A client retained us to represent him in a class three drug felony for distributing marijuana in Denver. This case did not present any significant legal or factual issues worth risking by taking the case to trial since there was a full admission and video of the offense. To complicate the matter, the client was not a citizen of the United States, so any conviction that involved a federal controlled substance would immediately result in the client’s deportation.
With this in mind, we collaborated with an immigration attorney to determine the client’s immigration status as well as the risks he faced from the charges. Our strategy involved coming up with a creative disposition that would satisfy the District Attorney (DA) while avoiding severe immigration consequences.
In Colorado, there is one chemical (Morpholine) considered a controlled substance under state law but not under federal law. This became important because it allowed the client to plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance to satisfy the DA. At the same time, it would not be recognized as a controlled substance offense for immigration purposes. We drafted a comprehensive mitigation letter to the DA explaining the client’s personal situation, including a full recitation of the possible immigration consequences. The DA agreed to the plea deal as proposed.
To prepare for this disposition, we carefully drafted the plea agreement paperwork to avoid negative immigration consequences. In addition, upon our advice, the client obtained certified copies of this agreement to keep for his records and provide to the immigration attorney to protect himself. Ultimately, a detailed approach to the unique issues in this case along with a comprehensive and substantive proposal to the DA produced a fantastic result for this client.