Important Sentencing Options for Felony Drug Cases in Colorado

Print Friendly

In Colorado drug cases, there are three unique opportunities that individuals charged with drug offenses should be aware of.

  1. Diversion Programs
  2. Deferred Sentences
  3. The Wobbler Statute

Diversion Programs for Drug Cases in Colorado:

A number of courts have diversion programs for individuals with drug charges.  The most common program is the “Drug Court.”  In these specialized courts, the focus is on rehabilitation rather than punishment.  This is particularly important for first time offenders because it helps the person get back on the right track without having to face prison time or a felony conviction.  When these programs are completed, typically the charge is dismissed.  More importantly, people who complete these programs do not typically commit future crimes.  In other words, people who are committed to the diversion program tend to beat their addictions and get their lives back on track.

Deferred Sentences in Colorado Drug Cases

A deferred sentence is an opportunity to have your case dismissed if you satisfactorily complete terms set out by the court.  As an example, the court may say that you have to successfully complete probation as a term of your deferred sentence.  When you complete probation, the charge gets dismissed.

Deferred Sentences, when they are offered, tend to focus on helping first-time offenders get on the right track.  The Deferred Sentence is designed to keep people’s records clean and allow them to return to their life after the case with a clean record.

The Wobbler Statute in Colorado Drug Cases

The Wobbler Statute (Section 18-1.3-103.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes) is a sentencing statute for drug cases in Colorado that turns felony convictions into misdemeanor convictions upon the successful completion of probation or community corrections.  The Wobbler Statute is invaluable for people who do not qualify for a deferred sentence or a diversion program (whether it is because of a previous criminal history or other issues that disqualify them).

Once a plea is entered on a crime that qualifies under the wobbler statute, the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor conviction upon the successful completion of probation.

Because of the significance of this statute, it is important for Colorado Drug Attorneys to try to get plea offers on more serious charges such as distribution to a lesser charge that falls within the wobbler statute.  By getting plea offers into confines of a wobbler statute, the Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney gives the defendant the opportunity to have his charge further reduced to a misdemeanor.


It is important to discuss with your Attorney the different options that may be available to you in a Colorado Drug Case.  If you want to learn more about deferred sentences, diversion programs, and the wobbler statute, please call Mountain Legal to setup a free consultation.


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