If you have been charged with any crime, the best way to protect yourself is to hire a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) is the governing law on most drug related offences in Canada. Many different substances have prohibited or restricted uses (i.e.: opiates are unlawful for recreational use, but are permitted for use under direction of medical professionals). A number of drug precursors/ingredients are also restricted by the CDSA.
The CDSA divides the different types of substances into “schedules”, as a means to classify the severity of the harm that they can cause. There are various substances which are controversial in their placement in the schedule scheme, and parliament from time to time enacts changes to drug classifications. Schedules I, II, III and IV contain the vast majority of substances. There are different penalties depending on which “Schedule” a drug is placed under, when an offence is committed.
Types of Offences
The basic types of offences contained in the CDSA can be classified as possession, trafficking, importing/exporting and producing. The penalties vary substantially based on type of substance (which schedule the substance is contained in) as well as amount of the substance in question. Many CDSA offences are indictable and can carry lengthy prison terms. There are some hybrid offences which could result in summary conviction, primarily the less severe crimes fall under the heading of possession related offences.
The most common offence laid under the CDSA is possession of a controlled substance. In order for the Crown to make their case on a possession charge they must address all of the elements of the crime, including:
The crown must prove that the substance was in fact an illegal drug (possessing rock salt that you believed was crack cocaine would likely result in an acquittal).
The crown must prove that the accused had care and control of the substance.
The crown must prove that the accused had knowledge that the substance was an illegal drug.
In other words, you must intentionally be in possession of a controlled drug/substance in order to be convicted.
If you have been charged with any offence a conviction can result in serious consequences for finding employment, travelling, or applying for immigration status, in addition to a custodial sentence or other consequences. In order to best protect your rights you should contact a criminal lawyer as soon as you are charged. A criminal defence lawyer can help you at any stage of the court process. Mehdi Au LLP has trained criminal lawyers on staff who can assist you with your case. We accept Legal Aid Certificates.
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