Trafficking Offenses in Edmonton – Get a Criminal Defence Lawyer.
Drug trafficking can be one of the more serious criminal offenses, depending on the circumstances. Long periods of incarceration are to be expected in large-scale drug trafficking operations.
Trafficking offenses include actual trafficking but also possession for the purpose of trafficking. Both offenses are prescribed under s.5 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It is an offense to traffic in drugs. It is also an offense to traffic in any substance which is represented or “held out” to be a drug. Conspiracy to traffic is another trafficking type crime.
In most cases, the guilty person is sentenced to less than six months in prison if it is the first offense, depending on the whole circumstances of the case. There are exceptions however, especially depending on the type and quantity of drug involved. With harder drugs you can expect a harder sentence. With each subsequent offense, an accused can generally expect that the length of the prison term and any fine that might be imposed are likely to increase.
The Drugs Involved
Different drugs generally receive different treatment by the courts. Trafficking in Schedule I drugs such as heroin or cocaine is generally considered the most serious. However factors other than the type of drugs can out weigh the importance of this single factor.
Number of Offenses
In most situations, the more convictions the accused has then the more severe will be the punishment. Courts are often placed in difficult situations with “revolving door” type people who are obviously chronic drug addicts doing minor crimes to feed their habits, including small time trafficking, where there would be no real purpose served by locking them up for long periods of time other than to remove them from free society.
Quantity of Drugs
The quantity of the controlled substances a person was trafficking will also impact the length of the sentence imposed. Generally, the larger the quantity the harder the sentence. The most severe sentences are handed down to people trafficking the largest quantities of drugs as the principle of general deterrence becomes very much a factor in determining an appropriate sentence. Large quantities are consistent with there being a large commercial operation in place and these are the types of situations that attract the harshest sentences.
Generally speaking, more severe prison sentences and fines are given to people trafficking larger quantities of drugs.
There are some threshold quantities for certain charges and punishments contained in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Talk to a lawyer about these.
Importing and Exporting
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act deals with importing and exporting. The law is pretty clear in that unless someone is authorized under the regulations, no person shall import or export from Canada any substance listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV or V.
The penalties for importing and exporting vary according to the Schedule of drug. If Schedule I or II drugs are involved, a person can receive up to life in prison. For Schedule III and IV drugs if the Crown proceeds by indictment then the accused can receive up to 10 years in prison and if the Crown proceeds summarily then up to 18 months in prison.
If Schedule IV or V drugs are involved, if the Crown proceeds by indictment then the accused can receive up to 3 years in prison and if the Crown proceeds summarily then up to 1 year in prison.
Conspiracy To Traffic
Anyone guilty of conspiracy to traffic in drugs can receive the whatever sentence one could have received for actually trafficking in the drugs. Conspiracy is defined in the Criminal Code, and can include “an agreement by two or more persons to commit a criminal offense”. There is a lot of case law around the whole area of “conspiracy”. Consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer is essential.
Courts in Alberta have a tendency to show at least some empathy, if not leniency, to offenders who are trafficking to feed their habit – at least as opposed to those who are involved in large scale, commercial operations with a serious profit motive. If you have been charged with trafficking narcotics and you are also addicted to drugs, a lawyer can help you.
Gangs and Organized Crime
The sentences for trafficking narcotics become more sever if the accused person is found to be part of a gang, organized crime or a criminal organization.
Drug Treatment Courts
In recent years Drug Treatment Courts have come to North America. In Edmonton, the Edmonton Drug Treatment and Community Restoration Court, or “EDTCRC” is intended to reduce drug-related crime through innovative approaches to dealing with offenders.
The Edmonton Drug Treatment Court has this to say about the Court and where it fits into the system:
“The Edmonton Drug Treatment Court (“EDTC”) Program is a program of the Provincial Court of Alberta, yet is connected to special programs of the Federal government (the Federal DTC Funding Program and the Canada Drug Strategy). While the Program is subject to Federal DTC funding program rules for purposes of obtaining Federal grants, it is still an independent program of the Provincial Court and the Government of Alberta, as an operational element of the institution of the Provincial Court. The Edmonton DTC Program is also contained within the criminal justice system, and operates pursuant to the requirements of the Criminal Code, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, other Constitutional and statutory foundations, and the common law. Thus, the DTC program operates within the same legal framework that governs all criminal court proceedings in Alberta Courts. The Edmonton DTC Program does not purport to change the law, but rather operate squarely within it.”
The Drug Treatment Court seeks rehabilitation for the drug addicted offender who has been charged with Offenses of simple possession, possession for the purpose of trafficking and trafficking or other charges, where the offense is related to drug addiction.
The aim of the courts is to help the accused obtain treatment and rehabilitation, rather than merely punishing them. The Drug Treatment Court system in Edmonton and elsewhere are enjoying some real successes in dealing with various drug offenses, including trafficking offenses.
All trafficking charges are serious crimes. A conviction for drug trafficking can effect you and your family for years to come. There are a great many countries, the USA included, which make it difficult or impossible to travel there if you have a conviction for trafficking in narcotics. Sometimes just being charges with a trafficking offense can come back to haunt you. Protect your legal rights – call Geoff Green today. Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty.
Geoff Green – Criminal Defence Lawyer For Alberta
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