Archive for the ‘ Drug Crimes ’ Category

Arrested For Trafficking? Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted on: April 18, 2019 by in Drug Crimes
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Bill SB967

Despite the recent changes in the marijuana laws, many other drug laws in Colorado are now harsher than they were only a few years back. What are the penalties for drug trafficking, and how can a Denver drug crimes attorney defend yourself if Colorado authorities charge you with a drug trafficking crime?

You will also learn what steps you must take if you are charged – rightly or wrongly – with drug trafficking by state or federal authorities or with violating any of the other drug laws in this state.

Q: HOW IS “DRUG TRAFFICKING” DEFINED IN COLORADO?

A: Drug trafficking happens when someone moves large amounts of illegal drugs for the purpose of distribution. Under Colorado law, trafficking may also include:

  • manufacturing, dispensing, or distributing an illegal drug
  • possession of chemicals, supplies, and/or equipment for illegal drug manufacturing

Q: HOW DOES COLORADO HANDLE DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES?

A: Drug trafficking in Colorado is almost always charged as a felony. Trafficking is a misdemeanor only when it involves:

  • a drug classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a schedule V drug
  • transferring (without selling) four grams or fewer of a schedule III or schedule IV drug

Q: WHEN IS DRUG TRAFFICKING A FEDERAL CRIME?

A: A variety of both federal and state drug trafficking laws have been established. The federal drug trafficking laws are designed so that federal law enforcement agencies can essentially intervene or take over drug trafficking cases whenever they choose to.

courthouse columns

Still, most drug trafficking cases will be charged at the state level unless:

  • A large trafficking operation is investigated and uncovered by federal drug agents.
  • The drug trafficking was accomplished by crossing a state line.

Q: DOES TRAFFICKING CANNABIS REMAIN ILLEGAL?

A: The state of Colorado has tried to make it abundantly clear that when marijuana legally produced in this state crosses a state line, the marijuana is no longer legal, and drug trafficking has been committed. Trafficking across a state line is also likely to trigger a federal charge.

Q: HOW DOES COLORADO PENALIZE A DRUG TRAFFICKING CONVICTION?

A: Colorado drug trafficking laws are aggressively enforced, and most defendants who are convicted may expect harsh penalties:

  • for a Class 1 felony: from 8 to 32 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million
  • for a Class 2 felony: from 4 to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000
  • for a Class 3 felony: from 2 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000
  • for a Class 1 misdemeanor: from 6 to 18 months in custody and a fine of up to $5,000

arrestee in handcuffs

Penalties can be even harsher if a convicted offender has previous drug convictions, if the crime happened in the vicinity of a school, or if juveniles or firearms were involved with the crime in any way.

Q: HOW ARE FEDERAL DRUG TRAFFICKING CONVICTIONS PENALIZED?

A: If you’re convicted in a federal court of trafficking illegal drugs, the penalties that may be imposed include:

  • probation for one to three years
  • a fine that could be as much as $1 million
  • a prison term of up to ten years – and longer if firearms were involved in the crime

Some drug convictions at the federal level mandate minimum prison sentences. If you are convicted of a federal drug trafficking charge, you will almost certainly serve a minimum term of five years in federal prison.

Q: COULD YOU FACE BOTH FEDERAL AND STATE CHARGES?

A: Yes, you could face federal and state drug trafficking charges at the same time. If you are dealing with legal charges at both levels simultaneously, the legal complications will be enormous.

In Colorado, if you are charged with drug trafficking in federal court, state court, or both courts simultaneously, you must obtain sound legal advice and aggressive defense representation from a reliable defense lawyer who has abundant experience handling drug trafficking cases.

Q: WHAT LEGAL DEFENSES CAN BE OFFERED IN TRAFFICKING CASES?

A: If you are charged with a drug trafficking crime in Colorado, you must contact an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney immediately. A good criminal defense lawyer will protect your rights, fight for the justice you need, and bring your case to its best possible conclusion.

The legal strategy your attorney pursues in your defense must be based on the specific details of the charge against you, but generally speaking, these are the defenses most commonly offered by good defense attorneys in drug trafficking cases:

  • The drugs were not yours, and you did not know anything about them.
  • The police gathered the evidence against you by violating your constitutional rights.
  • The drugs were for your personal use, and you had no intention of trafficking the drugs.

drug crimes lawyers in CO

Depending on the particulars of your case, your defense lawyer will determine the most effective and appropriate defense strategy for contesting the charge or charges against you.

If the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights, it is possible that incriminating evidence against you will be suppressed, and sometimes that’s enough to have the charge against you reduced or entirely dismissed.

Q: HOW WILL TOP LAW FIRMS HELP YOU FIGHT A DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGE?

A: If you’re charged with trafficking or any other drug crime in Colorado, contact an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. In a drug trafficking case, a good defense attorney will:

  • ensure that you don’t incriminate yourself during questioning
  • try to have the charge dismissed, or the evidence against you suppressed
  • recommend entering a guilty plea or a not guilty plea
  • negotiate with a prosecutor and recommend accepting or rejecting a plea bargain
  • represent you at all courtroom hearings
  • offer the most appropriate legal defense
  • represent you at trial (if your case goes to trial)

Q: WILL YOU BE CONVICTED IF YOU’RE CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING?

