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Colorado 18-13-123 C.R.S. makes it a felony to knowingly administer GHB or ketamine to someone without that person’s consent.
A first-time violation of 18-13-123 C.R.S. can be punished by:
However, the prosecutor must prove that you knew you possessed GHB or ketamine and that you knowingly or intentionally gave it to someone without that person’s consent. As a result, there are many ways to defend charges of unlawfully drugging someone with ketamine or GHB in Colorado.
To help you better understand Colorado’s law against unlawfully administering GHB or ketamine, our Denver Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:
GHB or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate is a central nervous system depressant primarily used to treat narcolepsy, a disorder in which people fall asleep frequently during the day, often at unexpected times. Other legitimate uses of GHB include weight loss, muscle building, and relief of fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and sleep problems. Drug addicts and alcoholics may also use GHB to help them manage withdrawal symptoms.
GHB is used recreationally to cause or enhance sexual arousal. Thus GHB is sometimes referred to as a “club drug,” “party drug,” or “date rape” drug.
GHB is legally sold by prescription only under the brand name Xyrem (sodium oxybate). It is classified as a Colorado Schedule 1 drug and its use is strictly regulated.
Dangers associated with GHB can include loss of consciousness, nausea, auditory and visual hallucinations, headaches, vomiting, exhaustion, sluggishness, amnesia, confusion, and clumsiness.
GHB is colorless and odorless, although it may have a soapy or salty taste, which is usually masked by alcohol. Because of this quality and the fact that GHB lowers inhibitions and can cause loss of consciousness, it is sometimes used to facilitate “date rapes.”
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic often used in veterinary medicine. It is sometimes referred to as “K,” “special K,” “vitamin K,” or “cat valium.”
Ketamine is sold commercially and is produced in liquid, powder, and tablet forms. The liquid form can be injected intramuscularly while the powdered form is often snorted or smoked with marijuana or tobacco products. Because it is sold as a white powder, it is easily mistaken for cocaine or methamphetamine.
Like GHB, ketamine is odorless and tasteless when added to alcoholic drinks. As a result, it too is sometimes used as a “date rape” drug.
Effects and side effects of ketamine can include impaired attention, disassociation, hallucinations, extreme dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, amnesia, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, double vision, black-outs, delirium, amnesia, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, at high doses ketamine can cause reactions similar to PCP. As a result of that and the increasing use of ketamine and GHB in Colorado, the Department of Justice considers ketamine and GHB dangerous drugs.
Section 18-13-123 C.R.S. of the Colorado Criminal Code makes it a crime to knowingly cause or attempt to cause any other person to unknowingly consume or receive the direct administration of gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) or ketamine or the immediate chemical precursors or chemical analogs for either of such substances.
The exception is if the drugs are distributed or dispensed for bona fide medical needs by or under the direction of:
A first-time violation for drugging someone with GHB or ketamine is a Colorado level 3 drug felony. Punishment for unlawfully administering GHB or ketamine can include:
However, drugging someone with ketamine or GHB becomes a Colorado level 2 drug felony if you have a prior conviction for:
As a Colorado class 2 drug felony, the consequences of drugging someone with ketamine or GHB can include:
However, even this prison sentence can increase if you are subject to Colorado’s aggravated sentencing for drug felonies – if, for instance, you are on parole or are serving time for a felony.
For more information on the increased sentencing range, please see our article on Colorado aggravated sentencing for drug felonies.
While there are many ways to defend charges under 18-13-123 C.R.S., some of the more common defenses include (but are not limited to):
However, because the cops had no real basis to suspect Dave and Ernie of committing a crime, the arrest may have been illegal. And if the arrest was illegal, the search was illegal, too. An experienced Colorado defense lawyer should be able to get the case thrown out, or the charges reduced to simple possession of a controlled substance under Colorado 18-18-403.5 C.R.S.
Authorized health care officials and humane society personnel who use GHB and ketamine in accordance with Colorado law may have a defense to charges of unlawfully administering these drugs if they were using them properly at the time of the alleged offense. An experienced Colorado drug defense lawyer can help determine whether you fall into this exception.
However, Colorado takes charges of drugging other people without their consent quite seriously, especially when a violation of Colorado’s sexual assault law, 18-3-402 C.R.S., occurs. But even when it doesn’t, people who use and share GHB or ketamine can find themselves facing a lengthy prison sentence – even if all they were doing was partying.
If you or someone you know has been accused of unlawfully administering GHB or ketamine, or a violation of any other Colorado drug laws, we invite you to call us for a free consultation.
We can also help with bail and release at all Colorado jails, including the Gunnison County Jail.
To schedule your free consultation, simply fill out the confidential form on this page and one of our experienced Colorado defense attorneys will get back to you promptly.
Or you can call us at our Denver home office:
Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver CO 80211
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