In Colorado, the possession and use of Oxycontin is legal for individuals with a valid prescription. However, for anyone else, the use, possession, and sale of Oxycontin is a criminal offense. Under Colorado drug laws, the penalties for drug possession or sale depends on the amount of Oxycontin found, which may result in misdemeanor or felony drug charges.
In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is Oxycontin?
- 2. What are the legal uses of Oxycontin?
- 3. What are the penalties for unlawful use?
- 4. What are the penalties for unlawful possession?
- 5. What are the penalties for the unlawful sale or distribution?
- 6. Can I avoid jail time?
- 7. What are defenses to Oxycontin criminal charges?
Oxycontin is the trade name for the opioid painkiller oxycodone hydrochloride. Oxycontin is only legally available with a valid prescription. Oxycontin, or oxycodone, is used to treat severe pain. However, many people become addicted to Oxycontin and use the drug for the euphoric effect it produces.
Controlled substances include illegal drugs, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and synthetic drugs. Controlled substances in Colorado are classified by schedule, based on their medically accepted uses and the potential for abuse. Oxycontin is a Schedule II drug, which have a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule II drugs include Vicodin, morphine, cocaine, and methamphetamines.1
Oxycontin is legal to possess and use only with a valid prescription from a licensed practitioner for medical treatment.2 However, that individual cannot give or sell their prescription or Oxycontin to another person. Selling or dispensing legally prescribed Oxycontin to another is a criminal offense.
Under Colorado law, the unauthorized use of a controlled substance, including Oxycontin, is a level 2 drug misdemeanor. This carries:
- Up to 12 months in county jail, and/or
- $50 – $750 in fines
However, the court may instead impose the following, lighter penalty for drug use:
- Probation of up to 1 year;
- Possibly 120 days in jail (or 180 days in jail for a 3rd or subsequent offense); and
- Up to $500
However, if it is your first drug offense, you may be eligible for a diversion program to avoid jail time and have your charges dismissed upon successful completion of a drug education and treatment program.
Under Colorado law, the unlawful possession of more than four grams of a schedule II controlled substance, including Oxycontin, is a level 4 drug felony. Under CRS 18-18-403.5, the penalties include from 6 to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
If it is four grams or less of Oxycontin, then possession is a level 1 drug misdemeanor, carrying 6 to 18 months in jail, and/or $500 to $5,000 in fines. But, the court can instead impose probation, which may include:
- Possibly 180 days in jail time (or up to 364 days for a 3rd offense); and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines
Under Colorado law, the unlawful sale or possession for sale of a schedule II controlled substance, including Oxycontin, is a felony. Under CRS 18-18-405, the penalties for sale or distribution of Oxycontin depends on the amount of Oxycontin and any material, compound or mixture involved.
|Amount of Oxycontin||Not more than 14 grams||More than 14 grams, but not more than 225 grams||More than 225 grams|
|Drug Felony Level||Level 3 Drug Felony||Level 2 Drug Felony||Level 1 Drug Felony|
|Prison Time||2 to 4 Years||4 to 8 Years||8 to 32 Years|
|Fines||$2,000 to $500,000||$3,000 to $750,000||$5,000 to $1 million|
It is also a level 1 drug felony to sell, dispense, or distribute any Oxycontin to a minor who is at least two years younger than you.
If you are incarcerated, on parole or on probation for a prior felony, a conviction for selling Oxycontin may result in aggravated drug sentencing with increased penalties.
Simple use of Oxycontin may only result in a misdemeanor drug charge. A level 2 drug misdemeanor has the potential for jail time; however, in most cases, you will only have to pay a simple fine and can avoid jail time.
If it is your first offense for unlawful Oxycontin use or possession, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program.3 You can complete a court-approved treatment program while your trial is delayed. Upon successful completion, you may have your misdemeanor drug charges dropped. If charged with a low-level drug felony, you may be placed on probation while you complete a court-approved drug treatment and education program. Upon successful completion, you may have your felony drug charges reduced to misdemeanor drug possession.4
However, you may not be eligible for a diversion program or sentencing reduction if you have a prior conviction for a crime of violence, two or more prior felony drug convictions, or are ineligible for probation because of prior offenses. You may also be ineligible if you were in possession of more than 4 grams or Oxycontin.
There are a number of possible defenses to criminal charges for Oxycontin possession or sale. Common drug crime defenses include:
- The Oxycontin was not in your possession
- The Oxycontin belonged to someone else
- You had a valid prescription for Oxycontin
- The police found Oxycontin as part of an unlawful search or seizure
If you were arrested for possession or sale of Oxycontin, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with criminal drug offenses. Our legal team also assists with seeking bail and OR release at all jails in Colorado, including the Mesa County Jail. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.
In Nevada? See our article on Nevada OxyContin laws.
- C.R.S. 18-18-204(2); House Bill 19-1263.
- C.R.S. 18-18-308
- C.R.S. 18-1.3-101
- C.R.S. 18-1.3-102