A: Do not presume that a trafficking charge automatically means a conviction. Drug trafficking charges, in many cases, are difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The state may not have sufficient evidence to convict you or may not be able to prove that you intended to traffic drugs.

state's evidence

If you are charged with any drug crime in Colorado, you must select a defense attorney who has ample experience with drug cases, who can find the flaws in the government’s case against you, and who will work resolutely for the justice you deserve. A good lawyer’s help is your right.

What Happens When You Violate Court-Ordered Rehab?

Posted on: March 18, 2019 by in Drug Crimes
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Court-ordered rehabilitation is alternative sentencing for persons who are being sentenced for drug crimes. When someone is ordered to counseling and rehabilitation rather than jail, it’s because a judge thinks the offender would benefit more from rehabilitation than incarceration.

Court-ordered drug or alcohol rehabilitation is frequently the sentence that is imposed on many first-time, non-violent drug offenders in most states, including Colorado. But what can happen if a convicted drug offender avoids or refuses to participate in court-ordered rehabilitation? Can a Denver drug crimes law firm help?

And what if you are the person who is – wrongly or rightly – arrested and charged with a drug crime in Colorado? What steps will you need to take?

WHAT DO DRUG COURT PROGRAMS TRY TO ACHIEVE?

Drug Courts for adult offenders are aimed at helping those offenders complete court-ordered drug treatment successfully with supervision, monitoring, incentives, and counseling. Drug Courts hold participants responsible and help them develop the skills for long-term sobriety.

group therapy in drug court

The concept of Drug Courts is about two decades old now, and the criminal justice researchers are telling us that Drug Courts work. Drug Courts seem to reduce crime and decrease drug abuse more effectively than any other current strategy available to the criminal justice system.

The first Drug Court for adults in Colorado was established in La Plata County in 2001. More than three thousand Drug Courts now operate in various jurisdictions across the United States.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR DRUG COURT? WHO DOESN’T?

If you’re accused of possessing a large quantity of drugs, or if you have extensive previous criminal convictions, you likely will not qualify for Drug Court, and you’ll be sentenced without Drug Court as a sentencing option if you are convicted of the drug charge by a criminal court.

In Denver, however, the District Attorney has the discretion to exclude an offender from Drug Court participation and may recommend individuals who otherwise would be excluded.

legal books and gavel

If you’re accepted for the Drug Court program, it is offered to you as part of a plea deal, and you must enter a guilty plea to the drug charge or to a reduced charge. Usually, a deferred sentence or a misdemeanor conviction is offered as the alternative to a felony conviction.

WHAT ARE THE THREE PHASES OF A COLORADO DRUG COURT PROGRAM?

If you accept the terms of the Drug Court program, you are sentenced to probation and ordered into the program, which takes place in three phases. Each phase lasts for at least ninety days, and additional penalties may be imposed on those who do not complete all three phases:

  • Phase One in a Colorado Drug Court program focuses on treatment, alcohol and drug monitoring, community service, weekly consultations with a probation officer, and bi-monthly appearances before a judge for a Drug Court review.
  • Phase Two reduces the number of meetings required with a probation officer and the number of court appearances that are required – provided that the offender has been compliant with all of the other conditions and terms of the Drug Court program.
  • In Phase Three, community service is concluded, and the offender’s court costs are paid in full.

When the participant concludes Phase Three, he or she “graduates” from the Drug Court program, provided that there have been 120 consecutive days of clean drug screens.

WHAT IF SOMEONE REFUSES TO PARTICIPATE?

Colorado’s Drug Court programs use rewards and sanctions. Sanctions for violating the conditions and terms of the program may include additional monitoring, more meetings with a probation officer, additional community service, or incarceration.

What can happen if a convicted offender avoids or refuses court-ordered rehabilitation? An offender who is offered a Colorado Drug Court program and refuses to participate or avoids participation will almost certainly be ordered to serve his or her full sentence behind bars.

If you’re arrested for a drug offense in Colorado – anything from a serious felony charge for trafficking to a misdemeanor charge for possession for personal use – you must have your attorney present for any questioning or exercise your right to remain silent.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE IF YOU ARE ARRESTED?

After an arrest, don’t say anything, sign anything, or agree to anything until you are able to consult with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney. Don’t try to be your own attorney. You will need a lawyer who has considerable experience in Colorado drug cases.

prison fence

The Drug Courts in Colorado reduce drug crimes, repair lives, and bring real hope to scores of convicted drug offenders and their families – for less cost to the taxpayer than prisons and jails.

Of course, if you’re charged with a drug crime, and you’re innocent, tell your attorney and do not accept any plea deal. If you are innocent, and the charge against you cannot be dropped or dismissed, you have the right to a trial by jury, where your attorney will ask jurors to acquit you.

