Fort Collins Drug Possession Lawyer
Dedicated to Upholding Your Rights
If you have been charged with drug possession, it is crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. There is much at stake in this type of case, and Mr. Kevin Churchill is a Fort Collins drug possession attorney who is prepared to help you build a strategic defense to get your charges reduced or dropped.
Contact the Law Office of Kevin R. Churchill to schedule a free consultation and discuss your rights and options.
Drug Possession in Colorado
Within Colorado criminal law, drugs are referred to as "controlled substances" and categorized into "schedules." In Colorado, the schedules are based upon the federal drug schedules. The schedule of the drug that you are accused of possessing is very important and will determine what degree of crime it is, and what type of sentence you may get if convicted.
There are three factors which generally govern the severity of the crime:
- The quantity
- The schedule
- The reason you possess it
Possessing a drug for personal use is generally considered less serious than producing or manufacturing the drug or selling the drug. The greater the amount of the drug that you have, the more likely you will be charged with possession with intent to distribute. The District Attorney will argue at trial that the amount you had was more than a person would use for themselves.
For example, in Colorado, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is charged as a petty offense. Generally, a person does not go to jail for a petty offense, but instead will likely be placed on probation and ordered to do public service and pay fines and court costs. However, more than 1 ounce of marijuana will lead to felony charges.
Penalties for Drug Possession in Colorado
The consequences of possessing a controlled substance in Colorado depend on the type and amount of the drugs one possesses. Those crimes that are considered a lesser offense will be charged as misdemeanors, which result in less severe penalties than offenses that are charged as felonies.
The penalties for drug possession include:
- Drug Felony 1: 8 to 32 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000
- Drug Felony 2: 4 to 8 years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $750,000
- Drug Felony 3: 2 to 4 years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000
- Drug Felony 4: 6 months to 1 year in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000
- Drug Misdemeanor 1: 6 months to 18 months in jail and a fine of $500 to $5,000
- Drug Misdemeanor 2: Up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $50 to $750
There are enhanced penalties for drug crimes in Colorado, depending on the circumstances. Facts that may lead to enhanced penalties include whether minors were used to distribute the drugs, whether the drugs were given to minors, or whether the drugs were distributed anywhere near school property. Those who are charged with drug possession while on parole or probation for another felony are also subject to higher penalties.
The Fourth Amendment & Drug Cases
Your Constitutional Rights under the Fourth Amendment often come into play in drug cases. Your Fourth Amendment Rights against unlawful searches and seizures are often violated by the police when they are searching for drugs or other evidence. An experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer can recognize whether the Constitution was followed, and may be able to get rid of, or "suppress," the evidence against you. By weakening the District Attorney’s case, your lawyer can force him to deal the case, and give you the opportunity to plead guilty to reduced charges.
You have a Constitutional right not to be searched by any member of the government unless they have a valid reason. If the police ask you if they can search you, your home, your vehicle, and so on, then they likely have doubts about whether they have the legal right to search you. When they have the proper legal basis already, they are not going to bother asking. If they have a warrant, it is best to step aside and allow the search. If they don’t have a warrant, however, you have a right not to consent, and if they ask you if they can search, you should say no.
To learn more about how this Fort Collins drug possession lawyer can help you fight your charges, contact the Law Office of Kevin R. Churchill at (970) 238-2982.