Before Colorado law enforcement searches a person’s premises, auto, or person, law enforcement may question the person as to whether or not the he/she has a needle or syringe that may prick/puncture/poke/stick the officer. Law enforcement may also inquire as to whether the person has a needle or syringe on their premises or in their automobile. If the person responds affirmatively or voluntarily tells law enforcement that he or she has a needle or syringe on their person, on their premises, or in their vehicle, prior to an officer’s search, assessment, or treatment, then the police officer shall not arrest or charge the person for the needle or syringe.
Similarly, the police officer shall not arrest or charge a person for unlawful possession of a controlled substance for any small/minuscule/residual amount of drugs that may be present in the used needle or syringe. Further, the district attorney for the Colorado county where the incident occurred shall not charge the person for the needle or syringe or any small amount of drugs that may be contained within the needle or syringe.
However, the findings of the search may be used by the police to establish probable cause or reasonable suspicion for a criminal offense assuming that the original stop or search was legal.
A person shall not be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia or small amounts of drugs contained within a needle or syringe when asked by emergency medical personnel, or other first responder, if the person possesses a needle or syringe that may poke/stick/puncture/prick the medical personnel or first responder in advance of treating or assessing a person. If the person discloses the needle or syringe in answer to the first responder or medical personnel’s inquiry, or voluntarily discloses prior to any inquiry, then the person qualifies for the “no charges provision” of this statute. Identically to the law enforcement searches referenced above, the district attorney shall not charge a person with possession of drug paraphernalia, or a small amount of drugs within a needle or syringe, who discloses the existence of a needle or syringe prior to assessment or treatment by medical personnel or first responders.
Clearly the aim of the statute is law enforcement/medical personnel/first responder safety. This is a good law that doesn’t punish a person who discloses the existence of a needle or syringe and protects law enforcement/medical personnel/first responders from potentially dangerous drug paraphernalia.
If a person is found guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia in Colorado, he or she will have a record of conviction for a drug petty offense and be punished by a fine of not more than $100.