracy to distribute, manufacture, or sell drugs and the defendant initiated, organized, planned, financed, directed, etc. part of conspiracy.
    3. Importation of more than 14 grams of Schedule I/II or 7 grams of meth, heroin, ketamine, cathinone, or more than 10 milligrams of flunitrazepam.
    4. Defendant, used, displayed, or possessed on his person or within immediate reach, a deadly weapon at the time of the commission of the offense.
    5. Defendant or a confederate possessed a firearm and had access in a manner that posed a risk to others or in a vehicle he was occupying at the time of the commission of the offense.
    6. Child agent to distribute or possess for sale.
    7. Continuing criminal enterprise and the violation is a continuing series of 2 or more violations on separate occasions undertaken with 5 or more, occupies a position of supervisor, and obtained a substantial portion of income.
    8. Manufacture, distribution, or possession with intent within 1000 feet of a school or public housing.

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What is a DF2 Drug Crime?

DF2 are the crimes listed just below in severity to DF1 drug crimes. These include:

  • 18-18-405- Distribution/manufacture/possession with intent to distribute more than ½ oz. to ½ pound of Schedule I/II (between 14 grams and 225 grams) or more than ¼ oz. up to ¼ pound of meth, heroin, ketamine, or cathinone (between 7 grams and 112 grams) or more than 10 milligrams up to 50 milligrams of Flunitrazipam.
    Distribution of scheduled III/IV to a minor and person distributing is more than 2 years older.
  • 18-18-406- Distribution of 6 oz. to 2 ½ pounds of marijuana, or 3 oz. to 1 pound of concentrate to a minor and the person distributing is more than 2 years older. Distribution/manufacture/possession with intent to distribute marijuana (not otherwise allowed by regulatory scheme) 5 - 50 pounds or 2 ½ - 25 pounds of concentrate.
  • 18-18-406.2- Distribution of synthetic cannabinoids to a minor if person distributing is more than 2 years older.
  • 18-18-412.5- Possession of material to make methamphetamine.
  • 18-18-412.7- Sales of materials to manufacture controlled substances.
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    What is a DF3 Drug Crime?

    The DF3 drug crimes in the state of Colorado are:

  • 18-18-405- Distribution/manufacture/possession with intent to distribute less than ½ oz. of Schedule I/II (less than ¼ oz. of meth, heroin, ketamine, or cathinone (less than 7 grams) or less than 10 milligrams of Flunitrazipam. Distribution/manufacture/possession with intent to distribute more than 4 grams of a Schedule III/IV.
  • 18-18-406- Distribution of 1 oz. to 6 oz. of marijuana, or ½ oz. to 3 oz. of concentrate to a minor and a person distributing is more than 2 years older. Processing or manufacturing marijuana or concentrate, or permitting on land owned or controlled by you, not otherwise allowed by regulatory scheme.
    Distribution/manufacture/possession with intent to distribute marijuana (not otherwise allowed by regulatory scheme) 12 oz. - 5 pounds or 6 oz. - 2 ½ pounds of concentrate.
    Cultivation of more than 30 plants.
  • 18-18-406.2- Distribution of synthetic cannabinoids.
  • 18-18-416- Inducing consumption by fraudulent means.
  • 18-18-422- Distribution of imitation controlled substances to a minor and person distributing is more than 2 years older.
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    What is a DF4 Drug Crime?

    The DF4 drug crimes in the state of Colorado are:

  • 18-18-403.5- Possession of Schedule I/II narcotics.
  • 18-18-405- Distribution /manufacture/ possession with intent to distribute 4 grams or less of Schedule III/IV.
  • Distribution of 4 grams or less of Schedule I/II or 2 grams of less of meth, heroin, ketamine, flunitrazipam if transfer was for purpose of consuming all of the controlled substance at a time substantially contemporaneous with the transfer. (Sharing).
  • 18-18-406- Distribution of less than one ounce of marijuana, or ½ oz. of concentrate to a minor and the person distributing is more than 2 years older.
    Distribution/manufacture/possession with intent to distribute marijuana (not otherwise allowed by regulatory scheme) 4 - 12 oz. or 2 - 6 oz. of concentrate.
    Cultivation of 6 - 30 plants.
    Possession of more than 12 oz. of marijuana or 3 oz. of marijuana concentrate.
  • 18-18-415- Script fraud.
  • 18-18-422- Manufacture, sale, possession with intent to distribute imitation controlled substances.
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    Contact Peters & Nolan, LLC

    No matter what kind of drug felony charge that you are facing, you need legal help to prevent potential jail time, fines, and a damaged reputation. The veteran legal team at Peters & Nolan, LLC, believes in everyone’s right to a fair and speedy trial. We have successfully defended our clients on multiple occasions over a variety of different drug related charges. Call us at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free consultation.

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    Call Peters & Nolan, LLC at 970-243-4357 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.

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    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.

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