Possession of a controlled substance, as defined by Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, is illegal but is prosecuted differently if the drugs are intended to be sold or if they are being used personally. Traffic stops or arrests on other charges that uncover illegal drug possession are the most common circumstances for prosecution. Evidence of intent to distribute, usually based on quantity, among other factors, causes the Crown to prosecute aggressively. When simple possession of illegal drugs is the result of addiction, treatment is most often the end result.
A skilled and experienced drug possession lawyer can help you navigate the many complexities of criminal prosecution. These include arrest, bail hearing, disclosure review, negotiations with prosecutors, and trial, if necessary.
If you are arrested for drug possession, do not speak with police or prosecutors upon arrest. It is always a mistake to try and represent yourself. Never risk your precious rights and freedom by going it alone. The knowledgeable drug possession lawyers at Bulwark Law know how to defend your rights with professionalism and efficacy.
What Is Drug Possession in Calgary?
Drug possession means having an illegal drug in your possession and control without a valid prescription. However, to be vulnerable to prosecution, you need not have actual possession of the drugs. Hiding the drugs in a place where you maintain access or control is enough to secure a conviction. Having joint possession of the drugs with another person is also considered possession.
Drugs and controlled substances are classified by level of purported dangerousness in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
- 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.
What Are the Potential Consequences of Drug Possession Charges?
Penalties for drug possession depend on the classification of the drug, the quantity, prior criminal record, whether there is evidence of intent to distribute, and whether the defendant is an addict requiring treatment.
A first offence might be prosecuted as a summary election, which includes a maximum fine of $1000 and/or a maximum jail sentence of 6 months. Subsequent prosecutions might raise the fine to $2000 and impose a jail sentence of up to one year. However, if the Crown decides to proceed by indictment rather than use the summary election, penalties are stiffer, with a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
When addiction is underlying drug possession, an effective drug possession lawyer can advocate to have the possession charge withdrawn and the defendant enter into the Alternative Measures Program. The purpose of the Alternative Measures Program is to divert offenders from the traditional criminal justice system and to either provide the counselling and treatment needed or repay the community through volunteer service. However, with the possession charge withdrawn, there will be no criminal record so long as all conditions are met. An experienced drug possession lawyer knows how to establish the record needed to make this a viable alternative to prosecution and imprisonment.
Having a criminal record of any kind, especially for drug possession, has a devastating impact on your life, ability to earn a living, and family. Any conviction for drug possession, even for minor amounts, can carry a lifetime ban on entry into the United States, even if you later receive a pardon. And for those with permanent status, a criminal record can immediately impact your immigration status.
How Can a Drug Possession Lawyer Help you?
If you face drug possession charges, you need experienced legal representation immediately. At Bulwark Law, we have a long history of successfully protecting the rights of those who face the full force of the Crown’s authority. We strongly recommend that you remain silent while we begin to construct a strong and viable defence. Our knowledgeable drug possession lawyers will investigate the police, challenging both their methods and the way they secure evidence and witness testimony. And we will negotiate with prosecutors, develop an effective strategy, and prepare for trial if necessary.
Prosecutors are more likely to consider withdrawing charges or charging lesser offences when facing knowledgeable defence lawyers. You need a rigorous defence from the start of any criminal prosecution to protect your future and your family. Bulwark Law stands ready to help.
Contact Bulwark Law Today
When you face criminal drug possession charges, your reputation, future and potentially your freedom are on the line. That is why you should retain the skilled services of Bulwark Law right away. Our experienced lawyers know how to build a case and protect your rights. We are recognized among Calgary prosecutors and judges for providing aggressive representation with integrity and a deep knowledge of criminal law and procedure. Call 403 678 7360 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.