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Penalties for Colorado drug possession offenses

Under new legislation that took effect in early 2020, most drug possession offenses result in misdemeanor rather than felony charges in Colorado. The law covers any amount of Schedule III, IV or V substances as well as up to 4 grams of Schedule I and II substances. 

Review the possible penalties for drug possession in Colorado.  

Level 1 misdemeanor

Possession of Schedule I or II substances results in a level I misdemeanor in Colorado. A convicted person can receive two years probation for the first offense with up to 180 days in jail for violating probation. The maximum fine for this offense is $1,000. A third-time drug misdemeanor can carry up to 364 days in jail. 

Level 2 misdemeanor

This type of charge typically applies to possession of a controlled substance in Schedules III, IV or IV. It can also apply to unlawful use of a controlled substance. The convicted person can receive one year of probation with up to 120 days in jail for violating probation. The maximum fine for this offense is $500. For a third-time misdemeanor of this kind, a person can receive a jail sentence of up to 180 days. 

Felony offenses

Some drug-related crimes still result in felony charges in Colorado including: 

  • A fourth drug possession charge 
  • Possession of any amount of ketamine and other so-called “date rape drugs” 
  • Possession of any controlled substance with intent to distribute 
  • Manufacturing a controlled substance 

Colorado strives to provide mental health and addiction treatment to offenders who receive charges for drug and alcohol crimes. 

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