Repealing and replacing the Narcotic Control Act as well as Parts III and IV of the Food and Drugs Act, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) was executed on May 14, 1997, for governing the prosecutions of drug related offences. The aim was to consolidate the major provisions that deal with illicit drugs, now known as ‘controlled substances’.
Schedules in the CDSA are used to group drugs as per their perceived danger; where Schedule I drugs include cocaine, heroin and morphine while Schedule II drugs include marijuana. Serious drug offences involve Schedule I substances in significant amount and can result in serious penalties.
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Drug offences can be simple possession of controlled substances or serious possession for purpose of trafficking, conspiracy for trafficking, and trafficking. Conviction may result in jail sentences, especially when aggravating conditions make it necessary for the judge to give reasons for not imposing such a sentence.
Moreover, with the implementation of Bill C-10 on November 6, 2012, restricted the availability of conditional sentences for individuals convicted of possession for purpose of trafficking, possession for purpose of exporting, importing, exporting, trafficking, and possession for production of Schedule I drugs.
Federal Crown Attorneys specializing in this section of the criminal law handle the prosecution of the drug offence cases. Moreover, often these proceedings involve years of surveillance and investigation by the police. Usually, charges are pressed once there is adequate evidence to ensure conviction.
In such a circumstance, it is necessary to handle the defense strategy with care and caution. An expert criminal lawyer Toronto with appropriate knowledge, specialized skills, and adequate experience needs to be appointed to prepare the defense. Most drug offence cases depend on searches, and the evidence collected from them.
Therefore, the first step is to nullify the legality of the search. Warrantless searches need to exhibit sufficient grounds for the search. Otherwise, they stand as illegal. For searches with warrants, it is necessary to show that the warrant was invalid or the search wasn’t conducted as per its mandates.
The next step is to persuade the court that the illegality of the search implies the invalidity of the evidence collected. This is a crucial point at which the defense lawyer needs to pinpoint that the evidence collected from the search cannot be considered, as the means to collect them was itself illegal.
Moreover, if the accused isn’t aware that they are in possession of the drugs, they cannot be found guilty. Another scenario is when there are audio recordings of conversations that may be interpreted as drug deals. This involves interpretations, which can be challenged. Drug offences charges can have serious consequences.
Get in touch with Ernst Ashurov to create the defense strategy for drug offences.