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Drug Offences

There is a wide range of drug-related charges. The type of charge and the consequences you face will differ depending on the nature and quantity of the drug. In Canada, the criminal drug laws cover possession, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, production, importation, and involvement in any of these areas.

Drug offences are typically intertwined with other crimes, such as weapons charges. If you’re charged with a drug offence, we will walk you through the next steps and what to expect. We draw on our experience and strategic negotiation skills to achieve the best possible outcome at the earliest stage of prosecution.

At Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm, we expertly navigate this area of the law and the rapidly-evolving drug laws in Canada. We focus on protecting your rights through the entire process to ensure that you receive the most favourable result possible.


1. What are different types of drug charges?

There is a wide range of drug related charges. The type of charge and the consequences you face will differ depending on the nature and quantity of the drug.  Our team of lawyers ensure that we are always aware of the most recent case law and statutes so that your criminal matter is defended to its fullest.

We have defended every type of criminal drug case, including the following:

  • s.4(1) simple possession
  • s.5(1) drug trafficking
  • s.5(2) possession for the purpose of trafficking
  • s. 6(1) importation
  • s. 6(2) exportation
  • s.7 production of controlled substances that include marihuana grow operations and production in a “drug lab”

Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence has defended every type of drug case in a variety of quantities.  These drugs have included:

  • Crack and powder cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine (Special K)
  • Designer drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Party drugs such as GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) or Liquid Ecstasy
  • Opiates, such as morphine and fentanyl
  • Methamphetamine (meth)
  • Marihuana (pot)
  • Hashish
  • Psilocybin Mushrooms
  • Hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, PCP (angel dust)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Khat

2. What defences do I have?

Drug prosecutions are often highly intricate and defending drug cases requires specialized knowledge of the Criminal Code of Canada, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the common law.

The Crown must prove that the substance found is, in fact, an illegal drug and they often do so by issuing a certificate. It’s important that you work with an experienced lawyer who can identify any problems with this certificate and what impact those problems have on your charges.

These types of criminal charges require several types of defences used in conjunction with each other.

Many drug prosecutions are based upon evidence obtained through a search warrant, the use of wiretaps, or undercover techniques. These strategies are often subject to Charter scrutiny, and evidence stemming from an infringement of your Charter rights may be discounted from your proceedings.

If you are charged with a trafficking offence, the police may have obtained evidence of your identity through surveillance. In some circumstances, improper identification can result in a withdrawal or an acquittal.

Our lawyers will also seek to find other defences to your drug charge. It may be that the drugs were found in a car that was borrowed or that other people were in the car or using your car prior to your arrest. It may also be that other people were in your home or living in your home at the time police found drugs in your home. It may also be that the police did not follow proper procedures in determining the nature of the drug seized, such as continuity of the drug or proper analysis of the drug. These defences are not exhaustive but are only some of many that Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm will assess in reviewing your case with you.

3. What if my rights have been violated?

Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence will always seek to find a Charter issue to defend your drug charge and to have the evidence excluded at trial. Often, the police will violate the accused’s Charter rights in obtaining evidence. The Charter violation may occur while driving a car or even walking down the street. The police may have violated your Charter rights by entering your home even if they have obtained a Search Warrant. We will carefully review and analyze the Search Warrant to determine if the Search Warrant was granted in error. It is imperative that the drug lawyer you hire is experienced and diligent in Charter applications so that your matter may be properly defended and your Constitutional rights protected. If your Charter rights are not properly evaluated then you may be missing out on a defence of your criminal matter.

4. Is it possible that my charges will be withdrawn?

If you are a first time offender charged with possession of a soft drug (such as marijuana), you may be eligible for the Alternative Measures Program (AMP). If AMP is successfully completed, your charges will be withdrawn.

AMP requires consent from the Crown so it is important to have an experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer who can make these options available to you.

5. What happens if I am found guilty?

The result of being found guilty will vary depending on your criminal history and personal circumstances. Typically, the quantity and type of drugs found in your possession will be a major factor. Our lawyers have successfully dealt with gram, pound, and kilogram level prosecutions for the entire spectrum of narcotics.

Some offences carry a mandatory incarceration period, while others may be resolved with a fine or a period of probation. For example, if you are convicted of trafficking and the incident involved a firearm, there is a minimum sentence of one-year imprisonment.

The legal reality is that if you are found guilty of a criminal drug offence, there is a likelihood that you will face some kind of incarceratory sentence –perhaps even time in a Federal Penitentiary.

6. How will a drug conviction affect my life?

A conviction for a drug related charge may, and in most cases does limit your ability to travel. The United States have strict policies and readily refuse to admit those with drug related convictions.

Recently won cases

R v A.A. [Calgary Provincial Court]

The client was charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. The matter was set for a five-day trial in the Court of Queen’s Bench, until after Robin discussed triable issues with the Crown. The client chose to re-elect to Provincial Court and plead to one count of simple possession, and ultimately avoided a lengthy jail sentence.

R v G.L. [Lethbridge Provincial Court]

The client was charged with two counts of possession of fentanyl and methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking. After Robin discussed a resolution position with the Crown, the client plead guilty to two counts of simple possession, thus avoiding a lengthy jail sentence and simply paying fines.

R v L.S. (Lethbridge Provincial Court)

The client was a US citizen arrested at the border for suspected possession and importation of methamphetamine, contrary to section 6(1) and 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. While he had his release in criminal court he was being detained by immigration until the conclusion of his matters. The client maintained his innocence and Robin was able to negotiate the withdrawal of the charges. The client returned back to his home in the United States and was able to continue working.

R v L.B. [Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench]

Robin successfully had the charges withdrawn in this case of drug trafficking and conspiracy to traffic a large quantity of fentanyl after the initial three-day pretrial application in the Court of Queen’s Bench.

R v L.E. [Stony Plain Provincial Court]

Impaired Driving, Drug Possession Charges Withdrawn & No Criminal Record 

The client was charged with impaired driving and possession of a controlled substance, marijuana. Tonii Roulston set the matter for trial and filed an application arguing that the investigating officer breached the clients Charter protected rights. The charges were withdrawn and the client received no conviction and no criminal record.