Based in Fort Collins, the Law Office of Andrew L. Bertrand provides strong criminal defense representation to clients accused of drug offenses in northern Colorado. As a former Drug Task Force probation officer, firm principal Andrew Bertrand has extensive knowledge of drug crimes and how they are prosecuted in Colorado courts.
Colorado law defines many different types of controlled substances and categorizes them into different "schedules" according to the perceived danger of the drug, the addictiveness of the substance, and whether the drug has any proven medical use. The substance schedule, which mirrors the federal government's drug schedule, is as follows:
- Schedule 1 - These drugs, including heroin, LSD, and marijuana, have a high risk of abuse, a high tendency for dependency, and have no current medically accepted use.
- Schedule 2 - These drugs, including opium, PCP, cocaine, methadone, and methamphetamine, have a high potential for abuse as well as severe dependency, but do have some medically accepted uses.
- Schedule 3 - When compared to Schedule 2 drugs, these drugs, including anabolic steroids, Vicodin, and codeine, have much less potential for abuse and dependency. They also have medically accepted uses.
- Schedule 4 - These drugs, such as Valium and Xanax, are most commonly used as tranquilizers and sedatives. They have a limited potential for dependency and abuse, along with their accepted medical use.
- Schedule 5 - In the final category are the least severe drugs, which have a low potential of abuse, limited risk of dependency, and widely accepted medical uses. These drugs include simple medications such as cough syrup.
Drug offenses can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors depending on the drug's classification, the quantity of the drug in possession, the purpose for which it is possessed, and any prior convictions. For example, possession of marijuana for personal use is usually charged as a petty offense or misdemeanor, while possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute may be charged as a felony. Please see our marijuana page for more information about laws and regulations related specifically to marijuana, including the use and distribution of medical marijuana.
Felony Distribution & Special Offender Charges
Colorado law mandates drug distribution, manufacturing, dispensing without a license, sale, or possession with intent to distribute as "extraordinary risk" crimes, which means extended prison sentences for convictions. For example, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, with no aggravating factors, could carry a prison sentence of up to 16 years for a first offense. In addition, the district attorney may file "special offender" charges if certain facts are present, such as a prior felony drug conviction, alleged distribution near a school, the use of special skill or knowledge, or the presence of a firearm. A special offender charge is a Class 2 felony punishable by eight to 24 years in prison and $5,000 to $1 million in fines.
Seek Experienced, Knowledgeable Representation
If you were arrested for a drug offense, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight the charges. Contact the Law Office of Andrew L. Bertrand today for a free initial consultation. We accept all major credit cards.