Alberta Legal | Criminal Defence Lawyers

Alberta Legal |
Criminal Defence Lawyers

Call Us Icon Criminal Lawyers Phone Number Email Us Icon Criminal Lawyers Email


Experienced Criminal Lawyers

News & Articles


How to Beat Drug Trafficking and Possession for the Purposes of Trafficking Charges in Canada

An experienced criminal lawyer Calgary will examine the police investigation (disclosure) carefully in order to assess the strength of prosecutor’s case. How do you beat a drug charge?


The first part of the assessment in any possession for the purpose or trafficking case is about knowledge and control. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in possession of the controlled substance or drug. It is important to remember that in some circumstances, the prosecution may ask the trier of fact to conclude that although you may not have had actual knowledge instead knowledge should have been imputed onto you because you should have known. This is a legal concept known as willful blindness. For example, your friend (known to have used and sold drugs) asks you to take his backpack and protect it for the next week. For this favour, he is going to give you $500.00. Later you are stopped by the police. The bag is searched. They find cocaine.  In this case, if the prosecution can prove you knew your friend was a drug dealer you should have asked him what was in the bag. Here you had a reason to suspect something was up (related to drugs) but you chose not to make inquires. In this example, the prosecution will likely prove guilt through willful blindness. Here it is imputed knowledge, and control is made out because of the circumstances. Control includes the ability to move or manipulate items. In this example, the bag was in your car when you were stopped.

In possession cases, the prosecution must prove knowledge and control. Your skilled and competent defence lawyer will start by building a defence designed to undermine the prosecution’s case around knowledge and control.

Search Warrants

Another way to undermine the prosecution’s case is to fight the legalities of the search and seizure.

If the search and seizure occurred pursuant to a warrant, then a careful analysis must be conducted of the Information to Obtain. This is an affidavit a police officer writes and presents to a judicial officer in order for a search warrant to be granted. This document must contain:

  • Evidence that shows a reasonable probability that the offences are actually occurring
  • Legal description of the offence
  • Description of the places intended to be searched
  • Description of the evidence expected to be obtained based on reasonable grounds to believe a location will produce said evidence
  • Legal description of things to be searched and seized
  • If the search warrant is rejected, the reasons why and what has changed since the renewal

Search Incident to Arrest

If the search occurs without a warrant, then the search must be authorized by law either through search incident to a lawful arrest or detention. The rules are different for arrest and detention. In either case, a smart defence lawyer will examine the details and statements and build a defence to attack why this type of search was not lawful and why the evidence ought to be excluded.

Can criminal charges be dropped?

The short answer is yes, criminal charges and drug trafficking cases can be dropped. The issue is how likely is it that your charges will be dropped. In some cases, through skillful negotiation, diligent and relentless work it is possible. In other cases, the goal may be to reduce the sentence or jail period the prosecutor is seeking. It is critical to retain a smart and skilled lawyer who knows how best to convince the prosecutor or judge to get the outcome you are seeking.

What Are The Possible Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Canada

Heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamines attract the harshest penalties of lengthy prison sentences.

If you are found guilty of an offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, your life can change drastically. In addition to the prison sentence and/or possible fines, a criminal conviction comes with social stigma as well as potential restrictions on employment and overseas travel.

What Happens After You Get Charged Drug Offences?

After you’ve been arrested and charged with trafficking or possession for trafficking in Canada, the police will either allow you to leave the station or hold you in custody for a bail hearing. If you’re allowed to leave, officers will give you a document notifying you of when and where you need to appear in court and for fingerprinting. These are typically separate dates.  The document will also set out any conditions relating to your release.

If the police keep you in custody, they have 24 hours to present you before a justice of the peace for a bail hearing. The justice of the peace will decide whether you should be held in custody until trial or released on bail. If you are released, the justice of the peace may impose certain conditions on you and require that a surety signs on your behalf. You will also be told when and where you need to appear in court. Given the serious nature of drug trafficking, you will likely be held for a bail hearing.

Anyone charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for drug offences or other crimes is entitled to full disclosure of the prosecutor’s evidence. However, disclosure must be requested. To ensure that you do everything correctly throughout the entire process, you should retain a smart and strategic criminal defence lawyer. The next major step in the court case process may be a a preliminary hearing. If this is part of the mode of election, it will occur prior to your trial.

Drug Charges and the Legal Complexities

Drug trafficking and possession charges are usually complex. These cases can take a long time to get through the criminal courts. Additionally there are important rules of evidence, technical elements of the charges and notice requirements that must be met. Experienced legal representation is critical. With a strategic lawyer, depending on your charge, you may be able to avoid a criminal record or potentially prison if that is the goal.

For less serious charges, there are a variety of creative ways to reach reasonable goals. For example, drug treatment court may be an option. In other cases negotiating a serious case to a less serious case may be the goal. Finally, signing a document stating these drugs are not yours and you have no intention of declaring them as yours in the future may allow the charges to be completely withdrawn. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will be strategic and diligent when negotiating with the prosecutor which will increase the chance at arriving at the best outcome possible.