Drug petty offenses are Colorado’s lowest-level controlled substance crimes. There are only three drug petty offenses: 1) Possessing up to 2 oz. of marijuana in public; 2) possessing drug paraphernalia, and; 3) possessing prescribed drugs in a container that they were not dispensed it, and being unable to show legal ownership. The maximum penalty is $100. And the use of marijuana in public also carries up to 24 hours of community service.
In this article, our Colorado criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What are drug petty offenses and penalties in Colorado?
- 2. Can drug petty offenses be sealed?
- 3. Can defendants be deported?
- 4. Can I get a trial?
- 5. What is the criminal statute of limitations for drug petty offenses?
- 6. Will my gun rights be affected?
1. What are drug petty offenses and penalties in Colorado?
Drug petty offenses are the laxest class of Colorado narcotics crimes, below drug misdemeanors and drug felonies. There are only three drug petty offenses, and none of them carries county jail time:1
Colorado petty offense
|Possessing up to two ounces of marijuana in public (CRS 18-18-406)||Up to $100 in fines and additional 24 hours of community service|
|Possessing prescribed controlled substances in a container it was not dispensed in, and being unable to show legal ownership (CRS 18-18-413)||Up to $100 in fines|
|Possession of drug paraphernalia with the knowledge that it could be used as drug paraphernalia (CRS 18-18-428)||Up to $100 in fines2|
In certain cases, the district attorney will reduce drug misdemeanor charges to a drug petty offense as part of a plea bargain.
See the state government’s official list of Colorado drug petty offenses.
2. Can drug petty offenses be sealed?
Yes. People convicted of drug petty offenses in Colorado can petition for a record seal one year after the case ends. And if the drug crime charge gets dropped, the defendant can petition for a record seal immediately.
3. Can defendants be deported?
Drug petty offenses are potentially deportable because they involve controlled substances. Consequently, non-citizen defendants should talk with an attorney to discuss how to fight the charges. Read more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Colorado
4. Can I get a trial?
Yes. Drug petty offense defendants in Colorado are entitled to either a bench trial or a jury trial of three to six jurors. But to get a jury trial, the defendant is required to petition the court in writing within 21 days of the not guilty plea. And the jury will have only three jurors unless the defendant requests four, five, or six jurors.5
5. What is the criminal statute of limitation for drug petty offenses?
Under Colorado state law, prosecutors have six months to press charges against people accused of committing a drug petty offense. This six-month clock typically begins running after an arrest or citation by law enforcement or peace officers.
Learn more about criminal statutes of limitations in Colorado.6
6. Will be gun rights be affected?
Drug petty offenses usually do not affect gun rights. However, drug users or addicts are prohibited from possessing drugs whether or not they have criminal convictions. Therefore, defendants should consult with an attorney about their options.7
Arrested for a criminal offense? Whether it is for a felony offense, a misdemeanor offense, or a drug charge, our experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyers fight to get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We help clients in Denver throughout the state of Colorado. Disclaimer: Results cannot be guaranteed.
- Colorado Revised Statute (criminal code) 18-1.3-501; see also People v. Gonzales, (Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division One, 2017) COA 62, 415 P.3d 846; see also People v. Boyd, (Court of Appeals of Colorado, Division Four, 2015) COA 109, 395 P.3d 1128.
- CRS 24-72-701 – 708.
- 8 USC 1227.
- CRS 16-10-109.
- CRS 16-5-401.
- CRS 18-12-108; Colorado Constitution, Article IV, § 7.