Drug Offences, Calgary Cars, and DUI Charges

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Alleged drug offences remain among the most common reasons for criminal charges brought before the Calgary courts, even while attitudes towards drug use (especially marijuana) are undergoing a major shift. Around half of the drug-related charges laid against Calgary citizens every year are for simple possession, and impaired driving charges also make up a sizable proportion of alleged drug-related offences.

Some of these charges are brought against Calgary citizens who truly had no idea they might have been breaking the law. Some likely weren't even aware they were in possession of a controlled substance.

How is this possible? It comes down to the complicated question of what legally constitutes "possession."

Cars are Complicated Under Calgary Law

When you own and/or control a vehicle in Calgary, you can be considered "in possession" of any items or substances found in that vehicle, in some cases. This has actually been an ongoing issue in the Supreme Court of Canada, and and applying this "case law" to any specific Calgary drug charge would require a full understanding of the individual facts in the case. In general, though, if you are driving a car that has drugs in it—not matter whose they are or how they got there—you can be charged with drug possession.

This can be true if you borrowed a friends car, get pulled over for a minor traffic violation, and are found "in possession" of a controlled substance, or if you lend your car to a friend and they leave a controlled substance behind. Having any illicit substance in a vehicle you are operating, and potentially in a car you own but are not operating, puts you at risk.

Drug-Related DUIs are a Big Deal in Calgary

Impaired driving charges also often come as a surprise to many in Calgary who assume that DUIs are only handed out to drivers who have been drinking. In fact, ingesting any intoxicating substance not only makes it unsafe for you to drive, but it is also against the law and can result in an impaired driving charge. This is especially important to remember as marijuana is well on its way to decriminalization and even full legalization—just because you might be legally allowed to use it doesn't mean you can drive while under the influence.

Even more surprising to some drivers is the fact that you can be charged with impaired driving for driving while intoxicated even by a legally-prescribed medication. Many painkillers and other pharmaceuticals have potential psychoactive effects, and when these impair your driving abilities you should stay off Calgary roads for your safety, the safety of everyone else, and for your legal protection.

In short, it's easier to find yourself facing a drug-related charge in Calgary than you might think, so be aware of the law and be careful.

A Calgary Defence Lawyer Can Help You Move Past Drug-Related Mistakes

Whatever the circumstances of your drug-related charges are, you're entitled to consult with an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer to help put the charges behind you quickly and completely. For a free, confidential discussion with Calgary defence lawyer Susan Karpa, please contact her office today.

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