Drug trafficking is taken seriously by the Canadian justice system. In 2008, the government introduced mandatory minimum sentences for some types of Drug Trafficking offences (see below for further details). Not only can a conviction can lead to a hefty criminal sentence, it can also make it difficult to obtain work andto travel abroad, particularly to the United States. If you have been charged with Drug Trafficking, you will require strong legal representation to ensure that you receive the best defence possible.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act sets out two types of Drug Trafficking offences: Trafficking (s. 5(1)) and Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (s. 5(2)). There are a number ways of defending against these charges, including:
- arguing that you were not in possession of the drugs because you were not aware of them orthey were not yours and you had no control over them;
- arguing that you should be liable for the lesser offence of simple possession as the drugs were intendedfor your own person use, not for trafficking;and/or
- arguing that your Charter right to be free of “unreasonable search and seizure” was violated and thus the drugs should not be admitted into evidence.
The possible sentences for Trafficking and Possession for the Purposes of Trafficking vary widely, from nojail time to life imprisonment. Sentences depend upon the particular circumstances of the case, including the type and amount of drug involved. The best way to assess the possible sentence you could be facing is to contact a lawyer with experience in defending Drug Trafficking charges, explain the circumstances of your case and ask him what kind of sentence you would likely receive if convicted.
If appropriate, your lawyer may be able to arrange for you to be “diverted” out of the criminal justice system, meaning that you would not go to trial or receive a criminal record so long as you obeyed certain conditions.
However, you should be aware that there are mandatory minimum sentences for some forms of Drug Trafficking.If you are found trafficking certain types of drugs, you may be facing a minimum sentence of one year imprisonment if you:
- committed the offence in association with a criminal organization;
- used or threatened to use violence in committing the offence;
- carried, used or threatened to use a weapon in committing the offence, or
- were previously convicted of a designated substance offence or had served a term of imprisonment for a designated substance offence within the previous 10 years.
The minimum sentence could be two years imprisonment if you:
- committed the offence in or near a school or in or near any other public place where persons under the age of 18 years are generally present,
- committed the offence in a prison or on prison grounds, or
- involved a person under the age of 18 yearsin committing the offence.
If you are located in Ottawa, Toronto, Hull, Gatineau, Brockville, Cornwall, Pembroke or anywhere in Ontario or Quebec, Dynamic Legal Solutions can help you find a lawyer to fight your case.
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Dynamic Legal Solutions recommends the services of David Anber, a criminal lawyer in Ottawa who practices in Brockville, Cornwall, Montreal, Toronto and across Quebec and Ontario.