At Ouellette Hoare Claxton, Andre Ouellette, Peter Hoare, Mike C. Gilchrist and Sadaf Raja have extensive experience defending all drug charges. The clients they have defended have had charges ranging from simple possession of a controlled substance to multiple kilogram seizures of cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl, mushrooms, or any variety of drugs listed in The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. They have helped persons accused with production of a controlled substance, cultivation of marijuana, conspiracy and importation of a controlled substance.
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How Serious is a Drug Charge in Canada?
Being charged with trafficking drugs, or “trafficking a controlled substance”, or the similar offences “possession for the purpose of trafficking” is a very serious offence in Canada. The charge can result in a wide range of legal issues depending on the nature of the drug, the amount seized, whether the possession was for personal or commercial purpose and many other factors. Moreover, often when filing drug charges the police have also laid weapons charges and/or proceeds of crime charges. A conviction for a simple possession charge can significantly restrict travel and employment opportunities. Conversely, a conviction for more serious drug charges can result in a lengthy Provincial Jail Sentence or a Penitentiary Sentence.
Obtaining proper legal representation is the first step to address these issues effectively. As top drug defence lawyers Andre, Peter, Mike and Sadaf have the comprehensive knowledge of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act necessary to prepare your case.
Trafficking, importation, cultivation, production, and and commercial drug enterprises are all at the highest end of the scale of severity. For these sorts of charges, having the help of an experienced defence counsel can greatly increase your chances of not suffering the often lengthy sentences that result from convictions. Although not common in legal practice, many of these sort of offences carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment and therefore should be treated with the highest degree of care and prudence.
It is important to keep in mind that simply because police have have caught you in the act and you feel you have no defence, an experienced lawyer can raise many other issues, such as the constitutionality of the search, that on successful argument can win your case for you.
The lawyers at Ouellette Hoare Claxton have helped clients to avoid harsh penalties and criminal records for the following charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act:
- Possession of a Prohibited or Controlled Substance s.4(1)
- Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purposes of Trafficking s.5(2) &
- Trafficking in a Prohibited or Controlled Substance s.5(1)
- Producing, Cultivating or Growing a Controlled Substance s.7
- Importing, Exporting or Possessing for the Purpose of Exporting a Controlled Substance
How we can Help: What Defences Are Available to Me Against Drug Charges?
Drug prosecution cases are often complex. A successful defence requires detailed knowledge of the Criminal Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. As is the case with all criminal charges, the police investigation, arrest and prosecution by the crown must respect your Charter rights. Those Charter rights include the right to be presumed innocent and not be convicted unless the charge is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We know how to defend your Charter Rights and Presumption of Innocence in Drug Cases
Simply because drugs are involved, does not mean that conviction is a foregone conclusion. For instance, the Crown often relies on expert evidence to prove their case. The expert will provide testimony as to the nature of the drug, the use of the drug, the cost of the drug, how the drug is packaged for sale, drug paraphernalia, score sheets, cell phone messages, and surveillance.
We understand drug expert opinions and have the skill and experience to damage the Crown’s case through effective cross-examination at trial. We often combine several defence strategies to obtain a positive ruling in your favour & have the experience necessary to challenge evidence obtained through an improper search warrant. For example, we often secure your rights by ascertaining if the following rules were followed:
- The Crown must prove that the police had a right to search you or your property.
- The Prosecution must prove that the substance in question is an illegal drug. (Even the police analysis of the drug could be improper, using incorrect analysis or continuity of the drug.)
- The police may have used surveillance to obtain evidence of your identity. It some cases, improper identification can lead to an acquittal or withdrawal of charges.
This is not an exhaustive list of defences, but is some of the many that Andre, Sadaf, Mike and Peter will review in assessing your case with you.
Are You Able to Have my Drug Charges Withdrawn?
If you are charged with possession of a soft drug (e.g. marijuana), and if the Crown views you as an eligible candidate- you may qualify for the Alternative Measures Program, (AMP). We have successfully referred hundreds of clients to the AMP program, after which their charges will be withdrawn.
What Should I Do If I Have Drug Charges: What Can I Do Right Away?
To most effectively assist your case, you should draft a chronology of everything that occurred (see the “Top 5 tips below) and have it available during your initial consultation with us. Focus your written statement primarily on your interactions with the police & call us today.
Top 5 tips for defending against drug charges:
Will I be Able to Secure Bail Conditions for Drug Offences?
It is common for bail to be secured for minor drug offenses. Depending on the gravity of the charge, you may have a curfew and cellular device ban imposed. However, if you have any prior drug convictions, it is likely that the Crown will ask the judge to remand you until your trial.
What Will Happen to me if I am Convicted?
If you are found guilty of a serious drug offense, prison time is very likely without a competent defense lawyer. Your actual sentence will vary, influenced by your past criminal history and personal circumstances. Some convictions require a mandatory incarceration period, while others may be resolved with a fine or a period of probation. Andre, Peter and Mike have successfully dealt with gram, pound, and kilogram level prosecution
We do not accept every case. However, if you are serious about dealing with your drug charges, call us for a free legal consultation of your situation.