Crimes involving illicit drugs range from relatively minor to exceedingly serious. In this area, the federal government has introduced changes that bring into effect mandatory jail terms for some offences, which will likely cause more cases to go to trial.
The lawyers at Martland & Saulnier are familiar with drug prosecutions. These are often cases in which the legality of the police conduct is an issue. We regularly bring applications under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to exclude evidence (such as drugs seized from our client’s car, home or person). Moreover, there may be technical and legal issues that will give rise to a reasonable doubt at trial
If you are facing drug charges, you need a lawyer who is adept in this area of practice. In the past year, our lawyers have had clients acquitted after successfully challenging illegal searches by police of cars and homes. We were also successful in convincing Crown to drop charges in a case of conspiracy to traffic in 100 kg of cocaine.
Trafficking and Possession
Drug trafficking and possession charges are the most common type of drug offences. The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act categorizes illicit drugs, and there may be different consequences depending on the type of drug, the amount, and whether it was for personal use or for trafficking. For instance, possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use, if prosecuted at all, is at the low end of the spectrum. At the other end of the spectrum would be a case involving different kinds of hard drugs in significant dealer/supplier-level quantities.
In more serious drug cases, there are often lengthy and complex police investigations. Sometimes these involve undercover operations or agents (dealers/criminals who secretly work for the police). There may be constitutional challenges, either specific to the case (excluding evidence from a police search) or general in nature (asking the court to strike down a law as being unconstitutional). We have experience in these areas and can help.
Drug importation cases, by definition, have an international element. They involve the smuggling or shipment of drugs from one country to another. Given Canada’s long border with the United States, it is not surprising that many cross-border cases involve an American investigative aspect, or an agency such as the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). There are sometimes two-way exchanges (i.e., marijuana for cocaine) in addition to money. These cases may give rise to liability in two or more jurisdictions, and may involve the possibility of extradition to face charges abroad.
Importation cases dealt with in the Canadian courts are treated very seriously. Martland & Saulnier is familiar with this area of the law and can help.