Defence Against Drug-Related Offences and Accusations in the Calgary Area

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Arrests in the Calgary area for alleged drug offences have been in a continuing decline, according to the most recent statistics available from the Calgary Police Service, but they still make up nearly three percent of the arrests made in the City of Calgary. This includes arrests for simple drug possession as well as for trafficking and other more serious offences.

Drug offences are not always viewed the same as other criminal offences by Calgary area courts and Canadian law, and the outcome of a particular drug-related charge depends on several factors. Here are three of the most important features of a drug-related charge when it comes to mounting an effective defence.

1. The Nature of the Drug-Related Charge
Being charged with possession of a drug or controlled substance is very different from being charged with selling or trafficking drugs. The same rules apply after an arrest—law enforcement must treat you fairly, and you have the right to speak to a criminal defence lawyer if you wish, no matter what offence you are arrested for—but you might be facing a substantially harsher sentence for trafficking than for possession.

The type and amount of substance in your possession can also impact the severity of the charges and possible sentences you might be facing. More information on this can be found here and here.

2. Prior Arrests or Convictions for Drug-Related Offences
First offences, especially for possession charges, often carry lower sentences than repeated drug offences. The strategy a criminal defence lawyer might recommend for a first drug offence will often be different from the strategy recommended for repeated drug offences, as well. If a substance abuse problem is a factor in the offence, this can be raised by the defence as a factor before and during a trial as well as during sentencing, should a drug offence ultimately result in a sentencing hearing.

Some drug offenders facing substance abuse problems might qualify for the Calgary Drug Treatment Court as an alternative to a traditional sentence.

3. Advice from a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer
If you don't feel up to the full demands of mounting a defence against a drug-related charge, or if you feel you would benefit from professional, informed advice, it is your right to consult with a criminal defence lawyer and to have a lawyer represent your interests in Calgary area courts. While working with a lawyer is by no means a guarantee of a better outcome, it can be beneficial to many accused persons simply for peace of mind and to ensure all avenues for a defence are explored.

If you or a family member has been arrested or charged with a drug offence and you would like a free initial consultation with an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer, please contact Susan Karpa.

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