Drug Possession Charges
Calgary's Top Drug Possession Defence Lawyers
We have represented thousands of individuals charged with Drug Possession offences. Peter and Ryan have successfully dealt with gram, pound, and kilogram level charges for the entire spectrum of narcotics. If you are facing Possession charges, we have the experience and dedication required to listen & effectively represent your case.
It is unlawful to possess any scheduled drug in Canada without expressed authorization. If police discover a drug listed in Schedule I, II or III on your person or on your property, they may charge you with possession. In legal terms, “possession” can include storing the substance in a location for yourself or someone else to retrieve. It can also encompass having someone keep the substance in their possession with your knowledge and consent.
A conviction for simple possession must prove that:
The drug in question is controlled by the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (i.e it is an unlawful drug).
- You were in possession of the drug
- You intended to be in possession of the drug
- You were aware of what the substance was (a drug)
Possession, Knowledge, Control: The three elements of a conviction
Possession is a grey area of drug law since the substance in question does not have to be yours, nor on your person or property to be convicted. Possession involves physical control of the substance, it can be in your personal possession or you can have willingly & with foresight placed it somewhere for your benefit or the benefit of someone else.
You may also be found guilty of possession if you agree to store drugs for someone else.
The crown can use the circumstances of your arrest to prove that you had knowledge of the existence of drugs. Other evidence used to substantiate knowledge may include communication such as text messages and E-mails. The law will also consider if you were willfully blind to the presence of illicit drugs. For instance, did the accused, “virtually knew the critical fact, and intentionally declined to secure that knowledge.” See More about Willful Blindness in this Wikibooks article.
The crown will try to prove the element of control by showing that the accused had the intention to exercise control over the substance. Control requires that the accused “had the ability to exercise some power (i.e., some measure of control ) over the item in issue.” R v Wu, 2010 BCCA 589 – three adults lived in a house with a grow-op on the upper floor. No evidence of active involvement in grow-op.
Possession charges are often a product of police searches of a vehicle or person for a non-drug related offense.
How Calgary Criminal Lawyers Defend your Drug Possession Charge
Persons are often charged with drug offences after a police search. Either their person, residence, business, or vehicle has been searched and the police have found drugs. The police may have obtained a search warrant and searched a residence. The search may also have been warrant-less and done after a vehicle stop or an arrest. Any type of police search requires reasonable grounds. An arrest or detention by a police officer cannot be arbitrary. These are basic rights enshrined under section 8 and section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A breach of these rights can lead to an application for evidence to be excluded from a trial.
Exclusion of Evidence Based on Charter Violations
Often, drug charges will center around two arguments: legal “possession” and the method which the police used to discover the drugs. Other defences include whether the drug was possessed with the intent to traffic, or the proof of the composition of the drug itself. In instances of accidental discovery, it is not uncommon for your rights to have been violated by the police. We will investigate and determine:
- Did the police have sufficient cause to stop you vehicle?
- Did the police have sufficient cause to search your vehicle?
- Were you advised of your right to call a lawyer before you were questioned about drugs or other contraband in your car/ person?
- Did the police use excessive force when conducting the search?
Ryan and Peter have also obtained acquittals by demonstrating to the court that the evidence of possession is insufficient to be beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is the Average Penalty for Drug Possession?
Sentences for possession of narcotics differ greatly based on your criminal history, personal circumstances as well as the quantity and type of drugs found. The consequences can range from absolute discharges to very lengthy penitentiary sentences. Peter and Ryan have successfully defended gram, pound, and kilogram level possession charges for the entire range of drugs.