Ever since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana by passing Amendment 64 in 2012, there have been a lot of misconceptions about what is and is not allowed in Colorado. For both residents of the state and those visiting Colorado, it is important to understand the state and local laws governing marijuana growth, possession, and use – as well as drug laws related to other controlled substances – in order to avoid running afoul of those laws. However, it is still possible to make a mistake. Even when that mistake leads to what appear to be minor drug-related charges, it is important to secure experienced legal assistance because the consequences of a conviction can be severe.
Minor drug charges, particularly possession of a controlled substance, may seem inconsequential in the scheme of things. It may be tempting to try and handle such charges on your own. However, this can be a mistake – particularly for younger individuals dealing with these charges. Younger individuals convicted of seemingly minor charges could be risking a lot in their future. Scholarships and enrollment in higher education could be at risk, and it may be significantly more difficult to secure acceptance in advanced education programs like law school or medical school.
However, people of any age should secure the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney that understands the nuances of drug laws in Colorado. Attorney Jay Tiftickjian of the Tiftickjian Law Firm has written extensively on Colorado’s drug laws, including how to approach defending against drug-related charges.
While the circumstances of every case are unique, there are some common approaches to defending against minor drug charges. Often these include challenging the search that led to the charge. Law enforcement is required to follow strict protocol when it comes to searching individuals, and failure to do so can result in charges being dismissed.
There are also strict rules governing the handling of evidence. Failure to comply with those rules can result in evidence being dismissed. Lack of evidence against you makes the state’s case a lot more difficult to prove. However, the rules of evidence can be very complex and it is important to work with a lawyer that understands those rules and how to apply them.
Depending on the circumstances of the charge, a defendant may also be eligible for alternative sentencing or other diversion programs aimed at helping individuals facing minor drug-related charges seek help for addiction and/or avoid serious criminal penalties that might otherwise accompany a conviction. Sometimes, successful completion of an alternative sentencing program can see charges against you be dismissed.
No matter how small a drug-related charge may seem, it will not simply disappear – even for individuals who are just visiting Colorado. Depending on the circumstances, some of the defenses discussed above or others that apply to your unique situation can be an important part of fighting minor drug charges. If you are facing minor drug-related charges in Colorado, or more serious drug-related offenses, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation and find out what options might be available to you. Experienced, dedicated legal assistance can be more effective than going it alone.
(image courtesy of Esteban Lopez)