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Calgary Drug Charge Defence: What Is Your Best Bet?

The number of drug prosecutions has declined throughout Canada. This trend began well before cannabis was legalized in 2018. However, Alberta prosecutors remain vigilant. Among the various provinces, Alberta ranks fourth in the number of drug-related prosecutions. Annually, Calgary pursues about 6500 drug offence cases.

If you are the target of a drug-related investigation or prosecution, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. A conviction for a drug offence carries with it the possibility of a mandatory minimum sentence, which means time in prison, along with fines and fees. Your freedom and your family’s future are dependent upon representation by experienced, competent, and compassionate counsel: a lawyer who knows the players, the system, and the law. You don’t want just any lawyer. You want a lawyer who knows and is known within Calgary’s criminal bar. You can begin and end your search at Bulwark Law.

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What Are Drug Charges?

There are various classifications of drugs under Canadian law, which are broadly categorized by potential harm. Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, these are the four most commonly used Schedules:

  • Schedule I: cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy (MDMA) and others
  • Schedule II: synthetic cannabinoids
  • Schedule III: LSD, psilocybin (mushrooms) and various ecstasy-like substances
  • Schedule IV: Steroids, various prescription pills

In addition, marihuana is regulated under the Cannabis Act. While a number of situations involving marihuana were de-criminalized in the last few years, there are still a number of criminal offences involving the possession, trafficking and production of marihuana.

In addition to the chemical composition of the illegal substance, drug charges can include a variety of offences, from mere possession to manufacture to distribution.

  • Drug possession
  • Drug possession for the purpose of trafficking
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug importing
  • Drug exporting
  • Drug production

The severity of the charges depends on a combination of factors: the illegal substance, its quantity, and what activities are alleged. In addition, there can be aggravating circumstances, such as the threat of violence, use of weapons, sale to youth, or distribution around schools, playgrounds, or other areas where minors congregate. Furthermore, your personal history impacts any prosecution. A prior criminal conviction or plea deal might affect how the case is pursued and what options are available for negotiation.

How Severe Can the Penalties for Drug Charges Get?

This combination of factors—the classification of the illegal substance, the quantity confiscated, and the activity alleged—along with any aggravating factors and your personal criminal history, if any, are all determinative of how severe penalties might get upon conviction or taking a plea.

Specifically, the manufacture and trafficking of illegal drugs carry harsher penalties. The maximum penalty for certain production, importing, exporting and trafficking offences is life in prison. Even selling small quantities of hard drugs such as cocaine, fentanyl or methamphetamine regularly attracts jail sentences in excess of two years.

The threat of these penalties creates an urgent need to retain legal counsel who can protect your rights and liberty aggressively and professionally. You want a Calgary criminal defence lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced, who has a reputation among police and prosecutors for rigorous defence of clients, and who is fearless. You want Bulwark Law to defend you or your loved one.

What Are the Best Defences to a Calgary Drug Charge?

Every drug offence prosecution is different. Finding a viable defence requires a thorough analysis of the facts surrounding any police investigation, how warrants were secured, how evidence and testimony were gathered, how scientific tests were conducted, and how witnesses were prepared by the Crown. In addition, who you are and your personal history comes into play. At various times during a prosecution, there are opportunities to engage with prosecutors to try to negotiate having charges withdrawn or lessened, to propose a plea bargain, or to move forward full throttle to defend against any allegations.

A criminal conviction requires that the Crown prove each element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. That is an extraordinary burden. For example, if you are charged with possession of an illegal substance, the Crown must prove that you knew you about the drugs and that they were actually in your control. It is up to your Calgary drug charges lawyer to devise strategic defences that disrupt the Crown’s version of what happened by introducing doubt or offering a counter-narrative.

Sometimes, the most effective defence is merely blowing holes in the Crown’s version of the facts. Other times, effective defences can mean alibis, misidentification by witnesses, inaccurate scientific testing, or cross-examination of witnesses that causes the jury to doubt the credibility of their entire testimony. That’s how reasonable doubt appears.

Defences arise at different stages of a prosecution. During pretrial proceedings, your lawyer might move to exclude evidence or witness testimony that was secured in violation of rights protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Without that evidence or testimony, the Crown might not have proof of all the elements of the crimes charged, forcing a dismissal of the Indictment or the elimination of some of the more severe charges. Witness testimony that is tainted by undue pressure from prosecutors, biased, or perjured can be kept away from the jury by strategic use of pretrial motions. Because the Crown must reveal all of the evidence it has against a defendant, an experienced drug charges lawyer can “see” ways to introduce reasonable doubt.

Contact Bulwark Law Today

Your freedom and your family’s future are too precious to squander. At Bulwark Law, our compassionate, knowledgeable, and skilled lawyers have a reputation among Calgary prosecutors and judges for aggressive and effective representation. Call us today at 403 678 7360 or complete the contact form to arrange your free initial consultation.

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“Believe it or not, they managed to pull off a complete exoneration – all charges dropped, no fine, no hit on my insurance!  Thanks, Bulwark for a great job!!!  Five stars!”