Importing

Importing is one of the most serious category of offences under Canadian criminal and regulatory laws. Importing drugs is a common category of this offence. However, a person can also be charged with other “contraband” substances or items without appropriate licences and compliance with Canadian importing regulations.


What is Importing?

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Have you or someone you care about been charged with Importing? Being convicted of Importing under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) can have serious consequences in terms of sentencing, international travel and employment.

Importing refers to the illegal transportation of controlled substances into Canada. Depending on the type and the amount of the drug involved, the penalties for Importing narcotics can be severe. Those found guilty of importing hard drugs could face life imprisonment.

Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, a citizen’s constitutional rights are often reduced or restricted at the border. Importing cases are especially complex since the offence originated in another country.

Foreign jurisdictions have different laws and levels of government and police involvement in the lives of private citizens. Once the accused is in Canada, it may be difficult to access evidence pertaining to the case. Witnesses, documents, and other relevant material are now in another jurisdiction. Often, this evidence is out of the reach of Canadian law.

Having a record for a drug offence can have serious repercussions on your life. Given the complexity of this area of law, it is imperative to seek the support of an experienced, diligent defence lawyer.

Depending on the nature and type of contraband, different sentences apply under Section 6 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Furthermore, in certain circumstances, the court can consider such factors as whether an accused while committing the offence abused a position of trust or authority, or had access to an area restricted to authorized persons and used that access to commit the offence.

Caramanna, Friedberg LLP has represented countless of individuals charged with Importing. Please call us 24/7 at (416) 924-5969 for a consultation about how we can help defend your rights if you have been charged.

Frequently Asked Questions

An accused is not required to physically bring the drugs into Canada on his or her person. The act of causing the drugs to be brought into Canada is enough to secure a conviction.

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The Crown is not required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the specific drug in question that was imported. However, they are required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew that he or she was importing a controlled substance.

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  • Factual Innocence: Failure of the Crown to prove every essential element of the specific offence beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Duress: Under section 17 of the Criminal Code, the defence of duress exists where one commits an offence under compulsion of threats of immediate death or bodily harm from a person who is present when the offence is committed. The accused must have believed that the threats would be carried out and cannot be a party to a conspiracy or association whereby a person is subject to compulsion. This defence cannot be invoked with assault-related offences (including sexual assault), bodily harm offences, murder, arson, kidnapping, etc.
  • Necessity: The defence of necessity may be invoked in emergency-type situations. In R v Latimer, 2001 SCC 1, the Supreme Court of Canada set out the three factors that must be present for the defence of necessity to succeed in a case:
    • The accused must be in an situation of imminent peril or danger;
    • The accused must have had no reasonable legal alternative to breaking the law; and
    • The harm inflicted by the accused must be proportional to the harm avoided by the accused.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment occurs where a person who has otherwise not committed a crime is induced by police or given an opportunity by police to commit a criminal act. The defence of entrapment is available where police give someone who they have no reason to suspect is involved with criminal activity an opportunity to commit an offence, or they may induce a person, who they have reasonable suspicion to believe is involved in crime, to commit an offence through lies, tricks, and persuasion.
  • Violation of Charter Rights: Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, individuals are afforded specific rights, including:
    • the right against unreasonable search and seizure;
    • the right to not be arbitrarily detained;
    • the right to be informed promptly of the reasons for arrest;
    • the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay; and
    • the right to be tried within a reasonable time.
      • A successful Charter challenge may also result in a stay of proceedings, or evidence from your case being excluded.
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Depending on the type and the amount of the drug involved, the penalties for Importing narcotics can be severe. Some have mandatory minimum sentences of 1-2 years imprisonment. Those found guilty of importing hard drugs could face life imprisonment.

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Importing refers to the illegal transportation of controlled substances into Canada. It is one of the most serious categories of offences under Canadian criminal and regulatory laws.

Under section 6(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, it is a criminal offence to import or export into Canada a substance includes in Schedules I through VI.

Depending on the nature and type of contraband, different sentences apply under Section 6 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Furthermore, in certain circumstances, the court can consider such factors as whether an accused while committing the offence abused a position of trust or authority, or had access to an area restricted to authorized persons and used that access to commit the offence.

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The Crown must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt for the accused to be found guilty:

  • Identity of the accused;
  • Date, time, and jurisdiction;
  • That the accused imported into Canada or exported from Canada a substance;
  • That the substance is included under Schedule I, II, III, IV, V, or VI of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act;
  • That the accused knew it was a controlled substance; and
  • The substance was not authorized under the regulations.
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