Drug charges, such as drug possession or trafficking, result in expensive fines, jail time, and probation. Most importantly, a drug charge is usually a criminal offence, so it will be permanently marked on your criminal record. For the rest of your life, you will have to deal with the consequences since a criminal record affects many aspects of life, including employment.
Your best chance for turning this around is to hire a lawyer. You need a lawyer who knows the drug laws in British Columbia backwards and forwards. They can get the charges dropped, reduced, or help you apply for a record suspension.
The Cannabis Act
Designed to protect youth and stop organized crime, The Cannabis Act outlines the following:
- Individuals who buy, possess, or use cannabis and cannabis products must be of legal age. In British Columbia, the legal age is 19 years old.
- When in public, each person can have only 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in another form.
- Any cannabis or item containing cannabis cannot be brought across the Canadian border.
- Each person in a single household can grow a maximum of four cannabis plants using licensed seedlings.
- Cannabis and cannabis items must be kept out of reach of people under 19 years old, children, and pets. Cannabis edibles and drinks can be deceptive since they look exactly like regular food and drink.
- Driving or operating machinery while impaired is a criminal offence, regardless of the legalization of cannabis.
Many Canadians have a criminal record for marijuana possession before cannabis was legalized in 2018. But with Bill C-93, Canadians who have been convicted for drug-related crimes can apply for a pardon, which is now called a record suspension. Applications are usually granted by the Parole Board of Canada for individuals who have completed their sentence and shown that they are rehabilitated. The five-year waiting period is waived since cannabis has been legalized. There are many reasons to seek expungement.
The Expungement of Criminal Records
An expunged criminal record means that the record and criminal history will be sealed off from anyone who performs a background check on you. It is no longer a public record.
A record suspension provides many benefits:
- Individuals no longer have to deal with community stigma
- Individuals won’t experience discrimination at their job related to a criminal record
- Individuals have the chance to obtain custody of their children or adopt without hassle
- Individuals can rent a property without fear of rejection from landlords and rental boards
- Lenders are more likely to provide loans and mortgages for those with clean records
- Individuals seeking Canadian citizenship or permanent residency are more likely to be approved
Note: Even if you have a record suspension, you mayneed a U.S. Waiver to enter the United States for work or personal reasons.
Seek legal advice from the Sicotte & Sandhu Law firm.
How Long Does a Record Suspension Take in Canada?
The process for having your criminal record expunged normally took 10-18 months if you include the time you start your application and gather the documents. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, there are numerous issues, from a suspension of services to court and police delays.
The waiting period is now much longer, and will vary based on a number of factors including:
- The type of criminal record
- The number of charges
- The number of locations where you were charged
- Decisions made by the Parole Board
Note: If your drug charges are not related to cannabis, you must wait at least five years after your conviction before applying for a record suspension.
Applying for expungement is a complex process. We highly recommend that you get the assistance of a lawyer, so speak with our firm to find out more information.
Contact Us to Prevent a Criminal Conviction
When a person faces an arrest, it is a stressful situation that leaves them feeling alone and helpless. But Sicotte & Sandhu will walk you through the process, answer questions, and be by your side to fight for your rights. In the right circumstances, our team can get the criminal charges dropped to help you avoid a criminal record.
Get in touch with us for a free consultation!