Possession of Contraband in Colorado
CRS 18-8-204.1

In Colorado, when an inmate is found to be in possession of a dangerous weapon or other prohibited items, they may face charges for possession of contraband. Possession of contraband in a detention facility can be a felony. The penalties for possession of a contraband involving a dangerous instrument include up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:

Contraband
In Colorado, when an inmate is found to be in possession of a dangerous weapon or other prohibited items, they may face charges for possession of contraband.

1. What is possession of contraband?

A person confined in a detention facility commits the crime of possession of contraband if he or she knowingly obtains or has in his or her possession prohibited items.1

A detention facility includes any building, structure, enclosure, vehicle, institution, work side or any other place where persons are lawfully held in custody or confinement. This includes detention facilities under the jurisdiction of the state of Colorado, federal facilities, or any political subdivision of Colorado. The most common detention facilities in Colorado include jail, prison, or juvenile detention facilities. 2

2. What is contraband?

Contraband includes any goods, materials, or items that are prohibited in a detention facility. Contraband includes materials that pose a danger to inmates or employees, such as guns, knives, or other dangerous weapons. Prohibited contraband in the first degree includes:

  • Dangerous instruments
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Controlled substances3

Dangerous instruments include any device, material, or substance which is capable of causing or inducing fear of death or bodily injury. This includes:

  • Guns
  • Ammunition
  • Knives
  • Explosive devices
  • Explosive substances
  • Knives
  • Sharpened instruments
  • Poison
  • Acid
  • Protective devices4

While alcohol is generally legal to possess and consume outside of jail, it is prohibited in a detention facility. Additionally, most residents of Colorado can legally possess and use marijuana but it is prohibited in a detention facility as contraband. Users of medical marijuana may also be prohibited from using marijuana in jail.

Possession of contraband in the second degree includes a number of common items that are legal to possess outside of a detention facility, but prohibited to possess in jail. This includes:

  • Keys
  • Obscene pictures or obscene material
  • Lock picking tools
  • Cutting tools
  • Unauthorized drugs
  • Money or coins
  • Postage stamps
  • Counterfeit identification cards
  • Combustible materials
  • Wigs or masks
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Ladders, chains, or ropes
  • Electronic communication devices
  • Any article that may pose a threat to security5

3. What are the penalties for possession of contraband?

The penalties for possessing contraband depend on the type of contraband involved. Possession of contraband in the first degree includes bringing in drugs, alcohol, or a dangerous instrument.

First-degree possession of a dangerous instrument is a class 4 felony.6 The penalties for possession of contraband involving a dangerous instrument include 2 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. There is also a mandatory parole period of 3 years.

Possession of alcohol, marijuana, or controlled substances in the first degree is a class 6 felony.7 The penalties for possession of contraband in the first degree not involving a dangerous weapon include 12 to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. There is also a mandatory parole period of one year.

Possession of any contraband other than drugs, alcohol, or dangerous weapons is a class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties for second-degree possession of contraband include 6 to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.8

4. Related Offenses

4.1. Escape C.R.S. 18-8-208

Escaping from police custody is a criminal offense. The penalties for escape depend on the criminal offense for why the prisoner is in custody. Escape and aiding escape is generally a felony if the person was in custody for a felony, and a misdemeanor if the person was in custody for a misdemeanor offense.

4.2. Aiding Escape C.R.S. 18-8-201

Any person who knowingly aids, abets, or assists another person to escape from custody or confinement commits the offense of aiding escape. Aiding escape is a class 2 felony if the person aided was in custody or confinement as a result of conviction of a class 1 or class 2 felony. Aiding escape is a class 1 misdemeanor if the person aided was in custody or confinement for a misdemeanor or petty offense.

4.3. Attempted Escape C.R.S. 18-8-208.1

Knowingly attempting to escape from prison or jail is a criminal offense in Colorado. The penalties for attempted escape depend on the crime for which you were incarcerated. Attempted escape will generally result in mandatory prison time.

4.4. Introducing Contraband C.R.S. 18-8-203

In Colorado, bringing prohibited items into a jail or detention facility is a criminal offense. Introducing contraband into a detention facility is a felony. The penalties for introducing contraband in the first degree include up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

Call us for help...

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If you or a loved one is arrested for introducing contraband into jail, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with criminal offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.


Legal References

  1. C.R.S. 18-8-204.1(1)
  2. C.R.S. 18-8-203(3)
  3. C.R.S. 18-8-203(1)(a)
  4. C.R.S. 18-8-203(4)
  5. C.R.S. 18-8-204(2)
  6. C.R.S. 18-8-204.1(3)
  7. C.R.S. 18-8-204.1(2)
  8. C.R.S. 18-8-204.2(2)

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