HOW WILL A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM FIGHT ON YOUR BEHALF?

If your rights were violated by the police during an investigation, an interrogation, a search, or an arrest, your lawyer may be able to have the charge against you dismissed. To obtain a conviction, the state must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that’s not always easy.

You may also be innocent of a drug charge if you’ve been misidentified or if someone has fabricated an allegation against you. If you are innocent of the crime you are charged with, tell your attorney to “go the distance” on your behalf.

However, if you’re in court for a first drug offense in Colorado, and you’re guilty, Drug Court may, in fact, be the best option available. The goals of Drug Court participants are rehabilitation, personal accountability, long-term success with drug and alcohol issues, and a crime-free future.

COULD A DRUG COURT PROGRAM BE RIGHT FOR YOU?

Persons of all ages, races, and income levels – even those who’ve struggled with addiction for years – have successfully completed a Drug Court program in Colorado. Across the nation, thousands succeed and overcome their substance abuse issues with the help of drug courts.

drug court success

If you are charged with a drug crime, an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney can tell you more about Drug Court and determine if you qualify. The most important thing to remember is that if you are arrested, you must obtain a reliable defense attorney’s help – immediately.

DUIDs In Colorado – What Drugs Count?

Posted on: December 18, 2017 by in Denver DUI, Drug Crimes
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Precisely what does it mean to drive “under the influence” of drugs? Are prescription and over-the-counter drugs included? What is the penalty in Colorado for DUID – driving under the influence of drugs? Can a drug crimes attorney help?

And if you are accused – rightly or wrongly – of DUID in Colorado, what recourse do you have? You’re about to learn the answers, and if you drive in this state, you need to know.

Drugged driving is a genuine concern to anyone and everyone who travels on Colorado’s streets and highways.

Under the law in Colorado, a person who is “under the influence” of drugs may not drive a motor vehicle, and motorists are under the influence when their driving ability is deemed to be “substantially impaired.”

A conviction for DUID will be handled very much like a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, with basically the same penalties.

It makes no difference whether the drugs that impair your ability to drive are legal or illegal. A doctor’s prescription will not help if you are prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs.

Pharmaceuticals and even some over-the-counter drug products can impair your ability to drive just as severely as alcohol or illegal “street” drugs.

WHAT DRUGS ARE FREQUENTLY LINKED TO DUID?

The “drugs” in “driving under the influence of drugs” can be any chemical substance that impairs someone’s ability to drive.

Since the 2012 legalization of marijuana in Colorado for personal recreational use, as you might imagine, an increasing number of DUID charges in Colorado are marijuana-related.

But using any of the drugs listed here – and then getting behind the wheel – can also lead to a driving under the influence of drugs charge: cocaine, methamphetamines, LSD, Ecstasy, Xanax, Valium, Vicodin, Ambien, Percocet, and almost any prescription drug.

More obscure street drugs with names like “spice” and “bath salts” can have unpredictable and dangerous effects. Never use these drugs before driving.

A DUI suspect can be tested using a breathalyzer to determine the suspect’s “level” of intoxication, but when the police suspect a motorist of driving under the influence of drugs, they have no way to determine a level of impairment.

Even if the driver submits to a blood or urine test, the test cannot indicate “how much” a driver is impaired at the moment that driver was pulled over by the police.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Thus, in Colorado, the charge of driving under the influence of drugs does not consider a legal limit or legal level of intoxication.

A driver using any amount of an intoxicating drug can be charged with DUID. DUID arrests have increased dramatically in recent years, and drivers accused of driving under the influence of drugs are aggressively prosecuted in the state of Colorado.

A 2013 statute adopted by Colorado lawmakers allows – but does not mandate – a conviction in DUID cases when a driver’s blood test shows five or more nanograms per milliliter of tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC,” the active ingredient in marijuana.

The law creates a “rebuttable presumption” that drivers who meet or exceed the five-nanogram threshold are guilty of DUID, but juries may still consider evidence that the driver was not actually impaired.

In most cases, DUID is charged as a misdemeanor in Colorado, and a misdemeanor DUID conviction can be punished with a jail term ranging from ten days to one year.

In many cases, jail time can be suspended if the defendant completes a drug or alcohol evaluation and treatment program.

Additional penalties can include up to 96 hours of community service, a fine of up to $1,000, a driver’s license revocation, and up to 12 points on the offender’s driving record.

WHEN IS DUID A FELONY IN COLORADO?

However, any motorist who is accused of driving under the influence of drugs in Colorado will face a felony charge if he or she already has three or more separate prior convictions – in any U.S. state or territory – for any of these charges: DUID, DUI or DWI, driving while ability impaired (DWAI), wet reckless, vehicular assault, and/or vehicular homicide.

Anyone who is convicted of a driving under the influence of drugs felony charge in Colorado – the equivalent of a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction – could serve as much as six years in prison and could be fined as much as $500,000.

Three years of parole may also be imposed after the offender is released from prison.

HOW CAN A DUI ATTORNEY HELP?

