Level 1 drug misdemeanors in Colorado are punishable by 6 to 18 months in county jail and/or $500 to $5,000 in fines. For simple possession convictions, courts typically grant probation and a $1,000 fine. And convictions are sealable from the defendant’s criminal record two years after the case closes.
In this article, our Colorado criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What are level 1 drug misdemeanors?
- 2. What is the sentence for level 1 drug misdemeanors in Colorado?
- 3. What are examples?
- 4. When are level 1 drug misdemeanors sealable?
- 5. Are there deportation consequences?
- 6. Can I go to trial?
- 7. What is the criminal statute of limitations for level 1 drug misdemeanors?
- 8. Can I have a firearm?
1. What are level 1 drug misdemeanors?
Colorado law categorizes drug misdemeanors into two separate tiers: level 1 to level 2. Level 1 drug misdemeanors have harsher penalties than level 2 drug misdemeanors.
Both types of drug misdemeanors have laxer punishments than drug felony convictions and harsher punishments than drug petty offenses.1
2. What is the sentence for level 1 drug misdemeanors in Colorado?
Colorado penalties for level 1 drug misdemeanors include six to 18 months of jail time and/or $500 to $5,000 in fines.
As of March 1, 2020, the punishment for unlawful possession is:
- Probation of up to 2 years;
- Possibly 180 days in jail; and
- Up to $1,000
But for a 3rd or subsequent offense, up to 364 days in jail.2
Defendants may be able to perform community service instead of paying a fine.
3. What are examples?
Three examples of level 1 drug misdemeanors in Colorado include:
- Unlawful drug possession (CRS 18-18-403.5) of schedule III-, schedule IV-, or schedule V drugs, or up to 4 grams of schedule I- or II drugs, or drugs listed in part 2 or Article 18 of Title 18, not including flunitrazepam or ketamine
- Marijuana possession of more than 6 ounces of marijuana or more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate
- Attempt (CRS 18-2-101) to commit a level 4 drug felony
There are no extraordinary risk level 1 drug misdemeanors.
4. When are level 1 drug misdemeanors sealable?
Defendants convicted of level 1 drug misdemeanors in Colorado can pursue a criminal record seal two years after the case closes. Note there is no wait to get a seal if the charge gets dismissed.3
5. Are there deportation consequences?
Drug-related offenses are deportable. Consequently, non-citizens charged with drug offenses should hire experienced counsel. An attorney may be able to get the case dismissed or changed to a non-deportable crime.
Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Colorado.4
6. Can I go to trial?
Yes. Defendants charged with level 1 drug misdemeanors in Colorado may have a jury trial of six jurors (but defendants can request a trial with as few as three jurors). Defendants can also elect to have a bench trial instead of a jury trial.5
7. What is the criminal statute of limitations for level 1 drug misdemeanors?
Colorado prosecutors must bring level 2 misdemeanor charges within 18 months after the alleged offense. Learn more about criminal statutes of limitations in Colorado.6
8. Can I have a firearm?
Federal law forbids narcotics addicts or users from having guns.7 And drug users who attempt to purchase a gun in Colorado face criminal charges for illegal purchase of a firearm (CRS 18-12-111).
Facing drug charges? Our experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyers want to provide legal help to you and fight the district attorneys for the best possible outcome. Our Colorado law firm fights to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed while avoiding a jail sentence. Contact our law offices for a free criminal case evaluation. We help clients throughout the state of Colorado, including Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Golden, and more.
Return to our Colorado drug laws main page, including our article on unlawful possession of a controlled substance (CRS 18-18-403.5).
- Colorado Revised Statute 18-1.3-501; see also People v. DeBorde, (2016, Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division Two) COA 185, 411 P.3d 220; see also People v. Argott, (2021, Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division Four) COA 42, 486 P.3d 500.
- Same; House Bill 19-1263 (new law); Uniform Controlled Substances Act (2013).
- CRS 24-72-701 – 708.
- 8 USC 1227.
- CRS 18-1-406.
- CRS 16-5-401.
- 18 USC 922; United States v. Seay, (8th Cir. 2010) 620 F.3d 919.