A Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Talks Drugs and Gangs

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Drug offences remain some of the most common in the City of Calgary and throughout the Greater Calgary Area. Though these criminal drug charges include more serious offences such as drug manufacturing and drug trafficking, the majority of drug charges brought before the Calgary courts are for drug possession. People who use drugs recreationally or due to a chemical dependency/substance addiction are putting themselves at risk of a legal entanglement and a potential criminal record.

This is the case despite a growing trend of treating drug use and drug addiction as a public health concern rather than a criminal justice issue—a trend supported by medical research and sociological case studies. While Calgary is moving towards a decriminalization of some drugs such as marijuana and is offering some alternatives to traditional trials and sentences, drug use and other drug offences are still very much under the purview of the Calgary Police.

At the same time, current headlines from many Calgary media outlets suggest that a widespread gang problem exists in our city, and that this issue is directly ties to the trade and trafficking of illegal drugs. As our city dealt with widespread gang violence quite recently, these headlines understandably touch a nerve with many Calgary residents, renewing old fears and causing new worries.

Though the long term crime trend in Calgary is down, and despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of recent violence in our city has targeted only alleged gang members and not the calgary public at large, there is a tendency to associate drug use with gangs and thus with violence.

The fact is that most drug offenders in Calgary are non-violent criminals, and in fact are neither violent nor criminals save for the criminalized nature of their drug use. Most alleged gang members have not been involved in violent crimes, either; though the fact that many gangs deal in drugs is rather indisputable, the Calgary Police themselves have acknowledged that the "gangs" operating in Calgary today are nothing like  the gangs of the previous decade.

Today's gangs are small, loose, and temporary organizations who are generally—and inadvisably—out to make a quick buck via an illicit activity such as drug trafficking. Simply coming together for the purpose of committing a crime can be enough to qualify as a "gang" under the law, and this designation can lead to additional charges and penalties.

This all contributes to a cycle where drugs and drug users are increasingly seen as dangerous, pushing them to the edges of society, which is where alleged gang members and youths at risk for gang involvement are being by public fears and harsher penalties that can seem unfair and unequal.

Stop the Cycle: Contact a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Today

Getting the legal help you need and are entitled to is the first step in putting any drug or gang-related charges behind you and re-taking control of your life. If you or a family member is facing criminal charges in the Calgary courts, please contact criminal defence lawyer Susan Karpa today for a free no obligation consultation.

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