Unlawful use of a controlled substance is defined by CRS 18-18-404 which provides:

(1)(a) Except as is otherwise provided for offenses concerning marihuana and marihuana concentrate in sections 18-18-406 and 18-18-406.5, any 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 such controlled substance for bona fide medical needs, commits:

    1. A class 6 felony, if the controlled substance is listed in schedule I or II of part 2 of this article;
    2. A class 1 misdemeanor, if the controlled substance is listed in schedule III, IV, or V of part 2 of this article.

If you would like to schedule an initial consultation, contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney, we represent clients in Boulder, Colorado, and the surrounding area. The Savela Law Firm, P.C. Give us a call at (720) 821-1001 or complete our inquiry form.

When any person is found guilty of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, after the trial or upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court shall conduct an investigation to determine whether or not the defendant is:

  1. Addicted to a controlled substance;
  2. In need of treatment for the use of a controlled substance; or
  3. Dependent on a controlled substance.


Colorado has increasingly taken rehabilitation-based approaches to drug possession crimes. As such, if a court determines the accused is addicted to a controlled substance or in need of treatment, the court can declare the person to be in need of treatment and court proceedings will be suspended for up to four years. If the person violates the terms imposed by the court of their treatment then the court may proceed with a criminal case. However, the court also has the discretion to discharge the person from treatment in the court’s discretion or upon completion of treatment at which point the case is dismissed and will not reflect a conviction.

Contact a Colorado criminal defense lawyer representing clients in Denver, CO today to schedule your initial consultation.

Although each case is different, there are several defenses to controlled substance possession cases including the option for the rehabilitation-based treatment outlined above.  Many of these defenses can be used to get charges dropped or dismissed or a not guilty verdict at trial.

If you have been charged with unlawful use of a controlled substance a skilled Denver drug attorney is essential.  Get in touch with experienced Boulder-controlled substance defense attorney Jason Savela by calling (720) 821-1001.

Denver controlled substance defense attorney Jason Savel has decades of experience fighting drug charges and can help you get the best possible outcome for your case.