Many think Canada is pretty lax when enforcing drug-related crimes, but that is far from true. With the application of the CDSA and mandatory minimums, the fight against drug crime has excited Canada.
However, this also means that you or your loved one can erroneously get charged for drug-related crimes, and the best thing to do is to learn how to beat drug trafficking charges in Canada.
Luckily this article compiles whatever you need to know to avoid drug charges and the penalties.
What is the CDSA, and what substances are listed under it?
The CDSA or Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is Canada’s law governing illegal drugs. It aims to use policies to diminish drug use and drug-related crimes.
The substances listed under the CDSA include:
- Psilocybin’ Magic Mushrooms’
There are many more substances and derivatives of drugs in the CSDA, but the list above contains the most commonly found and the most harshly punished ones.
What are the types of drug charges?
The CSDA has different levels of drug charges, and the courts try to differentiate drug charges according to their severity. The different types of charges include:
- Simple Possession
- Possession with the intention of trafficking
- Importing and Exporting
What can determine your sentence if convicted?
If you or your loved one is charged with one of the crimes listed above, the amount of time they can be sentenced depends on the following:
- Prior Records
- Level of involvement in the drug organization
- Whether the offence was impulsive or planned
- Amount of the drugs seized
- Type of drugs or if there were multiple types.
An important thing to note is that the court sympathizes with those suffering from an addiction and makes certain exceptions accordingly, such as sentencing them to Drug Treatment Court (DTC).
Things to do when you are charged with drug trafficking
Usually, heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamines have the harshest penalties, leading to life imprisonment, although this is reserved for the worst offenders.
If you’re found guilty under the CDSA, your life can dramatically change. Jail time and fines will take their toll on you. This, combined with the social stigma of being a criminal and being unable to work in certain industries and travel overseas, are all expected outcomes of being found guilty.
Hence, you need to contact a lawyer as soon as you face drug charges.
What must the Crown prove for you to be charged?
There are four main factors that the Crown courts must prove with doubt are:
- The accused was actually in possession of the drug
- They knew the drug was illegal
- They intended to possess the drug
- The drug is prohibited under the CDSA
It is crucial to hire a lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of the CDSA and get a favourable verdict for you.
How to beat drug Charges in Canada?
First things first – go to a lawyer.
Experienced defence lawyers know how to fight drug charges. They will draw on your unique circumstances to prevent a conviction. In addition to charges of trafficking, you can also be charged with possession charges.
It is on the prosecution to prove that you committed any of the crimes you were accused of.
Your lawyer can raise a reasonable doubt that you’re the individual who committed the crime of trafficking. If your lawyer can prove that you were uninvolved in the drug’s selling, transportation, or trafficking, you can be found not guilty.
The Crown also has to prove that you had knowledge and intention when found with the drugs. If your lawyer can prove that you did not know that the drug was illegal or you were unaware that you had the drugs, then the case can be found in your favour.
Another critical factor is how the search and seizure of the drugs were conducted. Under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the case can be thrown out if the search and seizure were conducted without a search warrant or consent.
The prosecution also needs to prove that the drug is illegal and that you had the intention to traffic.
Therefore, you must share every detail pertaining to your case with your lawyer.
What are the maximum sentences for drugs charges in Canada?
Controlled substances under CDSA are categorized under schedules I to VIII, with the most severe at the top. There are also mandatory minimum sentences for certain drugs.
For schedule I and II drugs, you can expect a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for trafficking and 7 years for possession.
Schedule III drugs carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, while Schedule IV drugs have a maximum of 3 years.
Drug charges are serious and can change your life if not dealt with correctly. Significant jail time, massive fees, and lack of job prospects will make your life incredibly difficult. Therefore, you must seek guidance and advice from an experienced attorney who will fight tooth and nail for your rights.
Hopefully, this article has given you all the information you need to know how to beat drug charges in Canada.