& Family Law Representation
Defending Drug Charges in Durango
Drug crimes are taken seriously in Colorado. Although marijuana has been legalized, there are a host of other controlled substances that can get you into trouble, whether you possess them or deal in them. Drug charges can be brought under state or federal law. These cases are sometimes pursued by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration when very large quantities of controlled substances are involved. Whether you are caught for a minor or a serious offense, you should consult the Durango drug defense attorneys at Greenberg, McGuinness & Alt. With our accumulated experience in this area, we know an array of strong defenses that we may be able to tailor to your specific situation.
Types of Drug Crimes in Colorado
Drug crimes in Colorado are handled according to a complex and challenging system, so you may want to ask an attorney about the specific charges that are pertinent to you. Generally, drug crimes include possession, manufacturing or cultivation, distribution or trafficking, and possession with intent to sell or distribute. Controlled substances include cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, MDMA, heroin, steroids, and prescription drugs obtained without a valid prescription. These substances are divided into five schedules, or categories, based on the likelihood that they will be abused.
Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse but also an accepted medical use. Schedule III drugs have a potential for abuse less than Schedule I or II drugs. Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential abuse than Schedule III drugs but may lead to limited psychological and physical dependence. Schedule V drugs are considered the least dangerous and have a currently accepted medical use.
Colorado has recently enacted new drug sentencing laws. These laws create four levels of felonies and two levels of misdemeanors. Drug felony level one charges are punishable by a mandatory sentence in prison of 8 to 32 years. Drug felony levels two through four carry a presumptive prison sentence of between 6 months and 8 years depending on the level of felony and individual case factors. These felony charges could carry an aggravated sentence of up to sixteen years. In addition individuals sentenced on drug felony level 2-4 sentences may be eligible for alternative sentences such as probation, work release, or a halfway house.
Misdemeanor drug charges are either level one, which cares a presumptive county jail sentence of between 6 months and 18 months, or level two which carries a presumptive jail sentence of up to 12 months. Both felony and misdemeanor charges carry mandatory drug offender surcharges, and possible fines of up to $1,000,000.
Drug convictions can follow you for the rest of your life, making it especially important to seek legal help in defending against any charges. Some kinds of work are closed or limited to those with a criminal record. Professional associations may choose not to admit you into a particular profession because you have a criminal record. Your ability to drive a taxi, get a gun, or run a liquor store could be affected because employers may immediately disqualify those applicants with a criminal record. The armed forces, police forces, the teaching profession, and political organizations may not accept you if they discover your conviction. Certain countries also refuse to give travel visas to those with criminal records.
As a student, drug convictions can affect your ability to be accepted, or continue in college, and may affect your ability to qualify for student loans.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Drug Crimes Attorney in Durango
Drug crime convictions can haunt you, but there are a number of good defenses that may help you fight the charges. Some of these defenses concern the procedures used to arrest you or collect the evidence that is vital to the prosecution’s case. There are also defenses based on the prosecution’s inability to prove an element of the crime, and there are defenses based on mistaken identity. Contact the Durango criminal defense lawyers of Greenberg, McGuinness & Alt. We have significant combined experience. Our office serves La Plata County, Archuleta County, Montezuma County, San Juan County as well as federal and Southern Ute Tribal Court jurisdiction. Call us today at (970) 259-4422, or fill out our online form to set up an initial consultation.