Being charged with any kind of drug offence has serious implications for the accused not only in Alberta but worldwide. From a minor fine to life in prison and a permanently tainted criminal record, a conviction in this regard can completely ruin your academic aspirations, travel goals, immigration status, professional prospects, family relations, and social life. Not only will you be deprived of visiting places like the United States, but you will also face a permanent ban on working in numerous organizations.
Evidently, you can not afford even the slightest mishandling in this case. Thus, we recommend that you entrust your case to a well-reputed drug offence lawyer that has extensive experience in handling similar cases and can assure you success.
Likewise, we also believe it is in your best interest to have a basic understanding of drug offences and their severe implications in Alberta. The latter will allow you to strategize your course of action accordingly and plan the best defence with your criminal defence lawyer.
So for the purpose of this blog post, we shall provide an insightful overview of each type of drug offence, the relevant laws, and their legal consequences.
A General Overview
In Alberta, two relevant acts deal with drug offences and the applicable definitions:
Similarly, the CDSA also clearly divides a wide range of substances into six different schedules. From these Acts, we can deduce three main categories of drug offences:
- Possession and obtaining substances
- Drug trafficking
- Importation and exportation of substances
Besides the type of offence, the severity of the charge and punishment for an offence also depends upon the schedule in which the drug in question falls. Evidently, charges involving drugs are quite complicated and subject to various conditions, exemptions, and factors. For this reason, defence against drug offences is a serious matter mandating profound knowledge and experience.
Now, let us discuss each offence and its implications in detail:
Possession And Obtaining Substances
In simpler words, possession is when an individual knowingly has physical custody of a controlled substance, keeps it in the custody of another person, or leaves it at a certain place, regardless of whether the accused occupies the place. Here, physical custody is not necessarily a condition for possession. Instead, the intent and consent of each party define who is in possession of a substance.
For instance, if person X gives consent to giving person Y possession of a controlled substance and person Y accepts it, both person X and person Y will be considered in possession of the substance.
Punishment For The Possession Of Substances
Whether the Crown proceeds by indictment or summary conviction will depend upon the following factors:
- Type of drug
- Previous similar charges
If the Crown proceeds by induction, the punishments will be as follows:
- For the possession of substances found in Schedule I to Schedule III, an individual will receive a minimum jail sentence of three years and a maximum of seven years.
In the case of a summary conviction, the punishment will be:
- Depending upon the schedule under which the drug appears, a person may receive a fine between $1000 to $2000, imprisonment for a period between six months to one year, or both.
If you are facing charges for obtaining a controlled substance, get in touch with one of our criminal defence lawyers for a detailed analysis of the situation.
As the name suggests, this offence occurs when an individual is involved in the administration, selling, giving, transfer, and transportation of controlled substances. Please note that an exchange of money is not a condition to be charged with this offence.
Punishment For Drug Trafficking
Since drug trafficking is considered a more serious offence than possession, there is no summary conviction for it. The indictable convictions again depend upon the relevant schedules. Generally, there are no fines for this offence and the jail sentence may range from one year to life in prison.
Importation And Exportation of Controlled Substances
This offence charge is perhaps the most complex to deal with. Thus, its detailed analysis in a blog post is close to impossible given the great deal of information involved. Generally speaking, this offence deals with the international selling, buying, and transfer of controlled substances.
The punishment for this offence depends upon a lot of factors including the weight of the substance involved.
About Slaferek Law
Throughout our years of experience as criminal defence lawyers, we have rescued a number of our clients from the most complicated legal issues. In any DUI, drug, assault, theft, or fraud cases, we employ our full resources, experience, and professional skills to ensure that you attain the desired results. Learn more about Slaferek Law and our practice areas.
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