First Time Offender – Drug Trafficking

two hands handcuffed while holding cannabis

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If you’re a first time offender for drug trafficking, you probably have a lot of questions.

The criminal defence lawyers at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group are here to answer your questions and get you the help you need to defend your case.

What is considered drug trafficking?

Drug trafficking is a serious offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. According to the Act, trafficking in respect of an illegal drug, means:

“(a) to sell, administer, give, transfer, transport, send or deliver the substance,

(b) to sell an authorization to obtain the substance, or

(c) to offer to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b)

otherwise than under the authority of the regulations.”

Basically, unless you have permission from the appropriate government authority, you cannot sell any of the controlled substances under the CDSA. 

Realistically, only pharmacies, doctors, drug companies, etc. have this permission (but even they can get into trouble if they don’t follow the law).

But the CDSA doesn’t just make selling illicit substances illegal. You can be charged for drug trafficking even if you never sold drugs to anyone.

If you gave a friend some pills, even as a gift, you can be charged with trafficking. 

The same goes for if you were holding onto your friend’s stash for a bit with the intent of returning it, even without using or selling any of it.

Trafficking includes any transfer (or intent to transfer) drugs from one person to another.

In fact, just offering to sell an illegal substance is enough to be convicted under drug trafficking charges. It is not necessary for the court to prove that you had drugs on you at the time of the offer. 

first time drug trafficking offender arrested by police

Possession vs. Trafficking

In the US, any individual who holds over 500 grams of cocaine, for example, can be sent to jail for “intent to sell.”

It’s a little different here in Canada. If you were caught with the same amount of cocaine, you could only be charged with possession of a controlled substance. In order for you to get trafficking charges, it would need to be proven that you intended to sell that cocaine.

You could theoretically argue that you were just pretending to be Scarface and that all the cocaine was for you, and if the court cannot prove otherwise, you would only be hit with charges of possession.

Possession for the purpose of trafficking is a separate offence from simple possession.

The only issue in this example is that a court will likely look to prove that you were in possession of drugs for the purposes of trafficking, since it is such a large amount. 

The odds are certainly stacked against you in a situation like this.

To prove intent without the help of a criminal defence attorney is incredibly difficult. If you have been charged with a crime such as trafficking, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.

Penalties for Drug Trafficking

The maximum penalty for drug trafficking is life in prison. 

Most often, however, the penalty given by the court includes less jail time and probation, especially on your first drug trafficking offence. 

In deciding the severity of your penalty, a judge will consider many factors, including the type of substance you sold, how much of the substance was found in your possession, and whether you have a prior criminal record.

Avoid Criminal Charges for Drug Trafficking

At Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group, we understand that people often make the wrong choices for good reasons. Life is not always as simple as the law makes it out to be. That’s why we founded our firm on Real Life Legal Solutions.

When it comes to charges for drug trafficking, this means doing everything in our power to prevent you from a permanent criminal record. It also means helping you with probation or other penalties if they arise.

We have extensive knowledge of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms so we can best defend your rights from unlawful search and seizure. We have also successfully dealt with a variety of cases involving all manner of substances, ranging from just a gram to multi-kilo level amounts of drugs like cocaine, heroin, opiates, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and more.

To get the best representation in BC, contact our offices by calling the number above or by filling out our contact form. 

Whether you choose us or not, we wish you the best of luck, inside and outside the courthouse.

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