Drug offences are dealt with primarily under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. This Act makes illegal the Production, Possession or Trafficking of prescribed drugs and other controlled substances. A conviction of any of these offences could result in severe penalties.
The likely possible penalties for a drug offence conviction depend on the type of drug, the quantity of the substance and the alleged purpose for its possession. A conviction for Trafficking, Production, or Possessing for the Purpose of Trafficking will usually result in a harsher penalty than for simple Possession.
All illegal drugs and controlled substances are classified as Schedule I, II, III, IV,and V, depending on their perceived harm on users and society. Schedule I substances (e.g., cocaine, heroin) carry the harshest penalties, whereas Schedule V substances carry the lowest penalties. Marijuana has been classified as a Schedule II drug.
In many cases, individuals find themselves charged with a drug offence in circumstances they didn’t believe to be criminal in nature. For instance, actual knowledge is not required for a person to be convicted of most drug offences. A person could be convicted of a drug offence simply for suspecting that drug activity is going on if the other elements of the offence have been established. Deliberate ignorance is no defence to a drug charge.
Drug offences can be complicated and it is critical that you retain an experienced lawyer to defend your rights. If you have been charged with any drug offence, contact us immediately for a free consultation.
You can be charged with the Production of drugs or other controlled substances, or growing marijuana, regardless of the quantity of drugs found in your possession. Production includes: (a) manufacturing, synthesizing or using any means of altering the chemical or physical properties of the substance, or (b) cultivating, propagating or harvesting the substance or any living thing from which the substance may be extracted or otherwise obtained, and includes offer to produce.
The offence of Production extends beyond the person actually cultivating the drugs, and can include the owner of a property who knowingly allows others to produce illegal drugs on the property and those who assist in any way above and beyond the actual act of Production.
Consequences of a Drug Production Conviction:
The various possible penalties for a Production conviction depend on the type of drug and, in some cases, the quantity of the substance as well as other aggravating factors. Under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, a conviction for Production can carry a maximum possible penalty of up to life imprisonment (for certain “hard drugs”) and, in certain cases, a minimum sentence of up to 3 years imprisonment.
Possession of Illegal Drugs or Controlled Substances
The Controlled Drug and Substances Act makes the Possession of illegal drugs and other controlled substances an offence, and a conviction for Possession can result in prison time and heavy fines.
To be in possession of a substance, one must have knowledge and control of the substance. What constitutes “knowledge” and what constitutes “control” is intricately defined through years of case law.
Many people mistakenly believe that they can only be charged with Possession if they actually hold a drug or have it on their person. However, Possession can include joint Possession. Where one person holds a drug with the knowledge, consent, and assisted control of others, all parties can be convicted of the offence. A person can also be in Possession of a drug if that person has it knowingly stored anywhere and that person has a measure of control.
An knowledgeable and experienced criminal lawyer can be of vital assistance in examining whether all of the required elements of the offence, including knowledge and control, can be proven.
If you have been charged with Possessing an illegal drug or controlled substance, do not take the charges lightly. Even a conviction of simple Possession of marijuana for personal use can result in up to 6 months imprisonment and burden you with up to $1000 in fines.
Resist the urge to face these charges alone, no matter how small. We are often able to secure the withdrawal of charges or an acquittal. However, even where the Crown has a strong case against you, we can work to ensure the best possible outcome.
Consequences of a Drug Possession Conviction:
The various possible penalties for a Possession conviction depend on the type of drug, the quantity of the substance as well as the alleged purpose of Possession. Under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, a conviction for Possession can carry a maximum possible penalty of up to 7 years imprisonment (for certain “hard drugs”).
Even a conviction for simple Possession of marijuana for personal use can carry a maximum possible penalty of up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.
Trafficking Drugs or Controlled Substances
The Criminal Code defines Trafficking quite broadly. It includes selling, administering, giving, transferring, transporting, sending or delivering illegal drugs or controlled substances, or offering to do any of these things. Trafficking can be anything from selling drugs to simply giving someone a drug. Sharing a hit of an illegal drug with another person is also Trafficking. Trafficking cases can arise out of circumstances as simple as a brief interaction between two people at a party for a small amount of marijuana or be as complex as an ongoing conspiracy over a long period of time involving multiple organizations for large quantities of “hard drugs”. Evidence in these more complex cases can include complicated issues such as ongoing police visual surveillance, phone call wiretapping and informants.
Under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, people who aid or abet those who Traffic in drugs are included as parties to the offence.
It is not uncommon in drug trafficking cases for the prosecution to use expert evidence in court. Experts, often experienced police officers, may give their opinion on a variety of matters, such as whether a certain quantity of drugs constitutes evidence to prove Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking or an interpretation of coded language that a suspect may use in a case to assist a judge or jury to interpret what the coded language means in the context of a Trafficking case.
Trafficking charges should be taken very seriously. Depending on the nature of the drug and the amount, Trafficking can result in extremely serious penalties. In addition to possibly lengthy incarceration, a conviction for Trafficking can have a serious and lasting impact on a person’s employment and immigration status.
Consequences of a Drug Trafficking Conviction:
The various possible penalties for a Trafficking conviction depend on the type of drug, the quantity of the substance as well as whether it is a first time offence. Under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, a conviction for Trafficking can carry a maximum possible penalty of up to life imprisonment (for certain “hard drugs”) and, in certain cases, a minimum sentence of up to 3 years imprisonment.
Even a conviction for Trafficking in a small amount of marijuana can carry a maximum possible penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment.
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