Drug Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking

Calgary Criminal Lawyers Andre Ouellette, Mike C. Gilchrist, Peter Hoare & Sadaf Raja continue to defend vigorously against drug charges, with a focus on asserting the Charter rights of clients to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention. As Parliament and Law Enforcement increase spending on drug prosecution, it is more important than ever to have a defence team at your side that you can trust.

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What is the difference between a possession and possession for the purpose of trafficking charge?

If a person is charged with possession of a drug for the purpose of trafficking, the prosecution must establish that the narcotic found was an illegal drug and that the accused was in legal possession of that drug. More importantly, the Crown must show that the accused possessed the drugs in order to sell (or give) it to others.

What factors will the court use to determine if a trafficking charge is warranted?

Ultimately, the charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking can be used if the Crown has reason to believe that the drugs would have been distributed in the future. The Crown does not have to show that the drugs were in fact already sold. The Crown will look at a variety of factors to determine if the trafficking charge is appropriate, these may include some of the following:

  • The amount of drugs involved
  • Packaging and Presentation of the illicit substances
  • The street value of the drugs discovered
  • The amount of money seized
  • Debt lists
  • Statements by the accused and any witnesses
  • Large gaps between personal wealth and declared employment income
  • Any association with known drug traffickers
  • Any materials/ equipment that could be used to distribute the drugs (scales, bags)

How Calgary Criminal Lawyers Defend your Drug Possession Charge

Often, if a large volume of drugs is seized the prosecution will file a charge of trafficking. However this does not mean that a conviction for trafficking will be secured. For instance, an accused may testify that needed a large amount of illicit drugs for personal use. This may prompt the judge to reduce the charge from possession to for the purpose to the less serious charge of simple possession. Andre, Peter and Mike have successfully dealt with trafficking level possession charges for a broad range of narcotics. Drug charges often stand or fail based on the court’s review of application to exclude evidence, assessments of police conduct and stays of proceedings. These are some of the strategies that Andre, Peter, Mike & Sadaf will use in your defense.

What is the typical penalty for possession for the purpose of trafficking?

In general the Court will examine the particulars of each case, including the quantity of the drug and the reason the accused was in possession of the drug. The commercial sale of drugs is a highly aggravating factor and usually results in significant jail terms. However, it is possible for someone facing a small drug charge to avoid a criminal record or have their charge withdrawn.

Those persons found in possession of large quantities of drugs destined for commercial sale can face can face multiple years in jail. Courts in Canada are now required to use minimum sentences of imprisonment for certain drug offences. You can read about those minimums jail times for drug offences here.

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.


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