Yes, and the consequences are some of the most severe under Canadian law. A person caught carrying a Schedule I drug could face life imprisonment—even for a first offence. If you have been charged with possession of a large quantity of drugs, it’s vital to speak to our drug trafficking defence lawyers as soon as possible.

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Drugs Across the Border?

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act expressly prohibits importing or exporting any substance included in Schedule I, II, III, IV, V, or VI. It also prohibits possession of these substances for the purpose of exporting them from Canada. It assigns the same penalties to possession with intent to traffic as it does to trafficking.

Depending on the circumstances of the crime, you may be sentenced to:

  • At least one year. A mandatory term of one-year imprisonment will be imposed on anyone trafficking a Schedule II substance or less than one kilogram of a Schedule I substance.
  • At least two years. Anyone convicted of carrying more than one kilogram of a Schedule I substance will suffer a minimum of two years imprisonment.
  • Up to three years. Anyone found guilty of trafficking a Schedule IV substance faces imprisonment for up to three years if the Crown has elected by indictment or one year for a summary conviction offence.
  • Up to ten years. Anyone found guilty of trafficking a substance included in Schedule III or V is liable to imprisonment for up to ten years for an indictable offence, while a summary conviction for the same offence carries a maximum of eighteen months imprisonment. The same penalties apply to anyone convicted of possessing, producing, selling, importing, or transporting anything intended for use in trafficking a substance included in Schedule I, II, III, or V.
  • Life imprisonment. If you’re convicted of carrying more than one kilogram of a Schedule I substance, you could be ordered to serve life in prison. Drugs listed in Schedule I include hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin, but also methamphetamine, GHB, and Rohypnol.

Is There Any Way Out of the Mandatory Minimum Sentence?

There have been recent efforts to reduce the penalties for certain drug offences, including overturning mandatory minimums. While mandatory minimums still apply in Schedule I and Schedule II drugs cases, courts can choose not to enforce the minimum sentence in cases without aggravating circumstances.

Aggravating factors in the import or export of Schedule I or Schedule II substances include:

  • Crimes committed for the benefit of, or in association with, a criminal organization
  • Crimes involving the use or threat of violence
  • Offences involving the use or threat of use of weapons
  • Defendants who have been previously convicted of a prior drug offence within the last ten years
  • Crimes committed through the abuse of a position of trust or authority or misuse of access to a restricted area
  • Drug offences committed in a prison
  • Offences committed in or near a school or school grounds or near an area usually frequented by minors
  • Crimes committed using the services of, or involving, a person under 18 (including selling to a minor)
  • Production offences using real estate belonging to a third party
  • Production offences involving potential security, health, or public safety hazards to children or in a residential area
  • Crimes where the offender placed or set a trap

The lawyers at Kruse Law work to protect you by any legal means available to us. Even if you’re facing conviction, we may argue that no aggravating factors apply to your case or that a prison sentence isn’t necessary despite aggravating factors. We may be able to delay sentencing until you complete a drug treatment court program, after which the court may decide a reduced sentence is more appropriate in the circumstances of your case.

Our legal team is comprised of several former prosecutors who are prepared for the tactics the Crown uses to get a conviction. Don’t try to fight criminal charges alone! Contact us today to set up your free case review and learn how to minimize the disruption to your life.

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