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Colorado’s New Statute for Fentanyl Charges

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that has caused a massive public health crisis. It’s often used illicitly, leading to overdoses and fatalities. As a way to try to combat this growing problem, many officials have increased the penalties for fentanyl use and distribution in an attempt to deter people from using and distributing it. In some cases, if you give someone fentanyl and they end up dying of an overdose, you can be charged with their death.

What is Fentanyl? 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that has been around for decades, but its use has increased dramatically in recent years. It is much more potent than other opioids like heroin or oxycodone and can be used legitimately to treat severe pain, but it also has a high risk of abuse and addiction. Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine, leading to potentially deadly overdoses.

Penalties for Possession of Fentanyl in Colorado

Colorado recently passed a law that makes possessing between one and four grams of fentanyl a class four felony. This is an incredibly serious charge as class four felonies include sexual assault, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and identity theft. Punishments for this crime range from fines of $2,000 to $500,000 as well as two to six years in prison. 

Criminal Charges for Distribution of Fentanyl Causing Death

In Colorado, if your actions are found to be the proximate cause of another person’s death due to fentanyl use, you can be criminally charged and held responsible for their death. This means that even if someone did not directly supply the drug, they could still face serious consequences for their actions. For example, if you gave fentanyl to a friend who gave it to another friend who overdosed, you could be charged with that person’s death.

As you can see, you don’t have to be a “drug dealer” for this to apply. That said, prosecutors will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was your actions and your fentanyl—and not any other factor—that caused the death.

If you’re convicted of this crime, it’s a level 1 drug felony, and the court will sentence you to a at least eight years in prison. The maximum prison sentence is 32 years. 

Defending Against Fentanyl Distribution Causing Death Charges

If you have been charged with distributing fentanyl that caused someone’s death, it’s normal to be overwhelmed and scared. It is important to remember that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of distributing the fentanyl that killed the person in question. The burden of proof lies solely on them. 

Raising Doubt That the Fentanyl Was the Same

One of the most effective ways to defend against distribution of fentanyl causing death charges is by raising doubt as to whether the fentanyl that killed the victim was actually the same one that you possessed. This can be incredibly difficult for the prosecutor to prove because it is often impossible to definitively prove that you gave them their last dose. This doesn’t mean prosecutors won’t try, though.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can analyze evidence from both sides, such as witness testimony, text messages, and other forms of communication between the defendant and victim, to determine if there is any reasonable doubt as to whether it was actually the same drug. 

Colorado Springs Fentanyl Charge Defense Lawyers

Being accused of supplying the fentanyl that caused a death is an incredibly serious charge, and if you find yourself in this situation, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer right away. Contact us to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you defend yourself.