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Man faces DUI conviction, but avoids drug conviction

A man's drug-related charges in Colorado were recently dismissed. This took place because the prosecution was unable to convince the judge presiding over the case that the substance the man consumed was actually a controlled substance. Instead of facing drug charges, he was charged and convicted of DUI.

In this case, the man told medical staff one day that he may have taken some opiates. At the time, he had a white substance around his mouth and nose. Once the man was stable, staff discovered that he had pink pills with stars on them.

A scientist with the state's Bureau of Investigation was not available to testify whether the supposed opiate was actually a controlled substance based on Colorado's list of controlled substances, as the scientist was on vacation when the trial took place. Rather than being a controlled substance on the state's list, prosecutors claimed the drug may have been a so-called designer drug that had been altered to avoid detection. The man had almost 3.5 grams of the substance on him.

According to prosecutors, the drug was called an analog drug. This is a drug that has been changed on purpose so that it is different from the items on the state's list of controlled substances. Although the drug charges have been dismissed, the man was sentenced to supervised probation for three years for his second conviction for DUI. He will also go to jail for 100 days.

Understandably, being accused of DUI or a drug crime can be frightening. However, prosecutors in Colorado must prove a DUI or drug charge beyond a reasonable doubt before a criminal conviction can be secured. This standard is in place in an effort to protect innocent people from being convicted of crimes they did not commit. A careful review of all of the evidence that the prosecution plans to provide to support its allegations might be a major area of focus for defense counsel in such a case.

Source: vaildaily.com, "Drug charge dismissed for lack of evidence", Randy Wyrick, March 13, 2017

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