While most criminal offences are found in the Criminal Code of Canada, drug offences are prosecuted under the authority of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Common examples of the various offences include: trafficking a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, importation into Canada and exportation, production for the purpose of trafficking or personal use, personal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a precursor substance used in production.
Drugs are not restricted by social status or ethnicity. Anyone can find themselves or a family member addicted to a controlled substance and facing criminal charges for something they can’t control, needing treatment, and having to navigate the legal system at the same time as looking after their health. People from any walk of life, from the impoverished to wealthy professionals, can find themselves in trouble: most wouldn’t know that sharing a line of cocaine with a friend or rolling and passing a joint can constitute drug trafficking. Not everyone would realize that making hash oil is a production offence. Or that travelling with a friend who has drugs in their vehicle can even put passengers at risk, sometimes with very serious charges.
In Canada, many drug offences carry severe sentences if the accused is convicted, potentially life in prison for the most serious cases. However, prosecuting a drug offence is not without challenges and there are many ways to defend these charges. If the police failed to observe your legal rights, evidence can be excluded or a case can be dismissed. The legal concept of possession can be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. It can be difficult for many accused to appreciate what their best defence is because the law at times is not in relatable language. While it is true anytime you are charges with a criminal offence you need a lawyer, it is particularly true in drug cases. You need a lawyer who can explain to you the applicable legal concepts in clear and simple language, associated with your charges. Drug law is constantly evolving – knowledge is power and your key to knowledge is the legal advice from your lawyer.
If you are charged with a drug offence you need the assistance of a lawyer you can rely on to handle your case with careful attention, with your input, and who can explain everything you need to know in a way that makes it clear for you. Your future depends on it.