If you are arrested and charged with DUID, a skilled Denver DUI defense attorney can examine the facts of the case and develop a defense strategy on your behalf.

The most effective defense for every case will be different, but in many DUID cases, the defense may challenge the constitutionality of a traffic stop or search, or your attorney instead may challenge the accuracy of any blood or urine tests offered as evidence against you.

In some driving under the influence of drugs cases, your attorney will be able to have the charge reduced or entirely dismissed.

However, when the evidence against you is persuasive, and when a conviction is probably inevitable, an experienced defense attorney may be able to arrange for a plea bargain that includes reduced or alternative sentencing.

Instead of a breathalyzer test, if a Colorado police officer has probable cause to believe that a driver is under the influence of drugs, the officer can request a blood test.

If you refuse to take a blood test for DUID when requested, your driver’s license will be revoked, the court can order mandatory drug education before your license can be reinstated, and you may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle before you resume driving.

WHAT IF YOU ARE WRONGLY ACCUSED?

What if you are wrongly accused of driving under the influence of drugs?

There a number of reasons why a motorist who is not under the influence of drugs may appear to be; fatigue, a medical condition, and even excessively bright light can sometimes cause a sober person to seem intoxicated.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs in Colorado, do not try to act as your own lawyer. Too much is at stake, and drug laws are exceedingly complicated.

You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to have an attorney present during any questioning.

If you’re placed under arrest for DUID, exercise those rights, because your best hope for justice is obtaining legal help from a qualified Denver DUI defense attorney.

Colorado Puts New Limits On Home-Grown Marijuana

Posted on: April 18, 2017 by in Drug Crimes
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After more than three years of legal recreational marijuana in the state of Colorado, and in an effort to obstruct illegal marijuana trafficking, both the Colorado House and the Colorado Senate have approved new legislation that lowers the legal limit for residential marijuana growers from 99 plants to 12 plants per household.

Medical marijuana patients and their caregivers can ask the state for an exemption that will allow them to grow up to 24 plants.

The legislation substantially reduces the ability of Coloradans to grow marijuana at their private residences. Law enforcement authorities say that large-scale pot distributors and international crime organizations are taking advantage of the current 99-plant limit.

The legislation is part of a wider effort this year by Governor John Hickenlooper to enhance law enforcement in the “gray market,” where cannabis is cultivated legally but is distributed and sold illegally.

Several rural regions of Colorado have been sites where large-scale cannabis cultivation operations have grown with virtually no oversight. Some Colorado sheriffs and police departments have hesitated to take action because of a lack of precision in the language of the state’s marijuana regulations, and the neighbors of some of the cultivating operations have said those operations are growing unchecked.

The new legislation should provide the state’s law enforcement officers with the tools they have needed to keep marijuana growers in compliance with the law.

WHY DO SOME BELIEVE THE NEW LEGISLATION IS IMPORTANT?

Supporters of the new legislation believe that the reduction of the residential growing cap to 12 plants will help the police deter black market growers and protect residential neighborhoods with children.

Police Chief John Jackson of Greenwood Village, who heads up the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, said in support of the legislation, “The current limit of 99 plants is a massive loophole in our state law that attracts criminal elements from across our nation in search of a quick buck.”

Chief Jackson added, “Police deserve to know where these growing operations are as they masquerade themselves into these family neighborhoods.”

Violent crime has dropped in Colorado since marijuana became legal here, but recent sting operations conducted by Colorado law enforcement agencies found that some residential pot growers move their marijuana across state lines – where the profits may be far more lucrative.

Supporters argue that the new legislation – House Bill 1220 – will reduce the ability of these operations to continue their criminal activity.

Colorado House Majority Leader K.C. Becker told the Colorado Statesman, “Stopping diversion to the black or gray market is a significant benefit of the bill. We hope the bill can stop cartels, or really anyone who thinks they have an opportunity to discreetly grow in homes in Colorado.”

Unanimous support for the bill in both the Colorado House and the Colorado Senate came after police associations, local governments, patient groups, and the governor’s office agreed to a compromise.

Proponents of the legislation point to another benefit of House Bill 1220.

As the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened to crack down on states where marijuana is legal, HB 1220 helps Colorado legislators resist federal intervention by demonstrating that the state is actively and successfully regulating its cannabis industry without federal oversight.

WHAT WILL BE THE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING THE 12-PLANT RULE?

Anyone convicted of violating the new law can be penalized with a $1,000 fine for a first offense. Subsequent offenses for 13 to 24 plants will be a misdemeanor offense, and subsequent offenses for more than 24 plants will be considered a felony.

Anyone who is charged with violating HB 1220 – or any of this state’s other marijuana laws – should contact a qualifed Denver criminal defense attorney. By the time you read this, Governor Hickenlooper will most likely have signed HB 1220 into law. It will take effect beginning in 2018.

In a related development, Governor Hickenlooper is one of four governors who recently appealed to the Trump Administration to cooperate with the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.

White House spokesperson Sean Spicer told reporters they can expect “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws by the Trump Administration, although it is unclear precisely what greater enforcement might mean.

