Use Of A Controlled Substance in Denver Colorado

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Navigating Charges of Use Of A Controlled Substance

This page is designed to get rid of the clutter in handling Use Of A Controlled Substance, so that you can focus on the details that matter in your case. Remember that this page is for informational purposes only. If you would like to speak with a CO Defense Attorney to address your legal issues, call 303-586-1731.

Navigating Your Criminal Case

Laying the Groundwork for your Case

Get OrganizedAs soon as you are charged with a crime, you will need to take care of some details to get your case moving in the right direction. These foundational things include interviewing lawyers, hiring one, and beginning to prepare your case with the lawyer. Here are some useful articles on

Once you get through those introductory tasks, you will be ready to move onto the interesting parts of preparing your case.

So let’s get started!

Get to know the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Case

After you have hired a CO Defense Attorney, you will need to sit down with him to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  To begin this process, you should think about what the prosecutor will attempt to show in order to say that you are guilty. This will allow you to get a better idea of how you can attack the prosecutor’s case and build your own case. So to begin, you should understand that the prosecutor will need to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty.  These things are called “elements”.

The jury will be notified of the elements through a set of instructions called “Jury Instructions.” The Jury Instructions are a set of instructions crafted by your attorney and the prosecutor that will provide the law to the jury that they must use when deciding your case. Your CO Defense Attorney will mold the jury instructions to your case, adding facts that are specific to the case and omitting unnecessary parts of the instructions.

Please find the model jury instruction for Use Of A Controlled Substance below. These will be adapted by your CO Attorney for your case.

The elements of the crime of use of a controlled substance are: 1. That the defendant, 2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, 3. knowingly used the controlled substance(s) _________________________________________________, and (Insert the name of a controlled substance from Schedules I though V) 4. the controlled substance(s) was not dispensed by or under the direction of a person licensed or authorized by law to prescribe, administer, or dispense such controlled substance(s) for bona fide medical reasons. 5. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number ______.] After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has proven each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of use of a controlled substance. After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has failed to prove any one or more of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of use of a controlled substance. NOTES ON USE This instruction does not apply to marihuana and marihuana concentrate. When this instruction is used, the definitions of ?knowingly?, ?controlled substance?, ?dispense? and ?administer? must be given. People v. Campbell, 73 P.3d 11 (Colo. 2003)(distinction between possession and use)

To begin the process of analyzing your case, think about your case from the perspective of the prosecutor.  Think about the facts that the prosecutor will have to prove to establish each element. Next, sit down with your CO Defense Attorney and talk about some of the legal ways that you can use to counter the prosecutor’s evidence.  Talk to your attorney about whether he thinks any of the prosecutor’s evidence can be kept out of court.  For example, if you were illegally searched, your attorney may be able to keep the things that were found, as a result of that illegal search, out of court.  Additionally, talk to your attorney about whether you have any defenses to Use Of A Controlled Substance.

Consider Outside Factors that can Influence Your Case

Outside Factors that can Influence Your CaseYour CO Judge and Jury will form opinions well before they hear the evidence in your case.  You should try to understand these opinions before you decide whether to go to trial or take a plea so that you can better assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  Additionally, if you decide to go to trial, you can use these factors to help identify a jury that is appropriate for your case.

Crime Trends in Denver Colorado:

Trends play an important role in the way a community perceives a crime. For example, if the charges you are facing are occurring more and more often in the community, then the community may have a growing interest in pursuing those crimes.

For a Defense Attorney, a rising crime rate may signal the need to argue for different types of penalties. For example, if the prosecutor has consistently asked for jail for your charges, it may be beneficial for your attorney to use crime trends to show the prosecutor that there is a need for alternative jail sentences (such as rehab, probation, or other options). You should always talk to your criminal defense attorney to decide what the best strategy will be for your case and whether recent statistics can be used to help you.

Below you will find crime statistics for crimes similar to yours, occurring in Denver . You should also consider statistics for the County of Denver.

Crime: Drug Possession


On a broader scale, you should consider the number of arrests for charges similar to yours and all of the types of crimes that a court typically sees.  This broader overview of the criminal activity in your area will give you more insight into the issues that the court is dealing with and what the main problems in the community are. If you can talk about issues that are important to the judge and the community in a way that shows your awareness for those issues and your desire not to be part of the problem, then you can put yourself in a better negotiating position with the prosecutor and the judge.

Crime Arrests
All Offenses 10241
Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter 35
Forcible Rape 93
Robbery 339
Aggravated Assault 972
Burglary 681
Larceny-Theft 874
Motor Vehicle Theft 367
Arson 11
Other Assaults 1095
Forgery and Counterfeiting 110
Fraud 128
Embezzlement 24
Stolen Property; Buying, Receiving, Possessing 58
Vandalism 438
Weapons; Carrying, Possessing, etc. 217
Prostitution and Commercialized Vice 14
Sex Offense (except forcible rape and prostitution) 158
Drug Abuse Violations -Total 1570
     Sale-Manufacturing-Total 518
     Possession-SubTotal 1052
Gambling 2
Offenses Against the Family and Children 171
Driving Under the Influence 3
Liquor Laws 10
Drunkenness 0
Disorderly Conduct 41
Vagrancy 5
All Other Offenses (except traffic) 1169
Suspicion 0
Curfew and Loitering Law Violations 39
Runaways 1617
Violent Crime Index 1439
Property Crime Index 1933

Population and Race in Denver Cases

Listed below is data dealing with the percentage of each racial group that appears in Denver and the percentage that the racial group appears in Court. When looking at racial data, you should compare your situation to the expectations that these statistics create in Denver .

