First things first. Don’t panic. That is what we are here for. The lawyers at Aitken Robertson are equipped to tackle drug charges across Ontario. While it is understandable that you are feeling unsure and worried about how your charges will unravel in the criminal process, it is important to keep in mind that you are facing charges and not a conviction. That distinction is critical. The role of a lawyer is to advance an accused person’s rights and to protect his or her Charter rights.
You may be uncertain of what to do next, and understandably so. The aftermath of a drug arrest is nothing less than scary. We help you navigate the complex legal process and offer you the best chance of a positive outcome. It is important to understand how Canadian law deals with drug charges and convictions. For example, Canada has enacted what is referred to as the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. This is a legislation that classifies different types of prohibited drugs and the specific penalties they carry. This can apply to drugs that do not belong to you but are found on your person.
An accused person may face a conviction of drug charges if the prosecutor assigned to the case is able to prove the drug was on the person or in a location of which he or she had control over it. This can include your home or car. The prosecutor will also have to prove that the accused person knew that the substance in question was an illegal drug. We would speak with you in detail about what the prosecutor would have to prove. Our role, among others, is to provide you with a legal opinion based on the facts and circumstances of your case with respect to how strong the prosecutor’s case is against you. We also inform you of whether or not you have any Charter breaches that you can fight in court.
Summary vs. Indictable Offence
Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest, the prosecutor will be seeking either a summary conviction or an indictable conviction, which is a far more serious offence. The latter carries with it harsher punishments such as jail time. In cases involving first-time arrests or for example, smaller quantities of drugs, it is more likely that the prosecutor seek a summary conviction. In cases with more aggravating factors such as a significant quantity of drugs, or selling drugs to minors, the prosecutor will likely seek to convict on an indictable offence.
Relevant Factors in Drug Cases
The penalties that may be imposed if there is a conviction will depend on a number of varied factors. Some of these include:
- The type of drug
- The quantity of the drug
- The purpose of the drug
- Any minors
- Any violence
- Any weapons
- Past criminal record, if any
- Personal circumstances such as mental health or old age
- Any other relevant factor depending on the facts of a particular case
Penalties for drug charges can include fines, drug ordered treatment programs and/or imprisonment. This is not an exhaustive list.
With so many variables in play, it is easy to see why retaining a lawyer may be of great assistance to navigating through the criminal justice system. A lawyer understands the most common legal defences available for drug charges. Some of these include improper police procedure, illegal search and seizure, procedural deficiencies, Charter violations, and a lack of evidence.
Why the Aitken Robertson Team?
The lawyers and staff members at Aitken Robertson work as a team to provide results for clients. Our lawyers will provide you with an honest opinion about your charges and the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence. We ensure that you fully understand the jeopardy you are facing, the legal process and all of your options. The bottom line is that we are in your corner and look out for your best interest. We rely on our wealth of knowledge and experience on the law of drugs in Ontario. You can contact any one of our many offices for a free consultation, in person or even on the phone. What do you have to lose?