Why Drug Crimes Are Sometimes Considered “Wobblers”
A wobbler refers to a drug offense that may be reduced from a serious class 4 felony to a level 1 misdemeanor. This reduction occurs when a defendant effectively completes probation or community corrections. Often referred to as a “wobbler offense,” these exist to enable offenders, often first-time offenders, to escape the significant penalties of a class 4 felony.
What Drug Crimes Are Potential Wobblers?
Drug crimes that may amount to a wobbler involving only completion of probation or community corrections include:
- Possessing more than 12 ounces of marijuana
- Possessing more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate
- Possessing 4 grams or less of certain schedule I or II drugs
- Possessing 2 grams or less of methamphetamine, heroin, ketamine, or cathinones
- Possessing 4 milligrams or less of flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)
- Distributing or transferring 4 grams or less of certain schedule I or II drugs with the purpose of consuming all the drugs with another person(s) close in time to the distribution (“buddy distro”)
- Distribution or transfer of 2 grams or less of methamphetamine, heroin, ketamine, or cathinones, and the purpose was for drug use consumption with another person(s) close in time to the distribution (“buddy distro”)
- Prescription fraud (CRS 18-18-415)—fraudulently acquiring prescriptions of controlled substances
What Are the Circumstances That Affect How a Crime Is Charged?
Whether a person qualifies for a reduced sentence is dependent on their offense and whether they have any previous convictions. Defendants who have two or more existing felony drug offense convictions, defendants with a prior conviction for a crime of violence, or defendants who are otherwise ineligible do not qualify for a reduced sentence under the wobbler apparatus. If one of these circumstances applies, the person will be charged with a class 4 felony.
The Benefit of Wobblers
Wobblers are of extreme importance to individuals who are being charged with drug related offenses. Various advantages that come with a misdemeanor drug conviction rather than a level 4 felony drug conviction include:
- Misdemeanors carry shorter and less serious penalties than felonies. Felonies typically require mandatory prison time. With misdemeanors, many defendants can avoid jail time through probation and a fine.
- Misdemeanor convictions for drug cases have less of an effect on employment than class 4 felony offenses. Many employers automatically disqualify people convicted of drug-related felony charges but will hire people convicted of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.
- Although subject to exception, defendants with only misdemeanor convictions can still possess guns.
- Misdemeanor drug convictions may be sealed from defendants’ criminal records once two years have passed from the case date. Level 4 drug felony convictions carry a three-year wait before the record can be sealed.
We Can Help
If you or someone you love is facing drug charges in Colorado, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We at the Bussey Law Firm, P.C. have a wealth of knowledge and are here to help you during this time. We’re experts in fighting criminal charges, including drug offenses. Contact the Bussey Law Firm, P.C. today at (719) 475-2555.