For example, if your race is seen less frequently in the criminal justice system than it is seen outside the criminal justice system, this could have an effect on your case. Likewise, if your race is seen more often in the criminal justice system than it is seen outside the criminal justice system, this could have an effect on your case.

You should talk to your CO Defense Attorney about how the racial trends in your county could effect your case. Racial trends can be used to your advantage depending on how citizens of Denver perceive race and the stereotypes of your community. It is important to have a discussion with your CO Defense Attorney about how racial perceptions and stereotypes can help or hurt your case.

Denver  County Colorado Population Demographics by Race Denver Police Dept County Colorado Arrest Demographics by Race

  White Black AINA API
Percentage of Race in the Population 68.9% 10.2% 1.4% 3.5%
Percentage of Crimes by Race 69.93% 28.4% 0.76% 0.92%


When preparing your case for trial, you should be aware of the life experiences and educational background of your potential jurors. The way that your arguments are presented to the jury may depend on the life experiences and educational background of the jury. You should have a discussion with your Colorado Criminal Lawyer about the types of arguments that you should make in your county and the way that your evidence should be presented to make sure it reaches the jury in the best light possible.

High School Graduates College Graduates
84.0% 40.1%

How Use Of A Controlled Substance in Denver is portrayed in the News

When you are preparing your case, it is always a good practice to know about recent news that is similar to your case. Recent news will inevitably have an influence on your jury. If your type of crime is being portrayed often, and in a negative light, this is an issue that will have to be overcome during jury selection. Likewise, if the crime is not being portrayed often, or is being portrayed in a positive light, you can use this to your advantage. Always talk to your criminal defense attorney about how recent news could effect your case.

Here is how your crime is currently being portrayed in the media. This information comes from Google News for Use Of A Controlled Substance in Denver Colorado.

Think like a Judge

Denver Judges

In a criminal case, the Judge plays a monumental role in ensuring that you receive a fair trial. Judicial tendencies can have negative and positive impacts on your Colorado Criminal Case. In order to better understand judicial tendencies and inform the citizens of Colorado, the State of Colorado conducts surveys on each Judge to see how the population perceives its Judges. These surveys are available to the public. You should take the time to talk to your Colorado Criminal Lawyer about your judge in particular and how his tendencies have effected previous cases so that you can prepare your arguments accordingly.

If you are interested in seeing how your Judge performed in his or her last survey, click on your Judge from the list below.

Judges in Judicial DISTRICT 2

The Honorable Aleene Ortiz-White
The Honorable Alfred C. Harrell
The Honorable Andre L. Rudolph
The Honorable Andrew S. Armatas
The Honorable Anne Mansfield
The Honorable Claudia J. Jordan
The Honorable Doris E. Burd
The Honorable John M. Marcucci
The Honorable John Madden
The Honorable Larry J. Naves
The Honorable Martin F. Egelhoff
The Honorable Robert B. Crew
The Honorable Robert L. McGahey, Jr.
The Honorable Robert S. Hyatt
The Honorable Sheila Ann Rappaport
The Honorable Brian Whitney
The Honorable C. Jean Stewart
The Honorable David B. Woods
The Honorable Donna J. Schmalberger
The Honorable Edward D. Bronfin
The Honorable Herbert L. Stern, III
The Honorable Michael A. Martinez
The Honorable Norman D. Haglund
The Honorable William D. Robbins
The Honorable William W. Hood, III
The Honorable Brian T. Campbell
The Honorable Clarisse Gonzales
The Honorable James B. Breese
The Honorable Johnny C. Barajas
The Honorable Larry L. Bohning
The Honorable Mary Celeste
The Honorable Raymond Satter

Statute for 18 – 18 – 404 – Use Of A Controlled Substance

StatuteBefore you decide whether you have a strong or weak case, you should also take the time to look at the language of the crime that you have been charged with. 

18-18-404. Unlawful use of a controlled substance

(1) (a) Except as is otherwise provided for offenses concerning marijuana and marijuana concentrate in sections 18-18-406 and 18-18-406.5, and as described by section 18-1-711, a person who uses any controlled substance, except when it is dispensed by or under the direction of a person licensed or authorized by law to prescribe, administer, or dispense the controlled substance for bona fide medical needs, commits a class 2 misdemeanor.

(b) Repealed.

(1.1) Repealed.

(2) and (3) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2010, (HB 10-1352), ch. 259, p. 1163, § 2, effective August 11, 2010.)

(4) Repealed.

Case Law

When you look at the Statute, you may have questions about definitions of certain words or how the Denver Court will interpret certain phrases.  To answer these questions, Defense Attorney turn to "case law."  That is, lawyer’s look at previous cases to determine how these words and phrases should be defined and interpreted. The best way to locate caselaw for free is to go to google scholar and search for legal opinions involving your charges from Colorado courts. Remember to talk to your attorney about any issues in your case and how the lawyer believes that the issues should be handled.

Colorado Penalties for Use Of A Controlled Substance


The charge of Use Of A Controlled Substance, is categorized as a:

F6, if schedule I or II controlled substance
M1, if schedule III, IV or V controlled substance

Click here to find out how much jail time is associated with this penalty.

Important Notes:

Don’t Forget about Immigration:

If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to ask your attorney whether your charges will trigger deportation if you are found guilty or plea to the charge.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca