All drug offences should be taken seriously and acted upon immediately with the help of a professional criminal defence lawyer. They can range from small-scale drug possession (possession of a smaller amount of any illegal drugs including marijuana, LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, mushrooms, etc.), to trafficking or possession for the purpose of trafficking.
The consequences of such charges, especially the latter, are serious. Sentences for drug-related offences can vary depending on the seriousness of the accusation and can go from a small monetary fine to life imprisonment. Having an experienced lawyer on your side to assist with your defence is vital for your case.
Drug Possession and Trafficking
Canada’s drug offence laws are based on schedules (a list categorizing the drugs and amounts prohibited for trafficking or possession) and are used to help determine sentencing. Moreover, penalties for drug trafficking and drug possession in Canada can vary due to a number of factors: if it was a first time offence, if minors were involved or if the individuals were trafficking drugs at a prison or near a location frequented by minors, and if the crime committed is considered a summary, hybrid or indictable offense.
The Criminal Code of Canada, however, does have structured legislation in place to determine the appropriate penalty for indictable offenses. For example, trafficking in Schedule I drugs such as cocaine, crack, and heroin, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Possession of Schedule I drugs, though, is a maximum of 7 years.
Currently, possession of Schedule II drugs (marijuana and hash) over 3 kg is considered trafficking and is liable as an indictable offence with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. An amount of up to but less than 3 kg carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail, whether or not you possess the substance with the intention of trafficking or are trafficking that amount.
Schedule III drugs, which lists amphetamines, LSD, and hallucinogens, require a prescription or license to be legally possessed Lacking that, the maximum sentence is 3 years for possession and 10 years for trafficking.
Schedule IV drugs include barbiturates and steroids. For these types of drugs, possession and trafficking both carry a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison.
Needless to say, the intricacies of the legal system can be confusing and overwhelming. Not knowing where you stand on drug possession and trafficking charges against you can be scary. Getting expert legal advice on your case before you do anything is the first step to take. Even though the laws regarding certain substances, in particular marijuana, are changing, each situation is unique and legal counsel may be critical to ensuring that the appropriate steps are taken, particularly with charges that may be considered by the media to be a “gray” zone.
Read more about marijuana laws in Canada and how it compares to other countries.
- Up in Legal Smoke: Canada’s Marijuana Mess
- Marijuana Lessons for Canada: USA vs Portugal vs Netherlands
The lawyers at OMQ are experienced and knowledgable with the legal system and, in particular, the legislative developments that are occurring with the nationwide legalization of marijuana. Thus, despite any changes or new policies Canada can expect, we can work to determine which measures will best ensure a successful and cost effective defense strategy for you.
A highly skilled lawyer with a persistent attitude is what the OMQ team ultimately provides. Whether you need a simple consultation or need a marijuana lawyer based in Toronto, no matter what the case, we can provide you with an assessment of the evidence presented and advise you accordingly to the best of our knowledge and experience. With OMQ, you can walk into the courtroom confident, informed and fully aware of where you stand.
OMQ priorities are that:
- Your rights in front of the court will be optimally represented.
- Inappropriate charges will be withdrawn and any potential sentence be minimized as much as possible.
- You are aware of the potential consequences and the available options when it comes to the charges being alleged against you.