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Colorado Springs Fentanyl Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense Against Fentanyl Drug Charges

Fentanyl is an synthetic opioid drug, similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Although it is a prescription drug, fentanyl is also manufactured and used illegally. It is a powerful pain killer, designed for patients with severe pain, for example while recovering from surgery. In some cases, it used to treat patients with chronic pain who cannot tolerate other opioids. This drug is highly addictive – users need higher and more frequent doses to get the desired effect.

Why Is Law Enforcement Cracking Down So Hard on Fentanyl?

2022 has been a peak year for fentanyl arrests in Colorado. The biggest fentanyl bust on a U.S. highway occurred on Interstate 70 in Georgetown in June 2022, as reported by Fox 31. DEA and local law enforcement found 114 pounds of the drug in the floor traps of a vehicle driven by a man who was pulled over for weaving.

Fatal overdoses are the main reason police are cracking down so hard on fentanyl possession and sales. Synthetic opioid deaths involving drugs other than methadone, including fentanyl, increased by more than 56% from 2019 to 2020, according to the CDC. In 2020, more than 56,000 people in the U.S. died from synthetic opioid overdoses, and the death count appears to have accelerated during the pandemic.

In addition, the media has been obsessed with “rainbow fentanyl,” brightly colored pills and powders designed to target young people and children. DEA and law enforcement have seized rainbow fentanyl in 26 different states since August 22, as reported by the DEA. These brightly colored products are seen as a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction among children and young adults.

What Charges Could You Be Facing After a Fentanyl Arrest?

Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Possession of up to four grams of most Schedule II drugs is a misdemeanor in Colorado since 2019. However, state laws are evolving as overdose statistics continue to rise. New law HB22-1326 with stiffer penalties for fentanyl went into effect July 1, 2022. Under the new legislation:

  • Possession of one to four grams of fentanyl (or any drug containing fentanyl) can be charged as a Level 4 drug felony. First offenders may face jail time of up to six months to two years of probation.
  • A third or subsequent offense could carry up to 364 days in jail.
  • Possession of four to 50 grams of fentanyl (or a fentanyl compound) with intent to distribute is a Level 2 drug felony, punishable by a four to 16-year prison term.
  • Possession of more than 50 grams of fentanyl or a compound with intent to distribute is charged as a Level 1 drug felony that carries a prison sentence of up to 32 years.
  • Other fentanyl offenses can be charged as Level 1 drug felonies punishable by up to 32 years in prison if: the offense led scene to the death of a person; the drugs originated from outside of the state; or the accused possessed a pill press or other manufacturing equipment.

What Are the Defenses Against Fentanyl Charges?

In some cases, a Level 4 drug felony conviction for fentanyl can be reduced to a misdemeanor with completion of a drug treatment program. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to raise ignorance as an affirmative defense, if you did not know the drugs contain fentanyl.

Contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555 for the skilled criminal defense you need. Founding attorney Timothy Bussey is one of only two attorneys in Colorado with the ACS Forensic Lawyer-Scientist designation.

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