Right to counsel

A recent case before the Court of Appeal upheld the defendant’s right to counsel. The defendant had been arrested with his girlfriend and friend after the police executed a search warrant at his house. 73 grams of cocaine, 55 grams of marihuana and over $5,000 were found. Although the girlfriend and the friend were able to contact duty counsel, the defendant was held in custody for at least 3 hours before the police attempted to get him duty counsel and none of the police were able to confirm whether he spoke to duty counsel or not.

The right to counsel the appeal court said is very serious and significant and the only proper remedy was to overturn his conviction and enter acquittals.

Jails are no place for addiction help.

A recent case in the news, finds a mother grieving her loss. Her son struggled with drug addiction for some time and she thought that when he was arrested and in jail he would get him the help he needed. Unfortunately, her son died while in custody and she is waiting to know why.

Jails and detention centers hold people who are waiting for release on bail or trial, and those who are serving a prison sentence. Federal prisons hold those who have been sentenced to length of custody over 2 years.  Unfortunately, jails and detention centers do not have a lot of resources, so prisoners spend a lot of time in their cells, watching television, doing next to nothing. In a few jails, there may be Alcoholics Anonymous, or chapel, but no programs for education, or skills training.

Jails do not have the ability to monitor people who are addicted or who have mental health issues, sometimes there is a special wing, however, there is minimum medical staff, and often prisoners have to make several requests before they are seen. The courts and jails are unable to force people into giving up their addictions and have treatment.

Resources like the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) http://www.camh.ca/  and your family doctor have better resources if you or a loved one is facing addiction or mental health issues.

 

 

Marihuana convictions

Still the police are still charging for possession and it is still a criminal conviction affecting future travel to the United States, work, being able to volunteer. Only time will tell if previous convictions will be wiped clean that has happened in San Francisco.

Medicinal marihuana

There is a lot of misinformation, especially when you see a dispensary on every corner. Unfortunately,
marihuana is still a controlled substance and possession of even a small amount, under 30 grams you can still be criminally charged especially if you are caught smoking while driving a motor vehicle or close to a grade or high school.

if your marihuana is packaged in smaller quantities you may be charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking (intending to sell) and any money you have on you may be seized as proceeds of crime.

If you are smoking in your parents’ car, or at your house the police could seize the car or house even if you do not get charged.

In order to get proper documentation if you need marihuana for a medical condition do it properly. Here is the Health Canada website.

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If you have any questions about your case please call 416-469-3443 or email princej@interlog.com if you have questions about your own case

Impact of drugs

Although there has been much in the news about legalizing marihuana, unfortunately it is still not legal unless you are medically allowed to grow and consume it. By medically allowed, it is not someone self-diagnosing themselves with an illness, it is obtaining a doctor’s referral and obtaining a license from Health Canada.

What can happen if you do not have legal authorization to have marihuana, you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance, if you have a small amount, or possession for the purpose of trafficking if you have an amount that is more than personal use, or is divided into little baggies. Trafficking means giving it, selling it, holding it for someone else. If you have any money on you, that may be seized as proceeds of crime-that is you got this money selling drugs. These are offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act., and Criminal Code of Canada.

Although you may get a blue slip of paper, it is a police order to appear at court and for your prints on a particular day and place. If you do not do so, you will be charged with failing to appear for court and/or failing to appear for prints which will cause you to be arrested and possibly held overnight. You will have to contact someone to sign a bail for you.

The police and the Crown may try to seize your money, car, house under the Civil Forfeiture Act, 2001, claiming you got these illegal activity or will use it for illegal activity in the future. You may not even be charged.

If you are found guilty of possession or possession for the purpose of trafficking you will have a criminal record, you will be stopped from going to the United States, you will have difficulty, getting work or volunteering. If you are an adult this record will be with you forever unless you get a criminal record suspension.

Impaired by Drugs

Driving while impaired by drugs such as marihuana, results in the same penalties as driving while impaired by alcohol or a combination of alcohol/drugs.

If you are found guilty of being impaired you will have a criminal conviction – a permanent criminal record, you will not be able to drive anywhere in Canada for at least 1 year and will have to pay a minimum fine of $1000 plus a victim fine surcharge. To be able to drive again, you will have to pay any outstanding fines both criminal and Ministry of Transportation fines and charges, pay for and install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car for at least one year, and obtain insurance, which will be very costly.

You may be charged with Impaired Driving because of a RIDE stop, being reported by someone, or a random stop by the police. You could be charged with Impaired Driving, if you are in a collusion, even if it is only you and your vehicle. If you do get into an accident and you are charged with driving while Impaired, your insurance will no longer cover you.

IF you refuse to provide a breath sample, or submit to any eye or walking test, you will be charged with Refuse to Provide Breath Sample and have the same criminal penalties outlined above.

Losing your right to drive and getting a criminal record will have a big impact on your life, work and ability to travel. If you are charged with Impaired, Over .80 or Refuse to Provide Breath Sample, please contact our office right away, so we can properly advise you as to your next steps.

Do not plead guilty until you get advice from our office at 416-469-3443.

Please note, we do not take legal aid certificates for Over .80, Impaired or Refuse to Provide Breath Sample offenses.