Along with the governors of Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, Governor Hickenlooper addressed a public letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The letter insists that marijuana legalization has expanded the economies of the four states and that a federal pot “crackdown” in 2017 “would divert existing marijuana product into the black market.”

In Colorado alone, pot retailers, growers, product manufacturers, and packagers have created thousands of jobs. In 2015, they generated an extra $135 million for the state of Colorado – resources that support law enforcement and drug education programs.

SHOULD POT USERS STILL WORRY ABOUT BREAKING THE LAW?

In Colorado, if you are 21 years old, you can purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Only patients approved for medical cannabis use may possess more than an ounce at a time. Nevertheless, marijuana users still have some legal concerns that they cannot afford to overlook – such as the possibility of being prosecuted for driving under the influence of marijuana.

A first conviction for driving under the influence in Colorado is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, participation in court-ordered drug education classes, and up to 96 hours of community service.

Anyone who is charged with marijuana-DUI, with possessing more than an ounce of pot, or with selling marijuana to a minor will need the help of an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney.

Legal marijuana is still in the “experimental” stage in Colorado, so specific marijuana laws and regulations are evolving and changing rapidly.

Location is a factor as well, since the state gives local jurisdictions a great deal of discretion and authority to regulate legal marijuana in their own communities.

Has the “experiment” with recreational marijuana been a success so far for the state of Colorado? A billion-dollar-a-year industry has emerged since in this state since cannabis became legal.

Certainly, a number of details and problems remain to be ironed out, but overall, most knowledgeable observers agree that so far, the state of Colorado’s experiment with legalizing marijuana has been a success.

How Does Drug Court Work In Denver?

Posted on: January 25, 2017 by in Drug Crimes
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A drug conviction in the state of Colorado can result in thousands of dollars in fines, incarceration in a correctional facility, and a permanent criminal record. Any Colorado drug conviction will damage the offender’s ability to find work and even to find housing in the future. These are consequences that can permanently impact someone’s life. Anyone who is accused of any drug crime in the state of Colorado will need to contact an experienced Denver drug crimes attorney.

The Denver District Attorney’s Drug Unit – consisting of five attorneys and an investigator – works closely with the Denver Police Department and the Denver Drug Court. The Drug Unit aggressively prosecutes and closely supervises drug offenders. Many drug offenders may be eligible for Denver’s Drug Court, a special court that works with the Drug Unit to help offenders deal their individual substance abuse problems.

Drug courts are specialized court programs that target criminal defendants and offenders, juvenile offenders, and parents who have alcohol and other drug dependency problems. In 2015, the National Institute of Justice estimated that more than 3,000 drug courts were operating in various jurisdictions across the United States. The majority of the nation’s drug courts target adults, but a growing number of drug court programs are also now aimed at juveniles.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE DENVER DRUG COURT PROGRAM?

The Denver District Attorney’s Drug Unit assesses the felony drug arrests of adults in the City and County of Denver within 2 days of the arrest. The Drug Unit first decides if charges should be filed, and if so, precisely which charges. If the suspect is a first-time offender accused of possessing a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use, the suspect may be eligible for Drug Court. What disqualifies a suspect from participation in Drug Court?:

• a prior conviction for any act instrumental in causing serious bodily injury or death
• a prior conviction for any felony violation involving the possession, use, or threat to use a deadly weapon
• a previous conviction for any criminal offense based on or involving a sex crime
• a charge of possessing over 25 grams of a controlled substance with the intent to sell
• a history of violent behavior demonstrating unsuitability for Drug Court
• residing outside of the Denver metro area
• being currently on parole

The Denver District Attorney’s office has complete discretion to exclude any offender from participation in Drug Court and may also recommend for participation suspects who would otherwise be excluded. If a defendant is accepted for Drug Court, a hearing is conducted before a Drug Court Magistrate, and the defendant has the opportunity to plead guilty and receive sentencing.

Subsequent to Drug Court sentencing, felony offenders are supervised by the Denver District Court Probation Department and misdemeanor offenders are supervised by the Denver County Court Probation Department. If the offender is in custody at the time of his or her sentencing, the Drug Court Magistrate will order and schedule the offender’s release from custody to probation the next day.

WHAT DOES DRUG COURT REQUIRE?

Upon conviction, every offender who is a participant in the Denver Drug Court Program must complete supervision in three phases. When the three phases have been successfully completed, a convicted offender then graduates from the Drug Court Program. Those who fail to complete all three phases of the Drug Court Program may have their probation revoked and suffer additional penalties.

Phase One of the Drug Court Program includes eight to ten urine screens a month; participation in a treatment program; appearances in Drug Court for review hearings; and meetings with a probation officer as scheduled. Phase Two includes four to five urine screens a month; participation in a treatment program; appearances in Drug Court for review hearings; community service hours; and continuing compliance with the terms and conditions of probation.

Phase Three of the Drug Court Program includes a urine screen two to three times a month; appearances in Drug Court for review hearings; continuing compliance with the terms and conditions of probation; completion of a treatment program; completion of community service hours; and finally, graduation from the Drug Court Program. Graduates of the program are required to meet with a probation officer regarding their post-graduation obligations.

