Charged With A Drug Crime?
Drug law is a rapidly changing area of criminal law in Canada. The legal system in Canada is constantly changing its approach to drug crimes both judicially in common law and also legislatively in legislation & statute; the way drug charges, drug offenses, and drug crimes are dealt with by the Canadian legal system is fluid and dynamic.
Take this, for example, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, (Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, SC 1996, c 19) has over 30 versions and 10 amendments since its inception in 1996.
It's not just the laws themselves that change, but the attitudes and approaches of drug enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges.
Keeping up with the changes is always a challenge, as is taking advantage of the latest developments for the benefit of clients.
At Bernstein Law Group, we keep track of how the justice system treats different kinds of drug charges at any point in time so that we can best advocate for you.
Whether the drugs in question are marijuana, methamphetamines, crack/cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs, and whether you are charged with possession, trafficking, cultivation/manufacturing, we can help you navigate the process and find the best resolution for your charge.
Dealing With Drug Charges With Full InformationFor many clients, especially clients facing long incarceration, it can be tempting to immediately plead and try to get the lightest sentence possible.
Before doing so, there are two important factors to take into account: Evidence: No matter what the evidence for your charge, if it was obtained improperly, it cannot be used against you.
Even a confession may be set aside if the police did not follow proper procedure when obtaining it.
Evidence from witnesses, especially drug dealers or police informants, is not always reliable.
Wiretaps and drug paraphernalia may also be dismissed if improperly obtained. Consequences: The long-term consequences of pleading to a drug charge can be serious.
You may be able to avoid incarceration, but end up with a criminal record as a result of any drug offenses.
This could result in all kinds of negative consequences, including difficulty traveling - particularly to the States.
It could also have a significant impact on your employment in the future. Even if you are able to clear your record in Canada, other countries are under no obligation to clear your name.
You could also lose property, including homes or vehicles if they are bought with the proceeds of drugs or used to grow or sell drugs.
If you do choose to plead, or are found guilty after a trial, our lawyers will work with you to find the best resolution possible.
Particularly for first-time drug offenses, or for simple possession charges, you may be able to find alternatives to prison time or a criminal record, such as drug counseling programs.
In Ontario, crown attorneys can be very pressing when responding to potential drug crimes, especially those related to drug trafficking.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to find a knowledgeable and dedicated criminal defense lawyer when faced with any drug-related charges.
Police interrogation and investigation (searches, search warrants) activities often violate individual rights guaranteed by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Breaches of these fundamental rights may result in a full acquittal as opposed to hefty fines and painful jail sentences in a corrections facility or even a penitentiary.
For trafficking charges, the crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the illegal substances were possessed for the purpose of trafficking.
It is important that your legal representation has extensive experience working with drug cases, thorough knowledge of the Criminal Code and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, common law, and statutes related to drug offenses & your rights.
Types of Drug Offences
Drug-related offenses can bring with them a wide range of severity, implications, and risks to your financial security; rights & freedoms; career; and reputation.
Some drugs are considered illegal drugs, while others are considered controlled. Some illegal and controlled substances are considered more serious drugs or hard drugs.
In addition, quantity plays a large role in the seriousness of a drug offense.
One of the large components that contribute to the severity of any charge is the type of offense you are being charged with.
Being charged with an offense does not mean that you will be convicted of that specific drug charge. You may be able to receive a conviction on a lesser charge or even a full acquittal.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Did you know that it's actually illegal to possess tools and devices that are deemed drug paraphernalia?
You may have found out the hard way and are facing related criminal charges. Let our experienced and knowledgeable team help you with any such charges.
Certain substances are illegal to possess at any time. Other substances may be available legally but are controlled substances.
Controlled substances fall into five main categories: narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids.
A narcotic is a controlled substance that affects one's mood or behavior and is consumed for nonmedical purposes.
Many pain medications fall into this category of controlled substances, including: Codeine; fentanyl; hydrocodone; morphine; oxycodone; tramadol; and many others.
A depressant is a controlled substance that is intended to reduce functional or nervous activity as per a medical prescription.
Many substances fall into the depressant category of controlled substances, including: barbiturates; benzodiazepines; GHB, diazepam; clonazepam; Rohypnol; and many others.
A stimulant is a controlled substance that raises levels of physiological or nervous activity in your body.
Many substances fall into the stimulant category of controlled substances, including: amphetamines; cocaine; methamphetamine; khat; ice; prescription stimulants; and many others.
Many substances may cause hallucinations, especially when taken at higher doses.
Drugs categorized as hallucinogens are pretty much entirely illegal substances that cause hallucinations.
Hallucinogens are often Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and also often have no accepted medical use in Canada.
Many substances often find themselves in the hallucinogen category of controlled substances including: PCP; LSD; DMT; GHB; ketamine; mescaline; psilocybin; bath salts; and many others.
An anabolic steroid is a synthetic variation of the male sex hormone testosterone. They are often sought to increase the growth and repair of muscle tissue.
Anabolic steroids are controlled substances in Canada and it is illegal to manufacture, import, export, buy or sell these substances, including: fluoxymesterone; mesterolone; mibolerone; oxandrolone; oxymetholone; stanozolol; and many others.
Possession with Intent to Sell (possession for the purpose of trafficking)
For cases of possession with intent to sell, the prosecution must prove that a defendant intended to sell the illegal or controlled substance(s).
Factors such as quantity, paraphernalia, and measuring devices; division & packaging of the substance; and situational factors such as captured activities or conduct are often key factors in a case related to possession with intent to sell in Canada.
It is extremely important to have a knowledgeable and experienced representative that knows the ins & outs of such cases, including relevant case law, legal tests, legal defenses, and effective interpretation of facts, circumstances, & evidence.
Trafficking illegal and/or controlled substances is a serious charge and demands competent & knowledgeable legal representation.
Trafficking charges bring with them a very serious risk of incarceration.
Aggravating factors may extend the length of sentencing, which contributes to the importance of having an experienced and competent lawyer.
An array of factors can be a component of a case of drug trafficking and there are often available legal defenses and/or mitigating factors that are important to properly present to the court.
When facing trafficking charges, don't underestimate the severity of the risks to your personal freedoms—seek legal advice and representation as soon as possible.
Other Types of Drug Offences:
- Importing Illegal and/or controlled substances
- Exporting illegal and/or controlled substances
- Possession of illegal and/or controlled substances for the purpose of exporting
- Production of illegal and/or controlled substances
The Importance of Knowledgeable & Experienced Representation when dealing with Drug Offences
Drug charges often involve circumstances that may merit a valid legal defense.
Law enforcement activities can often quash charges, especially if they involve the violation of one's rights defined by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Police searches, inclusion or absence of search warrants, consent issues, and interrogation methods are just some of the important elements of a drug case that needs to be properly incorporated into an effective defense.
The CDSA (Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) must be clearly understood by your legal representative in order to know your charge, including the legal aspects that are to be weighted and interpreted in court.
Our team has worked on hundreds if not thousands of drug cases. Our drug lawyers are excited to help you with your case. We cannot stress enough the importance of working with a knowledgeable and experienced law firm.
Contact The Bernstein Law Group
Are you being charged with any drug-related charges, including drug trafficking and drug possession (small amounts or large amounts), and need legal advice and/or legal representation by a qualified drug defense lawyer?
Do you live in Toronto, the GTA Hamilton, Brampton, Burlington, Milton, or Oakville and think you may need a lawyer to help you with criminal charges? Contact Bernstein Law Group right away and you may qualify for a free consultation.