Drug trafficking is one of the most serious drug charges you can face. Prosecutors take a hard line on these charges, seeking the fullest extent of prosecution. Cracking down hard on these types of crimes is considered a success on their record, and they are often unwilling to show leniency. When facing serious drug trafficking charges for narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine or illegal prescription drugs, you need a criminal defence lawyer who is current on the issues, meticulous at preparing your case and experienced in the trial system. The lawyer you hire may make a difference in the outcome of your case, and can have an impact on your life for years, and even decades, to come.
Drug trafficking, also known as drug distribution, is the crime of selling, transporting, or illegally importing unlawful controlled substances, such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or other illegal drugs. Drug trafficking also applies to the illegal selling or transportation of prescription drugs, which has become an increasing problem in recent years. According to the Department of Justice, the sale and manufacture of drugs accounts for almost one-fifth of all drug-related arrests.
Section 7.1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act provides as follows:
(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1)
Possession of drugs does not necessarily mean actual physical possession; there are other forms of legal possession, including “constructive possession” or “joint possession”. The legal requirements are some element of knowledge, and control. You can be found to be in possession when another person has physical custody; when they are in a place that you occupy or have some measure of control over; or when other people have the control, with your knowledge and consent.
The Criminal Code definition of possession is as follows:
Possession of substance
4. (1) Except as authorized under the regulations, no person shall possess a substance included in Schedule I, II or III.
(2) No person shall seek or obtain
(a) Substance included in Schedule I, II, III or IV, or
(b) An authorization to obtain a substance included in Schedule I, II, III or IV from a practitioner, unless the person discloses to the practitioner particulars relating to the acquisition by the person of every substance in those Schedules, and of every authorization to obtain such substances, from any other practitioner within the preceding thirty days.
The most common type of defence in drug-related prosecutions is for an accused to argue that their Charter rights have been violated. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of our Constitution and police officers must respect an individual’s rights while they are investigating crime. Unfortunately, the law in Canada has shifted in recent years to a certain level of tolerance of violations of a person’s rights in favour of a pragmatic approach.
Once your defense attorney better understands how you came to be charged, he or she can help you plan a defense.
Some possible defenses to drug trafficking charges include:
You were unaware of the drugs
For example, you had no idea the drugs were in your possession when you transported them across the border on the way home from your vacation in Mexico. Drug smugglers sometimes trick innocent people into transporting their drugs for them in clever ways. If you didn’t have any knowledge of the drugs, that might defeat the charges.
Entrapment means that the government, police, or any other agents persuaded you to take part in the drug trafficking crime. Furthermore, they provided an opportunity for you to do so. You were only coerced. Chances are, you never even intended to participate in any drug trafficking activities and this is not something you would normally do.
Drug trafficking charges could result in jail time, seized assets, and a ruined reputation. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to contact a local drug crime attorney to discuss your case and learn about your options moving forward.