WHAT HAPPENS AT DRUG COURT REVIEW HEARINGS?

Drug Court participants can be assured that urine screening results and in-court admissions of their alcohol and drug use will be used by the Denver District Attorney’s Office only in the Drug Court case and will not be used by the District Attorney’s Office to file new charges in the future. The Drug Court Program provides frequent judicial contact – review hearings – for each participant.

At each hearing, the Drug Court Magistrate receives a report regarding the offender’s progress, and the magistrate may impose rewards for compliance and progress or penalties for noncompliance and lack of progress. These penalties may include but are not limited to reprimands or warnings, suspension of travel privileges, increased community service hours, additional urine screenings, and/or home detention.

If you are accused of a drug crime in the state of Colorado – whether the charge is international drug trafficking or the possession of a small amount for personal use – politely insist on having a lawyer present during any interrogation and politely exercise your right to remain silent. Do not try to act as your own lawyer. Instead, you will need to consult a Denver criminal defense attorney with considerable experience in Colorado drug cases who can fight aggressively on your behalf.

According to Wikipedia, drug court is historically the single most successful intervention tool for leading people who struggle with serious addictions out of the criminal court system and into recovery and long-term health. In fact, drug courts refer more people to treatment than any other intervention in America, and the people who are referred are more successful in treatment than any other group.

Drug courts work to reunite families, repair lives, and reduce drug abuse and crime, and to do it all for far fewer tax dollars than jails and prisons. If you are charged with a drug crime, and you are innocent, your attorney will fight aggressively for your acquittal. But if you are charged with a first-offense drug crime in the Denver area and you’re guilty, it’s possible that Drug Court may just be the right option for you.

Denver District Attorney Is Pushing An Anti-Marijuana Agenda To Other States

Posted on: November 25, 2016 by in Drug Crimes
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When term-limited Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey wrote an “official” letter prior to the November election in opposition to California’s Proposition 64, the ballot initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in California this year, he sparked a great deal of controversy and criticism. Morrissey said that a California anti-legalization group had asked him to write about “the negative impacts of legal weed.” He told KMGH News, “I’m not doing anything but answering the questions.”

But were Morrissey’s statements about legalized marijuana entirely accurate? And why would a term-limited officeholder paint for other states a biased, negative picture of marijuana legalization in the state of Colorado? Here’s part of what Morrissey wrote: “In the city of Denver since the legalization of recreational marijuana the number of crimes in Denver has grown by about 44%, according to annual figures the city reported to the National Incident-Based Reporting System. In 2015 in Denver alone crime rose in every neighborhood in the city.”

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel Murphy concludes, “Morrissey has chosen to conveniently ignore the tax benefits of legalized marijuana and has focused on studies done by a federally funded agency that fights the illegal drug trade. His letter, besides being done under the auspices of the City of Denver policy (on letter head of his office) is full of misstatements and fear mongering.”

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Mason Tvert, a spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group working to reform marijuana laws at the state level, agrees. Tvert told KMGH News, “I don’t think there’s any evidence that suggests that there’s been an increase in crime associated with marijuana. The DA is politically campaigning to paint a negative picture of the marijuana laws in Colorado that doesn’t actually exist.”

WHO IS DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY MITCH MORRISSEY?

Mitch Morrissey has been described as a “political animal” who aspires to higher office as a no-compromise, tough-on-crime crusader. For example, he chose to re-prosecute Clarence Moses-EL when Moses-EL was released from prison after serving 28 years of a 48-year sentence for a rape that he did not commit. After DNA technology became more reliable and DNA became easier to test, Moses-EL raised $1000 from his fellow inmates to have the DNA in evidence tested against his own DNA. However, in the interim, the Denver Police Department “accidentally” destroyed the DNA evidence despite it being labeled “Do Not Destroy.”

Some years later, another man confessed to the crime, and he repeated his admission to investigators. Finally, after decades, investigators determined that the blood types of Moses-EL and the blood found on the victim were not a match. A Denver judge reasonably and rightly vacated the rape conviction and released Moses-EL on bond. What did the District Attorney’s office do? Mitch Morrissey, wanting to look tough on crime, retried Clarence Moses-EL.

Fortunately for the defendant, but not for the taxpayers of our state, Moses-EL was finally acquitted of all charges in November 2016 after a week-long jury trial. The not guilty finding on charges of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree burglary, and second-degree assault concluded a lengthy, indescribably painful, and completely unnecessary personal tragedy in the life of Clarence Moses-EL.

From the day he was arrested, Moses-EL always claimed that he was an innocent man, but in the end, he said that he would rather spend 48 years in prison than accept a plea bargain for a crime that he did not commit. The man who confessed to the crime, L.C. Jackson, cannot now be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired, according to Denver’s Chief Deputy District Attorney, Bonnie Benedetti.

WHO IS FORMER COLORADO GOVERNOR BILL OWENS?

