Possession

The law defines possession very broadly based on “knowledge, consent and control”. That is why a person can be charged with possession of illicit drugs or a weapon for simply being in the same place where the item was found.


If you or someone you care about has been charged with Drug Possession, Caramanna, Friedberg LLP is here to help.

What is Drug Possession?

Possession Lawyer in Toronto Ontario Under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA), the possession of illegal drugs and other controlled substances is a punishable criminal offence. Drug Possession may result in conviction, imprisonment and heavy fines.

To be in possession of a substance, one must have knowledge and control of the substance. The definitions of "knowledge" and "control" have been intricately defined and interpreted through many years of case law.  Many cases have been decided on whether an Accused is in "possession" of contraband. "Possession" is a complex area of law with which Caramanna, Friedberg LLP has vast experience.  

Severity of Charges

The severity of the charges will depend on the type and quantity of the substance involved. It will also hinge on the alleged purpose for which the Accused was in possession of the substance. All controlled substances are classified depending on their perceived danger to users and society.

Schedule 1 substances carry the harshest penalties and Schedule II substances carry lower consequences. For instance, possession of heroin, a Schedule I drug, will carry much stiffer penalties than possession of marijuana, a Schedule II drug.

Why having a Lawyer is Critical

One must bear in mind, however, that being convicted of possessing a Schedule II drug is still a serious crime. Even a relatively small amount of marijuana for personal use can result in imprisonment for up to 6 months, and monetary fines up to $1000.

In 2012, amendments to the CDSA added mandatory minimum penalties for particular drug offences in certain circumstances. The bottom line is that any drug charge is serious. With that said, Possession for the purpose of Trafficking in a drug is a more significant offence than possession for personal use.

Once charged, many people believe they are in a position to defend themselves, especially if they are accused of a Schedule II offence. Caramanna, Friedberg LLP urges you to resist the inclination to face these charges alone, no matter how small they appear.

Seeking the expertise of a skilled defence lawyer with a track record of defending possession charges is in the Accused's best interest. Caramanna, Friedberg LLP has a track record of securing withdrawals and acquittals of charges.  

Call us 27/4 for a consultation at (416) 924-5969.

Frequently Asked Questions

In a possession case, the Crown is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had knowledge and control of the drugs in question. One can be found to have been in possession of drugs even if actual drugs were not found on one’s person. For example, the drug may be in possession of another person at a specific residence, which the accused has knowledge about.

You can also be charged with possession of the purpose of trafficking without the police having observed the trafficking occurred. View More

Yes. Even a relatively small amount of marijuana for personal use can result in imprisonment for up to 6 months, and monetary fines up to $1000.

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  • Factual Innocence: If the Crown is unable to prove the essential elements of the particular offence beyond a reasonable doubt, they will have failed to discharge their burden, and the accused will be acquitted.
  • 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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  • For a Schedule I Substance, the potential penalties are:
    • If Crown proceeds by summary conviction:
      • For a first offence: Maximum fine of $1000 and a term of imprisonment not seeking 6 months
      • For a subsequent offence: Maximum fine of $2000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.
    • If Crown proceeds by indictment: maximum punishment of 7 years imprisonment.
  • For a Schedule II Substance:
    • If Crown proceeds by summary conviction:
      • For a first offence: Maximum fine of $1000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.
      • For a subsequent offence: Maximum fine of $2000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.
    • If Crown proceeds by indictment: maximum punishment of 5 years less a day imprisonment
  • For a Schedule III Substance:
    • If Crown proceeds by summary conviction:
      • For a first offence: Maximum fine of $1000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.
      • For a subsequent offence: Maximum fine of $2000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.
    • If Crown proceeds by indictment: maximum punishment of 3 years imprisonment
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Under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA), the possession of illegal drugs and other controlled substances is a punishable criminal offence. Drug Possession may result in conviction, imprisonment and heavy fines.

To be in possession of a substance, one must have knowledge and control of the substance. The definitions of knowledge and control have been intricately defined and interpreted through many years of case law. Many cases have been decided on whether an Accused is in possession of contraband. Possession is a complex area of law with which Caramanna, Friedberg LLP has vast experience. View More

In 2012, amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act added mandatory minimum penalties for particular drug offences in certain circumstances.

  • For Certain Schedule I Offences: the minimums range from 1-3 years, depending on whether aggravating and health and safety factors exist.
  • For Certain Schedule II Offences: the minimums range from 6 months - 3 years, depending on whether aggravating and health and safety factors exist.
View More

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