Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute

If you have been charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute drugs in Colorado, you need dedicated legal representation to protect your rights. Reach out to Patterson Weaver Law, LLC for a free initial case review to discuss your charges and learn more about your legal options for defending yourself against conviction and serious criminal penalties. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, you can trust our team’s skills and commitment to pursue the best outcome in your case. You will always be treated like a person, not a case number. Our attorneys will always be available to answer your questions and provide you with peace of mind during this stressful time.

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What Is Intent to Distribute?

Under Colorado law, it is illegal for anyone to intentionally or knowingly manufacture, distribute, sell, or dispense any substance regulated by Colorado’s Controlled Substances Act. It is also considered a crime to merely possess drugs with the intent of later distributing or selling them. 

Possession with Intent to Distribute Penalties in Colorado

In Colorado, the crime of possession with intent to distribute is considered a serious offense that carries harsh penalties in the event of a conviction. 

Charges & Penalties

A possession with intent to distribute charge in Colorado may be graded anywhere from a Level 1 Drug Misdemeanor up to a Level 1 Drug Felony, depending on the types and quantities of drugs involved. Here are the grades in ascending order of seriousness:

  • Level 1 Drug Misdemeanor – Charged for possession of any quantity of a Schedule V substance with intent to distribute 
  • Level 4 Drug Felony – Charged for possession of four grams or less of a Schedule III or IV drug
  • Level 3 Drug Felony – Charged for possession of 14 grams or less of a Schedule I or II drug, seven grams or less of methamphetamine, heroin, cathinone, or ketamine, or more than four grams of a Schedule III or Schedule IV substance
  • Level 2 Drug Felony – Charged for possession of more than 14 grams but less than 225 grams of a Schedule I or II drug, more than seven grams but less than 112 grams of methamphetamine, heroin, cathinone, or ketamine, or more than 10 milligrams but less than 50 milligrams of flunitrazepam
  • Level 1 Drug Felony – Charged for possession of more than 225 grams of a Schedule I or Schedule II substance, more than 112 grams of methamphetamine, heroin, cathinone, or ketamine, or more than 50 milligrams of flunitrazepam

Possible sentences for conviction include:

  • Level 1 Drug Misdemeanor – Six to 18 months in jail, plus a fine of $500 to $5,000
  • Level 4 Drug Felony – Six to 12 months in jail, plus a possible fine of $1,000 to $100,000
  • Level 3 Drug Felony – Two to four years in prison, plus a potential fine of $2,000 to $500,000
  • Level 2 Drug Felony – Four to eight years in prison, plus a possible fine of $3,000 to $750,000
  • Level 1 Drug Felony – Eight to 32 years in prison, plus a potential fine of $5,000 to $1 million

Elements for Possession with Intent

The prosecution will need to prove three things to obtain a conviction for possession with intent to distribute or sell:

  • You knowingly possessed the drug, with possession defined as either actual possession (the drugs are found on your person or within your immediate reach) or constructive possession (the drugs are found in a place or in a container that you owned or had access to, such as a bag or a vehicle)
  • You had an amount large enough to sell
  • You intended to sell the substance, which may include selling the drugs at retail to individual buyers, transporting the drugs to another individual who would then further distribute them, or even intending to pass out the drugs to other individuals for free

Proving Intent to Sell

In many cases of possession with intent to distribute or sell, a conviction on the criminal charge depends on the prosecution proving that the defendant intended to sell the drugs found in their possession, rather than intending to use the drugs themselves. Some of the factors that prosecutors may use to argue that you had an intent to distribute or sell drugs include:

  • You were found with large amounts of drugs, as the prosecution may argue that the quantities of drugs found in your possession were greater than you could safely consume yourself within a reasonable period
  • Law enforcement witnessed numerous people coming and going from your residence, implying to the jury that you were selling drugs to those individuals
  • Police found large amounts of cash and drug dealing paraphernalia, such as small glassine bags and scales
  • Drugs were separated into small quantities, which may be offered to prove that you intended to distribute those packages to others, rather than keeping the drugs for yourself in one place or one container

Possible Defenses

Even if the police recover drugs, you may have factual or legal defenses against charges of possession with intent to distribute. Depending on the circumstances of your case, our firm can help you argue against a conviction or seek to reduce the penalties you may be facing by raising defenses such as:

  • You did not have intent to sell or distribute the drugs, or in other words, the drugs were meant for your personal use
  • You did not have actual or constructive possession of the drugs because the drugs were found in a room, vehicle, or container that belonged to someone else and that you did not have access to
  • You did not knowingly or intentionally possess the drugs, such as if they were left in your vehicle by someone you lent your car to
  • The substances at issue were not illegal controlled substances according to Colorado possession laws, which you may be able to argue if the seized substances were never tested to confirm their identity
  • You were unlawfully stopped and searched by law enforcement, perhaps because police conducted a motor vehicle stop without reasonable suspicion or because police entered your residence without a search warrant

Contact a Colorado Springs Drug Lawyer Today

Don’t leave your freedom and future to chance when facing serious criminal charges of possession with intent to distribute. Contact Patterson Weaver Law, LLC today for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Colorado Springs drug lawyer and find out how we can defend your rights and freedom. 

Life happens. Let us help.