Q: My nephew has four counts of attempting to obtain a controlled substance via fraud. How much time is he likely to get?
We know that he will do time regardless, but are wondering whether to just let him use a public defender or get a lawyer.
A: Public defenders are lawyers, and often very good ones. A private attorney generally will have more time- as you are paying them for their time- and a lower caseload, but a public defender has the advantage of being in the same courtroom every day and knowing how the judge and prosecutor will act.
A charge of attempting to obtain a controlled substance via fraud under CRS § 18-18-415 is a Class 4 Drug Felony. Each count has a presumptive range of 6-12 months in prison with 1 year of mandatory parole, which can be aggravated up to a maximum of 2 years in prison depending on other circumstances (such as being on bond or probation at the time of the offense). Generally speaking, he should be eligible for a sentence to probation or a half-way house on these charges, and it is rare to see people go to prison on a DF4 offense unless there are other aggravating factors, such as extensive criminal history and non-compliance with treatment. Ever case is different so it is very hard to say without knowing all the specific information for his case. If he is willing to take accountability and do treatment, it is likely he can avoid doing time.
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