While District Attorney Morrissey was busy campaigning against California’s Proposition 64 (it was approved by more than 56 percent of California’s voters), two other prominent Colorado political figures were fighting marijuana legalization in the state of Arizona. Former Governor Bill Owens dismantled no-fault insurance in Colorado back in 2003 with promises of lower rates for motorists, but those lower rates never materialized, and the main effect of his actions has been making it easier for insurance companies to deny coverage to injured Coloradans.

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Colorado’s no-fault law had been in place for decades, and it helped substantially reduce litigation for accident claims. That litigation now overcrowds Colorado civil courts. Owens has not only been a “shill” for the insurance industry, but he was also the “family values crusader” who divorced his wife after impregnating a staff member and promoted her to a key leadership position in the state, an incident that apparently disqualified Owens from consideration for a Bush administration cabinet position.

WHAT DID BILL OWENS AND WELLINGTON WEBB DO IN ARIZONA?

Along with former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, Owens appeared in a television ad for Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a group that opposed Proposition 205, a ballot initiative that would have legalized recreational marijuana in Arizona. Colorado State Senator Pat Steadman and State Representatives Jonathan Singer and Millie Hamner called on Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy to remove the ads, describing them as misleading and inaccurate.

“They are saying these things that are really far afield from the truth,” Senator Steadman told the Associated Press. “We’ve been building schools and repairing schools with the excess tax revenue that was dedicated to school construction. Those dollars are flowing.” However, extra money for schools won’t be available in Arizona. Voters in that state defeated Proposition 205 by a 52-to-48 percent margin, possibly in part because they were influenced by politicians from Colorado.

Of course, everyone in the United States (including disgraced political hacks) has the right to an opinion and the right to freedom of speech. That’s not at issue. What’s troubling is when veteran politicians who should know better make an effort to skew the election process and to sway the voters with the influence of their prestigious political offices, information they probably know is inaccurate, and motives that are questionable.

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It’s also a problem when politicians use an official state letter head and the auspices of their offices to promote disinformation, because they are presumed in such instances to be speaking for their constituencies. Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel Murphy says, “If Mr. Morrissey had any desire to present the truth, he would have declined this possibly paid endorsement and chosen to remain silent.”

How is Marijuana Legalization Working?

Posted on: September 29, 2016 by in Drug Crimes
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If you live here or visit frequently, you know that in 2012, Colorado voters approved a state constitutional amendment which legalized the sale and possession of recreational marijuana for adults beginning in January 2014. Has the legalization of recreational marijuana been a plus or a minus for the state of Colorado? A billion-dollar-a-year legal recreational marijuana industry has emerged since legalization arrived in our state.

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The consensus among Colorado lawmakers who spoke earlier this year to the Boston Globe is that there have been no widely felt negative effects on the state since marijuana became legal. House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst told the Globe, “the sky didn’t fall. Everything seems to be working pretty well.” A majority of Colorado voters seem to agree. In a November 2015 survey, 53 percent said legalizing pot has been good for Colorado, although 39 percent disagreed with that view. State Representative Jonathan Singer said legalization has “allowed marijuana to pay its own way,” with the cost of regulation paid for by dispensaries and consumers.

In fact, marijuana retailers, cultivation facilities, product manufacturers, and product packagers have popped up in many parts of the state. They’ve created thousands of new jobs, and the taxes and fees they’ve generated amounted to an extra $135 million for the state in 2015 alone – money that goes to drug law enforcement and to drug education programs. However, while recreational marijuana legalization has brought significant benefits to Colorado, there may also be a considerable downside.

WHAT DO POT’S OPPONENTS SAY ABOUT LEGALIZATION?

Law enforcement spokespersons in Colorado paint a more confusing picture of rapidly changing statutes and ordinances that are difficult to enforce. There’s no quick and reliable way to determine if a driver is too impaired by pot to drive or to determine if food and beverage items are “infused” with marijuana. And Colorado’s public health officials fear that pot could eventually be another Big Tobacco, sidestepping regulations, exploiting technicalities in the law, and luring young new users to the product with cartoons and other clever advertising and marketing tools.

Post-legalization, recreational marijuana sales and possession are strictly regulated in the state of Colorado. If you are 21 years old, you can buy and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Only those approved for medical marijuana use may possess more than an ounce at a time. A radio frequency identification (RFID) chip is attached to every marijuana plant that is intended for sale.

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Prior to sale, whether the pot is to be sold in its “natural” form or infused into other products like snacks and beverages, it must be tested for contamination and for potency and sold at the retail level in packaging that is child-resistant. Surprisingly, almost half of the retail recreational marijuana sales in Colorado are sales of products infused with pot. The products include cookies, chocolate bars, mints, bath and body oils, and more.

AFTER LEGALIZATION, WHAT PUBLIC HEALTH TRENDS ARE EMERGING?

