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Drug Sentencing Alternatives in CO

A conviction for drug possession in Colorado carries harsh criminal penalties, including costly fines and even a jail or prison sentence ranging from several months to years. However, state criminal courts understand that most low-level drug offenders are battling substance abuse and addiction, which is why these defendants have a few options to pursue rehabilitation in lieu of incarceration. 

Pretrial Diversion 

If you are charged with a first-time misdemeanor drug offense in Colorado, you are eligible for pretrial diversion, in which a court will delay your case for up to two years and allow you to complete a drug treatment program. If you meet all the conditions of the program, all your charges will be dismissed. 

During the diversionary period, you must adhere to the following rules: 

  • Attend drug counseling groups and/or classes 

  • Participate in court-ordered mental health treatment, parenting classes, and/or other classes or treatments 

  • Comply with random drug testing 

  • Pay court-ordered fees 

  • No use of alcohol or drugs, including medical marijuana and prescribed medicine 

  • No firearm possession 

  • No serious traffic violations 

A Deferred Sentence 

Also known as “wobbler” sentencing, if you have been charged with a low-level felony drug offense, the court will allow you to defer sentencing for up to four years (following a guilty or no-contest plea) and participate in a drug treatment program while on probation. If you successfully complete drug treatment and all conditions associated with probation, your felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor. 

A wobbler reduction applies to the following drug crimes

  • Possession of no more than four (4) grams of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, two (2) grams of heroin, ketamine, or methamphetamine, or four (4) milligrams of flunitrazepam 

  • Possession of no more than 12 ounces of cannabis or over three (3) ounces of hashish 

  • A level 4 drug felony 

  • Obtaining a drug through deceit or fraud 

You are not eligible for wobbler sentencing if you have been previously convicted of a violent crime in any state or have two or more prior felony convictions for drug crimes, violent crimes, or sex crimes. 

Drug Court 

If you are eligible for pretrial diversion or deferred sentencing, then your case may go through Colorado drug court, which is separate from criminal court. Drug court provides increased supervision for highly addicted offenders compared to standard probation. 

After being arrested for a drug crime, probation services will determine your risk level according to the Adults Substance Use Survey (ASUS) and the Level of Supervision Inventory (LSI). If you are eligible for drug court, you must successfully undergo counseling and treatment, random drug testing, appear in court hearings, and fulfill other conditions to have your charges dismissed. 

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Denver, contact the Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. today at (303) 622-3281 for a free case evaluation. Our firm has more than 33 years of trial-tested experience!