Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act classifies drugs into categories based on perceived dangerousness and sets penalties depending on the category of the drug and its weight. Drug offences include a range of offences, including possession, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, production, importation, and involvement in any of these activities. Drug offences are often part of a criminal enterprise that involves weapons charges and other criminal acts. The penalties for many drug offences are severe.
If you face drug charges, you need an experienced and skilled drug offences lawyer to help you navigate the many complexities of criminal prosecution. That includes arrest, bail hearing, disclosure review, negotiations with prosecutors, and trial, if necessary. It is never a good idea to speak with police or prosecutors upon arrest or try to represent yourself. Your rights and freedom are too precious to risk by representing yourself. At Bulwark Law, our knowledgeable lawyers know how to defend your rights.
Drug Offence Cases We Work On
Drugs, and controlled substances are classified by level of purported dangerousness.
- Schedule 1: cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy and opioids such as fentanyl
- Schedule 2: synthetic marihuana
- Schedule 3: hallucinogens such as LSD, certain mushrooms, amphetamine-derivatives, and other sedatives and stimulants
- Schedule 4: steroids, prescription medications and other substances
Marijuana and its derivatives are now prosecuted under the Cannabis Act. As of October 17, 2018, adults can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, dried or its equivalent, and can buy dried or fresh cannabis or cannabis oils from a licensed retailer. However, possession and sale of marijuana outside the perimeters of the Cannabis Act are still illegal.
Trafficking in prescription drugs, such as anabolic steroids, painkillers, stimulants, tranquillizers, and barbiturates, is also prosecuted under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Drug Trafficking: The most serious charges involve drug trafficking, including charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking, production, and importation of a controlled substance. These charges can be aggravated by weapon use, prior drug offence convictions, and distribution to minors. Investigations into drug trafficking often involve lengthy and expensive police work, so the prosecution works hard to justify the government’s investment of time and resources. Therefore, the reputation and skill of your drug offences lawyer are essential to the outcome of your case.
Drug Possession: The severity of the charge depends on the classification of the illegal drug and the weight of the illegal substance. Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana can still be prosecuted with considerable penalties. A person does not have to physically have the drugs on them in order to be charged with drug possession. Simply being in the presence of illegal drugs, allowing a passenger in your car to hold drugs, or storing drugs in a property under your control can lead to a drug possession charge. To successfully prove drug possession, the Crown must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the possession was with knowledge and control.
What Are the Potential Consequences of Drug Offence Charges?
Drug trafficking is a serious offence and often requires the Crown to make an enormous investment of time and resources to investigate. The determination of how the Crown will proceed depends on a series of factors:
- Whether this is a first-time offence
- The quantity of the drugs
- The classification of the drugs and their dangerous nature
Penalties are also determined by these factors. Trafficking a Schedule 1 drug has a maximum penalty of life in prison. Trafficking in a Schedule 3 drug can bring a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Trafficking in a Schedule 4 drug, the least serious category of controlled substances, still has a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.
Drug possession is a hybrid offence and can be tried as a summary conviction or an indictable offence. As in all drug prosecutions, the severity of the charge depends on the quantity of the drugs and their classification.
Penalties for minor drug possession range from fines to probation to a few months in jail for the most serious of drugs. For example, a conviction for possession of fentanyl routinely results in multiple months of jail time.
How Can a Drug Offences Lawyer Help You?
Representing yourself when facing the Crown’s authority is a grave mistake. The best thing to do is remain silent and engage the services of an experienced drug offences lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer will:
- Protect your rights while building a viable defence
- Investigate the police to challenge their methods and means of securing evidence and testimony from witnesses
- Negotiate with prosecutors
- Develop an effective legal strategy
- Prepare for trial if necessary
In addition, a criminal defence lawyer with a credible record of success can prompt prosecutors to consider withdrawing charges or charging lesser offences.
At Bulwark Law, we recognize that you need a rigorous defence from the very start to protect your future and family. We can help.
Contact Bulwark Law Today
Criminal charges of drug possession or trafficking are serious. You need skilled legal representation from Bulwark Law to protect your rights and freedom. Our lawyers have a reputation amongst judges and prosecutors in Calgary and throughout Alberta for aggressive, knowledgeable representation. Call 403 678 7360 or contact us online to arrange your free initial consultation.