Being charged with a criminal offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act can be a life-altering experience. If the Crown prosecutor is successful in persuading a judge and/or jury that you are guilty, you could face jail time, fines, and restrictions in the future when looking for work and/or pursuing a professional vocation.
We defend clients who are being investigated or charged with drug trafficking in the Greater Toronto Area and across Ontario, including the trafficking of:
- And more
When dealing with these cases, our strategy is to vigorously defend the client by crafting a skilled and strategic defence. We will look at every detail of your arrest, including whether or not the police obtained a valid search warrant and whether or not they carried it out properly – for instance, did the police pull you over while driving and then search you without valid grounds? We will fight to prevent illegally obtained evidence from being used against you in court.
Drug Trafficking Cases
Depending on the type and quantity of drugs involved, different sentences may be imposed under Canadian law. Controlled substances are divided into “schedules” by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”). Drugs are classified according to their chemical structure. The following are some of the most common narcotics:
Schedule 1: cocaine, fentanyl, morphine, amphetamines, MDMA, heroin, oxycodone, codeine, GHB, opium;
Schedule 2: cannabis, its seeds, and resin;
Schedule 3: psilocybin mushrooms and LSD;
Schedule 4: benzodiazepines (e.g., clonazepam, diazepam), barbiturates;
Schedule 5: precursors used in the production of regulated substances.
Both trafficking and possession with the purpose of trafficking in drugs carry harsh punishments. The maximum penalty for Schedule 1 or 2 substances is life imprisonment. Penalties for lower-level drug trafficking offences can range from 9 to 12 months in prison.
Drug trafficking is defined by the courts as the act of providing or delivering a controlled substance to another person. Although profit is not a requirement for the crime, if the prosecution can show that the crime was motivated by monetary gain, the prosecution will almost definitely seek harsher punishments. The more evidence there is that the accused benefited from a well-organized distribution system, the harsher the penalty the Crown will seek if the accused is found guilty.
Drug Trafficking Defences
If your case proceeds to trial in Toronto, we may be able to use the following defences against drug trafficking, conspiracy to traffic, and possession for the purpose of trafficking:
Possession cannot be proven: We may be able to demonstrate that you lacked the essential knowledge and control over the drug that the prosecution must prove to secure a conviction.
Entrapment: Entrapment is an abuse of process that is notoriously difficult to prove in court. Entrapment can usually be established in one of two ways. The first is when authorities provide an opportunity to the accused to commit a crime without acting on a reasonable suspicion that they were previously involved in criminal behaviour or without engaging in a bona fide inquiry. The second is when the authorities go above and beyond by inducing the accused to do the crime rather than simply offering an opportunity.
Purpose of Trafficking cannot be proven: The Crown will generally call a police expert witness to testify in court to prove possession for the purpose of trafficking. They will typically testify that the facts surrounding the drug seizure suggest the narcotics were intended for sale or distribution. Typical evidence that is seized by police and brought forward in court includes small/individualized packaging of drugs, weighing scales, “score sheets”, large quantities of cash, and burner phones. However, our experience defending drug cases allows us to create arguments aimed at refuting expert Crown witness allegations that the circumstances of the drug seizure indicate trafficking rather than mere possession.
Breaches of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Charter applications can be used to secure the exclusion of evidence by demonstrating how police violated your Charter rights during a criminal investigation. If applicable in your defence, you could plead that a search warrant was granted incorrectly, that your car was searched without legal authority, that you were denied the right to consult with counsel, and/or that you were subjected to additional violations. A Charter Application can be brought to seek the exclusion of evidence for one or more violations of your Constitutional rights.
If you have been charged with drug trafficking charges in Toronto, or elsewhere in the province, do not hesitate to contact Karapancev Law. Our experience and expertise in this area of law will help us review your case, determine a defence, and secure an optimal outcome for you.