If you have been arrested for a drug crime, a criminal defence lawyer can help you deal with the complex legal court process that follows. If you have been charged with a drug-related offence, it is important to know the basic laws regarding drug offences in the country and to understand the significance of enlisting a top drug crime defence lawyer to help protect your rights and your future.
Proving Drug Possession
Irrespective of ownership, possessing prohibited drugs is illegal in Canada under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act.
In order to obtain a conviction for possession of an illegal drug, the prosecutor is required to prove two elements:
- The illegal drug was on the body of the defendant or in a place they control, such as their home or car, and
- The defendant knew what the substance was and that it was illegal.
First-time arrests and/or possession of small amounts of drugs usually constitute a summary conviction offence. However, other circumstances of arrest may lead to a more serious indictable charge.
Possible Penalties for Drug Possession
Drug possession penalties depend on aggravating and mitigating factors such as:
- Drug type,
- Quantity of drug in possession,
- Possibility of violence,
- Past criminal record, and
- Personal circumstances including age, employment, prior good character, mental health, etc.
Minimum and maximum penalties are decided as per established laws in Canada. These might include court-ordered drug treatment programs, fines and imprisonment.
A qualified drug crime lawyer is essential to help you avoid a drug conviction.
Defences Against Possession Charges
Improper police procedure and illegal search and seizure are the most common legal defences against drug possession charges in Canada.
If your vehicle has been pulled over, police officers can only look in your windows and use a flashlight. However, they cannot enter your vehicle to perform a proper search unless they have reasonable and probable grounds to believe there is evidence of drugs, alcohol or a crime being committed inside or that evidence could be compromised in the duration of a warrant being issued.
In most situations performing a personal search of a suspect without consent is not allowed. However, if you happen to be in a location where a drug search is in effect, the police can legally search you.
If you are uncomfortable, you could politely voice your objections to the police and ask to consult your lawyer and see how the police react. If the police ask to search you and there are drugs in your possession, you should not consent to the search.
In most situations, the absence of a search warrant or the owner’s permission renders a police search of a residence illegal. However, there are exceptions to every rule. Assuming the police are exercising a search warrant on a residence or your business, the police are obliged to identify themselves and show you a copy of the warrant, while ensuring that they do not damage your property or be aggressive.
Contact a Criminal Defence Lawyer
At Kruse Law, we help those who are arrested for criminal drug offences build a strong legal defence. We have a team of experienced former criminal and drug prosecutors ready to serve you. Our team is compassionate, professional, experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of criminal law, including drug offences. We are committed to working hard on your case and obtaining the best outcome possible. If you are arrested for any type of crime in Ontario, including a drug charge, contact us at +1-800-699-0806 for a consultation, or complete the consultation form.