Colorado’s "Counterfeit Drug" Law
(18-18-423 C.R.S.)

What is a counterfeit controlled substance?

Section 18-18-423 C.R.S. of the Colorado Criminal Code defines a “counterfeit controlled substance” as:

“a controlled substance which, or the container or labeling of which, without authorization, bears the trademark, trade name, or other identifying mark, imprint, number, or device, or any likeness thereof, of a manufacturer, distributor, or dispenser, other than the person who in fact manufactured, distributed, or dispensed the substance.”

Counterfeit controlled substances are sometimes simply stolen counterfeit substances that have been repackaged with another supplier's name. Often they are legitimate drugs that have passed their expiration date.

But sometimes they are simply cheap copies, which may or may not contain the actual substance they purport to be. Pfizer, for instance, has analyzed counterfeit Viagra pills and found that some contain chalk, paint, brick dust and even human fetuses. When this occurs, it may also violate 18-18-422 C.R.S., Colorado's law on imitation drugs.

What does Colorado's counterfeit drug law prohibit?

18-18-423 C.R.S. makes it illegal for any person knowingly or intentionally to:

  • Manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver, a counterfeit controlled substance, or 
  • Make, distribute, or possess a punch, die, plate, stone, or other thing designed to print, imprint, or reproduce the trademark, trade name, or other identifying mark, imprint, or device of another or any likeness of any of the foregoing upon any drug or container or labeling thereof.

Penalties for violating Colorado's law on counterfeit drugs

Violation of 18-18-423 C.R.S. is a Colorado level 3 drug felony. Consequences of manufacturing or selling a counterfeit controlled substance can include:

  • 2-4 years in prison (with 1-year mandatory parole), and/or
  • A fine of $2,000-$500,000.

Colorado counterfeit drug defenses

The best defense to Colorado counterfeit drug charges depends on the facts of your case. However common defenses often include (but are not limited to):

  • The substance wasn't a controlled substance,
  • You didn't know you possessed the drugs (or the dies, plates or stones),
  • You reasonably believed you were manufacturing a legal product, or
  • The drugs or plates were discovered during an illegal search and seizure which violated your Fourth Amendment rights.

Call us for help…

colorado legal defense group operators
Call us at (303)222-0330

If you or someone you know has been charged with manufacturing or possessing counterfeit drugs under Colorado 18-18-423 C.R.S., we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Our caring Colorado criminal defense lawyers know that anyone can make an innocent mistake. Let us help you plan the best defense to your Colorado drug charges so that you can keep your good name and stay out of prison.

We can assist with bail and release at all Colorado jails, including the San Miguel County Jail and the Teller County Detention Center Jail.

You can reach us using the confidential form on this page, or call us at our convenient Denver home office. One of our experienced Colorado drug lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss your case and begin planning the best defense strategy for you.

Our Denver home office is located at:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver CO 80211
(303) 222-0330


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