Drug charges are those offences which arise from an interaction with an illicit drug or substance. This guide acts as general information for drug charges. For specific offence information, see the links listed below.
Drug offences are listed under federal legislation called the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”), not under the Canadian Criminal Code. Because drugs are under federal jurisdiction, matters must be negotiated with Federal Crown Prosecutors, rather than Provincial Crown Prosecutors. This adds an extra layer of complexity to a complicated area of offences.
Schedule IV: Barbiturates including clonazepam, diazepam, amytal, nembutal, seconal, and anabolic steroids;
Schedule V: Propylhexedrine and any derived salt;
Schedule VI: Substances needed to create other drugs, such as ephedrine, lysergic acid, norephedrine, pseudoephedrine, potassium permanganate, red phosphorous, white phosphorous, acetone, ethyl ether, sulphuric acid, and toluene.
Investigation of Drug Offence Charges in Edmonton
Because of the broad nature of drug offences, the nature of the investigations is also varied. An investigation may begin with a routine police traffic stop, an intensive surveillance operation, or pursued after a report or complaint from a witness or anonymous informant (i.e. Crime Stoppers).
The Edmonton Police Service takes drug offences very seriously. They have a large team of law enforcement officers to help investigate drug activity in the city. If you are stopped by police, you will be routinely checked for the presence of drugs and/or drug paraphernalia. Police will then make sure to follow up on every possible trafficking or production lead.
If the police suspect that you are involved in a more serious drug offence, it may lead to a planned evidence gathering operation through surveillance and undercover officers. These types of operations often take many months and involve a significant amount of resources in order to gather enough evidence to convict you. Many operations culminate in the execution of a search warrant, where a team of police will raid your home and/or vehicle to seize evidence related to the drug offence.
Penalties for Drug Offences in Edmonton
Because of the broad range of offences classified as “drug offences,” punishments for a conviction are diverse.
In serious cases, drug offence charges will always result in a jail sentence as the CDSA stipulates mandatory minimum sentences. However, in less serious cases, such as simple possession, a conviction will usually not result in a jail sentence, provided there are no aggravating circumstances and you have a relatively clean criminal record.
In addition to the immediate penalties resulting from a conviction for drug offences, it can negatively impact your future as well. You may experience problems securing employment in the field of your choice, especially in roles that require handling money or working with vulnerable groups. The lifelong criminal record that results from a conviction can also hinder immigration and travel, particularly to the United States where drug offences are taken very seriously.
Rest assured, our lawyers will work hard to defend you so that you are not saddled with the consequences that stem from a criminal conviction for a drug offence. In fact, we can often canvass a range of sentencing options with the Prosecutors that will either leave you with no criminal record or impose minimal restrictions on your liberty after sentencing. To learn more about potential non-criminal resolutions, please visit our Resolutions page, or read our FAQ on resolutions and other sentencing options.
Defending Drug Offences in Edmonton
What are the best defences to drug offence charges in Edmonton?
With drug offence charges, we will work with Federal Crown Prosecutors to seek a resolution that does not involve a criminal conviction wherever possible.
Because of the list of offences that fall under the umbrella of “drug offences,” and the varied circumstances involved in such charges, there are many different possible defences. It is important for your criminal defence lawyer to review the facts of your case and prepare your defence accordingly.
Our experienced defence lawyers will use the most effective defence against the charges according to the precise circumstances of your case. Even if the charges proceed and you are found guilty, a good defence can greatly reduce the severity of the consequences for you.
How can I help defend drug offence charges in Edmonton?
If you have been charged with a drug offence in Edmonton, the following can help your lawyer build a strong defence:
Provide your lawyer with a statement about what happened;
Collect and maintain all documents and records about the event;
Gather a list of witnesses that may support your version of events; and
Log any relevant texts, emails, phone calls or photographic evidence.
What information is relevant will depend on the facts in your case. As soon as you are released on bail, you should start to gather any information that may be of use to your lawyer. If you are uncertain what information may be relevant, you should contact one of our lawyers immediately to create a plan of action for gathering information.
If you are truly proactive about the matter, consider doing the following:
Secure proof of employment,
Secure reference letters,
Enroll in counselling (anger management/substance abuse/parenting),
Secure a record of prescriptions and/or licenses, and
Secure a record of any mental health conditions you suffer from.
These steps can be very helpful for building an effective defence (or convincing the Prosecutor to drop the charges altogether).
What can a lawyer do to help me defend against drug offence charges in Edmonton?
As we start preparing your defence by examining police actions and the evidence against you, there are certain defence strategies that can be used to aid your cause, including:
Assembling documents, photographs, texts, etc. that contradict the allegation and support your defence;
Gathering evidence from witnesses that support your version of events;
Identifying mistakes in the actions of the police, such as Charter breaches;
Uncovering administrative/systemic errors, such as “Jordan delay,” non-disclosure, lost or destroyed evidence, etc.; and
Finding weaknesses or “holes” in the Crown’s case that may make it difficult or impossible for them to establish the elements of the offence.
An experienced and capable drug offence lawyer will be able to review your case to determine if there are any defences that can lead to your acquittal.
Drug cases are highly technical and fact-specific. Additionally, because of the lengthy police surveillance involved, drug cases are often very complex.
We have tried our best to provide a general outline of what you can expect if you find yourself in this situation, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Please be sure to read further about the specific drug offence charge you are facing, including:
To learn more about how we can help, please contact our team of Drug Offence Lawyers. We will conduct a thorough review of your situation and tailor a precise strategy that targets your successful defence.
Danielle was incredibly professional and effective in the defense of my case. But more than that, she really listened and tried to help me personally. She was kind, honest and open when it came to my specific situation. I appreciate her sense of humanity. It wasn’t just a paycheck. She made me feel like I’m worth it and my life is worth it. Thank you for caring and for putting in the effort Danielle!! I couldn’t have done this on my own.
I found myself charged with crimes I couldn’t understand. Danielle heard of my predicament and offered to take the case with a payment arrangement that I could manage. Her friendly professionalism helped ease my nerves and her confidence that she could help put this matter behind me was unshakeable. The end result was I still have a clean record and faith that there is help available for those who need it.
Danielle Boisvert was my lawyer and I appreciate her professionalism and speedy responses. Danielle made me feel very comfortable throughout the whole process and gave me the confidence that things would be taken care of. In no time at all Danielle told me the good news that she had successfully withdrawn my charges. Please contact Danielle Boisvert if you are facing criminal charges, you will not be disappointed!
Anny Wang was my defence attorney. I had never been in trouble with the law before but I found myself facing criminal charges. I had no idea what to do or what was going on. She took the time to explain everything to me and made time to answer my many questions. I took her advice at every turn and made me feel a lot better about going to trial. I felt prepared and knew what to expect. She got all the charges dropped just like she had predicted. She did an amazing job in court and out. I highly recommend Anny Wang to anyone facing criminal charges and needing legal counsel. Thanks again Anny Wang for everything you did!
Amazing service, professional and couldn’t ask for better results. Anny Wang was very clear about the process and thoroughly explained it. Was able to have my charges withdrawn, again amazing. Highly recommend Anny to anyone facing a criminal charge as she’s great to have in your corner when entering the court system for your first time. Thank you again Anny Wang!