Dr. Larry Wolk is the executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Dr. Wolk told the Boston Globe that since marijuana became legal in Colorado, no significant or concerning large public health trends have emerged, but there have been isolated reports of people getting sick after consuming too much marijuana in edibles such as candy bars and cookies. Dr. Wolk added that while marijuana-related hospitalizations are rare, it happens more with visitors to Colorado who may not be familiar with high-potency pot.

Another complicated facet of the legal recreational marijuana picture in Colorado – especially for those on the business end – is the tax situation. All marijuana sold legally in Colorado, even medical marijuana, is taxed at the basic state and local sales tax rate. Additionally, marijuana sold for recreational purposes is taxed by the state another ten percent along with any additional local taxes.

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But there’s more. Colorado also imposes a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale transfers of recreational marijuana – a cost reflected in the final retail price. The tax picture is just one of the many complications of being in the pot business legally. Another is banking. Because marijuana is still illegal under federal statutes, there’s virtually no access to legal and local banking services for those in the pot business.

WHAT LEGAL WORRIES REMAIN FOR POT USERS?

However, marijuana consumers have other worries, like being charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. A first conviction for driving under the influence in the state of Colorado is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of $600 to $1,000, up to 96 hours of community service, and participation in court-ordered substance abuse classes. Anyone facing the charge will need the help of an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney. If you are charged with possessing more than an ounce of pot, selling to a minor, or violating any other marijuana law in Colorado, you’ll also need to speak with a Denver criminal defense attorney.

For law enforcement in Colorado, recreational marijuana legalization has created two new problems. One is that more people are driving under the influence of marijuana on Colorado’s streets and highways. The other is that cannabis-infused foods and beverages are proliferating. There’s no way to know the potency of these products, but the bigger problem is the inability of children to tell the difference between normal foods and beverages and those that are cannabis-infused.

Dr. Michael DiStefano told the Globe that more kids are being admitted to the ER at Children’s Hospital Colorado since legalization went into effect. Chief John Jackson of the Greenwood Village Police Department – and a former president of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police – said legalization was touted as a way to let police agencies focus on serious criminal issues, but after more than two years, Jackson said, “we’re not seeing that.” And cannabis-infused edibles, Jackson said, “pose a problem.”

Smart Approaches to Marijuana is a national nonprofit that opposes marijuana legalization. Jeffrey Zinsmeister, the executive vice president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, believes that “the signs from Colorado are not good.” Marijuana opponents cite a federal drug survey estimating that Colorado has the highest level of any state of 12- to 17-year-olds using marijuana.

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Marijuana opponents also say that when adults are able to consume marijuana legally, it’s use is “normalized” in the developing minds of young people. And Andrew Freedman, the director of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s Office of Marijuana Coordination, told the Boston Globe, “I worry about normalization, I worry about commercialization, and I worry about availability.”

Drug Counseling in Denver

Posted on: February 13, 2014 by in Drug Crimes
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Substance abuse and drug counseling can put a person on the right track toward better health, wellbeing, and happiness. The goal of the treatment is to help the person achieve and maintain abstinence from the addiction. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be successfully managed.

It’s important for the individual to find an experienced drug addiction center or counselor in Denver to help them through the process of managing their addiction. Fortunately for those in the area, there are a number of qualified professionals in Denver, CO that offer drug counseling services.

What Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Do?

In the simplest terms, a substance abuse counselor offers advice for people that suffer from drug addictions and behavioral problems. They provide support and treatment to help their clients recover from their addictions. Most counseling positions in the field require the person to obtain a bachelor’s degree and certification, but requirements vary by state and location.

What to Expect from Counseling Sessions

Often, counseling is offered in either an individual session or a group therapy session. The counseling can take place in several different types of facilities, such as healthcare facilities, private practices, community organizations, correctional institutes, rehabilitation centers, detox centers, and social agencies to name a few. People seeking counseling for their drug abuse are not limited to one specific type of counseling session or setting.

A substance abuse counselor will conduct counseling sessions and administer periodic drug tests. They will develop an appropriate treatment plan for the individual and keep detailed records of the treatment and progress. They may also implement aftercare and follow-up procedures once the client is ready to leave the treatment facility or end their sessions.

A good substance abuse counselor will be able to establish rapport with their clients, be a good listener, and not have a negative attitude toward the person’s situation or addiction. The counselor should also be organized and show up on time for their sessions.

The following behavior tasks should be performed by a credible counselor in an attempt to help the patient recover from their addiction:

  1. Help the patient admit they suffer from addiction.
  2. Inform the patient about addiction and different recovery tools.
  3. Monitor progress by administering drug tests and encouraging the patient to report any relapses.
  4. Encourage, motivate, and offer moral support.
  5. Help the client develop their own support system to aid in recovery.

The road to addiction recovery can be long and difficult. Every person going through substance abuse counseling is an individual and should be treated as such. Each case should be handled differently. A compassionate, experienced counselor will know how to treat each patient as an individual to help them recover from their addiction.

Choosing a counselor or treatment center is an important decision. There is no reason to go with the first option you find. Do your research and check reviews and ratings online of the counselors you are considering. People involved with Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can also be a great resource and they can potentially refer you to a good substance abuse counselor.