Arrested on drug charges in Quebec? If you are charged with a drug-related crime you need to seek the advice of an experienced Montreal drug lawyer. In Quebec, drug offenses significantly impact individuals’ lives. With Quebec’s strict legal framework, navigating drug laws demands a skilled drug offenses lawyer familiar with the province’s criminal code.

Drug crimes can have serious consequences, you may face a very long penitentiary sentence. However, there are many potential defenses available for drug charges but, for that, one needs to have expert advice.

Legal Definition of Drug Offenses: A Drug Lawyer’s Take

Drug offenses are delineated under various sections of the Criminal Code. It refers to illegal activities which include possession, trafficking, production, and distribution of controlled substances.

These offenses pertain to any actions that violate the norms and standards set by the criminal code for handling illicit substances. Drug offenses can range from small possession of an illicit drug for personal use to large scale during drug trafficking or production operations. Each has its own legal consequence and requires the expertise of a drug crime lawyer.

Types of Drug Offenses

Drug offenses are offenses that are not just about using them but also about trafficking, drug possession, and various other production. The most common types of drug offenses are based on the nature of the crime and the substance involved. The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) deals with them.

TypeDefinitionSection Possible Punishment
Possession of controlled substancesKnowledge or control over illegal drugs in a place one controls like a car or home.Section 4 of CDSASchedule I, II & III
Imprisonment- 6 months & in a case proceeding by Indictment then it can be 3-7 years.
Fine- not exceeding $1000, or both.
Trafficking of distributionInvolves selling, giving, transporting, and even delivering illegal substances in large amounts.Section 5 of CDSASchedule I & II
Imprisonment- For life
Schedule III & V
Imprisonment- Up to 18 months (Crown proceeds summarily) or up to 10 months (Indictment)
Schedule IV
Imprisonment- Up to 1 year (Crown proceeds summarily) or 3 years (Indictment)
Importing and exporting drugsTransporting the illegal substance into and out of the country. Transportation can be done with the help of another person.Section 6 of CDSASchedule I & II
Imprisonment- For life (maximum) and minimum is determined by factors outlined in the CDSA
Production of controlled substancesProcess of manufacturing, cultivating, synthesizing, or harvesting of illegal substances.Section 7 of CDSASchedule I & II
Imprisonment- For life
Schedule I
Imprisonment- 2 years (minimum)
Schedule II
Imprisonment- 1 year
Schedule III, IV & V
No mandatory minimum punishment depends upon Crown proceeds summarily or by Indictment

Classification & Implication in the Criminal Code

Drug offenses can be classified as summary, indictable, or hybrid offenses. The criteria for classification is determining the nature and quantity of drug involved, and the intention behind the offenses. There are various challenges in defining drug offenses which involve the constantly evolving nature of synthetic drugs can create ambiguity in legislation and the varying perceptions of drug harm can influence how offenses are charged and prosecuted. The guidance of a drug charge lawyer in Laval becomes pivotal in understanding these classifications, so one needs to choose a drug lawyer carefully.

  • Summary offenses: These offenses are less severe, often resulting in small fines or shorter jail terms. Moreover, these offenses tend to be accomplished through the justice system sooner, leading to quicker judgments but offering limited defense avenues.
  • Indictable offenses: These offenses are graver in nature, and involve large amounts of drugs, trafficking, or harm to others. Punishment for such offenses can include long prison sentences. Such offenses go through a comprehensive legal procedure, offering the defendant a broader scope of defenses and exposing them to rigid penalties.
  • Hybrid offenses: These offenses also called dual procedure offenses, such offense can be treated as summary offenses or indictable offenses based on the prosecutor’s decision. This approach respects the principles of the Justice System, which prioritize both fairness to the accused and the public interest.
person arrested for drugs in need of a drug lawyer

What To Do If You Get Arrested for Drug Offenses

If you get charged with drug-related offenses, the first and foremost thing you need to do is seek the advice of an experienced Montreal Drug Lawyer. An experienced drug attorney can provide you with the best legal advice and defend you against drug charges.

