Drug Offences and Civil Forfeiture
Pender Litigation handle a number of drug charges ranging from the relatively minor (possession of marijuana) to the major (trafficking large quantities of hard drugs). In any case, a conviction will have a significant impact on your life, including a lengthy jail sentence and restrictions on your ability to travel for a long period of time. You’ll need a highly skilled drug lawyer who has extensive experience with drug charges and is intensely familiar with all of the available defences.
We will examine all of the evidence against you and determine what evidence may be excluded on Charter grounds. We will also examine the circumstances of your arrest to see if there has been any entrapment. .
Our Vancouver drug crime lawyers handle a variety of cases, including:
- Drug possession:This involves having drugs for personal use. Depending on the amount and type of drug involved, there may be alternatives to a criminal conviction even if you admit to being in possession.
- Drug production: These cases bring up issues of confiscation of property such as your house.
- Drug trafficking: If you are accused of selling, distributing, giving or administering drugs, you may be subject to severe penalties including incarceration.
- Conspiracy to Traffic: These cases often turn on complex evidence including surveillance and statements from yourself and others involved in the case.
Drug trafficking charges can result not just from selling drugs, but from giving, sending or administering them.
Generally speaking, the consequences for trafficking — as with most drug offences— are severe. You are almost certainly looking at incarceration if convicted, especially if there are multiple offences. Conditional sentencing is possible, but is generally restricted. Your ability to get future employment and travel outside of the country may be severely restricted as well.
Learning More About Your Charge
Many of our clients are unaware of some important information regarding their charges:
- Trafficking charges involving drug distribution, drug transport and drug selling are not restricted to illegal drugs. They can also include drugs that are legal, but restricted to the public, such as prescription medications.
- It’s not necessary to actually have drugs involved in the transaction at all: the mere offer to traffic can be a crime. You may also be charged with conspiracy to traffic.
- It’s also not necessary to traffic an illegal substance if you are charged with selling something that has been represented as the real thing (for example, baking soda presented as cocaine).
- Defences often involve Charter grounds such as challenging the evidence against you on the grounds that a search or seizure was not done correctly or that you were denied the opportunity to speak to a lawyer when the police spoke to you.
- Of course it may also be the case that you were not involved at all. We can help to advance that defence at trial.
If you have been charged with drug possession or caught dealing drugs from a vehicle or a residence as part of a dial-a-dope operation, we can help. Each drug lawyer at Pender Litigation knows the ins and outs of the law of search and seizure, including vehicles and electronic devices such as cell phones, smart phones and computers.
Our lawyers will examine all of the evidence and let you know how your case looks. We will counsel you as to the wisest course of action and defend you if you want to go to trial. If you choose to plead guilty, or are found guilty after a trial, we will also do our best to ensure that sentencing is minimal and structured to protect your future and your family as much as possible.
Conspiracy to Traffic
A charge of conspiracy to traffic drugs can be one of the more confusing and complicated drug-related charges. All drug crimes require competent, skilled representation. However, because of challenging issues of evidence and the complexity of conspiracy charges, an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer is particularly vital for conspiracy cases.
The consequences of being found guilty of, for example, possession with the intent to sell, can be just as severe as actually selling, depending on the circumstances. Prison time, fines, loss of employment and loss of the ability to travel can be the consequences if your lawyer does not have the experience to fully understand the charges and special issues of evidence in these cases.
The lawyers at Pender Litigation have the experience you need.
Understanding The Case Against You
Often in these cases your defence will come down to excluding or arguing the evidence from:
- Searches and seizures: Any searches and seizures of drugs, money and other evidence connecting you to the crime must be done with strict attention to your Charter rights.
- Wiretaps and other surveillance: Surveillance must also be requested and authorized according to strict rules. These rules are complex and it requires skill and experience to fully understand what evidence may be allowed and what may be excluded.
- Your statements: Any statements you made to the police or other witnesses will be closely examined to see if you were aware of your right to counsel, and if not, whether this can be used to exclude the statements.
- Other source: Phone messages, texts, emails and other nonphysical evidence must also be subject to strict scrutiny.
Any evidence that is not excluded may be open to many different interpretations. We can help to put the best case forward at trial.
Many of our clients want to know how they can be found guilty of anything, when no actual sale took place, or when the crime involved a great many people and they were not aware of what was going on around them. We can examine the evidence against you, answer your questions and help you decide the wisest course of action.
The reach of the Civil Forfeiture Act continues to expand and the lawyers at Pender Litigation are experienced in navigating this challenging area of the law. The Director of Civil Forfeiture can seek forfeiture of property even if no one has been charged or convicted of any crime.
For property to be forfeited the Director must prove that it was either used in an offence or is the proceeds of crime. Even if one or both of these things can be proven a defendant in civil forfeiture proceedings can avoid forfeiture if they can show that they are an uninvolved interest holder. Finally, even if the property has been used or represents the proceeds of crime, the court must undertake a form of proportionality analysis to determine if forfeiture of some or all of the property would be in the interests of justice.
We have handled cases ranging from the Director of Civil Forfeiture attempting to seize multiple residences to small amounts of cash and anything in between. The civil litigation context can be challenging to navigate. There are obligations to produce documents and submit to an examination for discovery. Don’t go it alone. If the Director is attempting to seize your property contact our Civil Forfeiture lawyers.
Get Legal Counsel Now!
If you need help with any drug related charges then you need answers now and you need help immediately. Do not delay. We are here to help. Fill in the form below to get legal counsel now!
PLEASE NOTE: If this is an emergency or if you are in custody or been contacted by authorities then call our offices 24/7 at 604-669-6699