If you are convicted of a drug offense in Canada, the consequences can be swift and severe. Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, there are specific laws about drug offenses that relate to things like employment eligibility, social stigma, and international travel restrictions. As they differ from other types of criminal charges, the Criminal Code of Canada has guidelines for how drug offenses are handled.
Canadian law prosecutes three different types of drug offenses: trafficking, possession, and production of chemical substances, which are classified as either “soft” or “hard.” If convicted, the severity of the consequences has many factors. To convict anyone under the Crown Attorney, prosecutors must be able to prove that you are in possession of illegal drugs. According to the Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to possess marijuana, cocaine, hashish, heroin, ecstasy, GHB, ketamine, LSD, magic mushrooms, opium, crystal meth and any derivatives of those.
What is needed to prove that someone is in possession?
To prove possession, the Crown must be able to show two things. The first is that you had knowledge of what it is that you were in possession of, and the second is that you had some level of control over that substance.
What is needed to prove production?
For someone to be charged with the production of drugs, they must be found either synthesizing or manufacturing them by altering the physical chemical of any substance. An additional factor is if they are propagating, harvesting, or cultivating any substance, living or otherwise, to be extracted and used in the production of illegal drugs.
What is needed to prove trafficking?
To be charged with drug trafficking, there are several elements of proof that are needed. First, you must be in possession of the substance. Second, the substance that you are found in possession of must be illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. Third, you must have known that the substance was illegal. Finally, it must be shown that you did not have authorization, such as a prescription, for the controlled substance, and that you intended to sell or distribute it.
Due to the nature of drug charges, specifics need to be in place for a search of your residence or for you to be detained. If the procedures followed were unlawful, any evidence obtained from the search will be inadmissible to be used against you at trial due to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is not the job of the prosecutor to tell you when your rights have been violated, however; so if you don’t know what those rights are, then the prosecutor may use illegally-obtained evidence against you.
If you are accused of drug production, possession, or trafficking, there are ways to build a healthy and winning defense. Because there are specific steps that law enforcement has to take to conduct a search legal, if they didn’t follow those procedures, the evidence obtained may not be used against you in a court of law.
To save yourself from the serious consequences that come from being charged with a drug offense in Canada, it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the complexities that accompany drug charges.