The First Step After Arrest

One needs to stay calm, as panicking can make the situation worse. Corporate with the police, but one needs to be aware of their rights. No one is obligated to answer any question related to the offense. It is important to remain silent until you consult with your attorney.

Choosing Your Legal Representative

Once detained, you have the right to access legal aid without a delay, if you don’t have one. Given Quebec’s unique legal landscape, it is vital to choose a drug lawyer in Laval or law firm that is well-versed in the province’s drug laws, like El Haddad a specialized drug crime lawyer.

Know your Rights

The Charter of Rights & Freedom provides various rights to an individual. You have the right to know the reason for your arrest and see the warrant if presented. If you believe that your detention is unlawful then you can request a judge for its validity. One is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and it’s the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is important to know that each case is unique. These are the general guidelines, specific drug crimes or offenses may require different actions and considerations.

What to Expect for Drug Offense Charges

There are various circumstances that can be expected if you are charged with drug offenses.

Upon Conviction: The Aftermath

If you are found guilty of a drug offense then depending upon the severity of the crime you will be charged with the punishment of imprisonment up to 7 years or a fine, but it could be both. Serious violations of the law can lead to the punishment of life imprisonment.

First-time Arrest VS Round Two: What Changes?

When you get arrested first time for a drug offense, there are chances that the court may show leniency considering factors like genuine remorse or willingness for rehabilitation including small punishments like fines. But in case the offense is repeated by you the Justice system tends to be stricter, leading to enhanced penalties which can lead to years of jail, heavy fines, and mandatory treatment.

Legal Aftermath

The legal consequences can be worse, it is not limited to fines and imprisonment but also a conviction can result in criminal records. Such acts can affect rights like voting or possessing a firearm. Moreover, there could be restrictions on movement or associations.

List of possible consequences of a drug offense criminal record:

  • Travel Restrictions
  • Employment Limitations
  • Housing Challenges
  • Loss of Voting Rights (in specific circumstances)
  • Restrictions on Possessing Firearms
  • Impact on Immigration and Citizenship
  • Difficulty in Obtaining Pardons/Record Suspensions
  • Challenges in the Adoption Process

Life beyond the verdict: Social Stigma

A drug conviction can impact the life of an individual to such an extent that it can taint’s one reputation, making it challenging to build social relationships and find employment opportunities. Moreover, it might affect the personal relationship due to the stigma attached to drug offenses.


There are avenues to challenge the outcome.

  • You can appeal the verdict or the severity of the sentence if you believe there was a legal error in your trial.
  • After serving the sentence, you are eligible for parole and probation keeping in mind the conditions like routine checkups, mandatory drug tests, or participation in rehab programs.
  • If you keep your behavior good post-conviction, then the individual can apply to the Parole Board for a pardon or record suspension. This doesn’t erase the conviction but seals the record.

Practical Examples

  • Example 1: Jane, caught with a small amount of marijuana for personal use, might face a lesser charge, especially if it’s her first offense. With the help of a drug charge lawyer, there are a number of ways to resolve your matter without going to jail.
  • Example 2: John, arrested for trafficking cocaine, faces a more severe indictable offense. A drug defense lawyer would be essential to navigate the complexities of his case.


Understanding the necessary elements of drug offenses is paramount for anyone entangled in such a situation. It is important to retain the services of an experienced drug crime lawyer, like those at El Haddad Avocats which is imperative. Don’t risk your future; if you or someone you know is facing drug charges, seek professional help immediately.

Relevant Legal Resources

  • Control Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), this act tells about all the offenses, definitions, and punishment an individual face if get into any illegal drug-related activity.
  • Criminal Code, when the offenses are committed to such extent which includes illegal activities, terrorism, sexual offense, disorderly conduct, invasion of privacy, and much more then the role of criminal procedure takes place.
  • Charter of Rights & Freedoms, provided under this act that everyone has a right to freedom whether in terms of equality, life, judicial rights, political rights, and much more.
  • All about drug charges and their type and their aftermath.

El Haddad, Avocats

3090 Boul. le Carrefour bureau 200, Laval, Quebec, H7T 2J7, CA
Secondary phone: 514-712-2686
Fax: 450-687-8181