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Toronto Crimes & Misdemeanours Law Blog

Two siblings charged after search uncovers drugs

Let's say the police show up at a home you share with several people and have a search warrant. If they are trying to find evidence of drugs, they can look through most of the home and, if your housemates have any contraband in the home, there could be serious consequences. But those consequences may not be restricted solely to your housemates. During the search, if they find drugs in the common areas of the home, they may believe you are culpable, as well.

Fortunately, that is rarely enough to convict someone of a drug crime in Ontario. The Crown would likely need more evidence linking an individual to the drugs before they could hope to convict. Unfortunately, however, some people think even this small amount of evidence would be too hard to fight, and say things that could potentially incriminate themselves.

Human Rights Commission questions Ontario Provincial Police

One of the best things about Ontario and Canada in general is that it truly is a multicultural mosaic of different cultures and peoples. There are immigrants living next to native-born Canadians. There are people of various skin colours, religions and ethnic backgrounds all living and working together. At the same time, there are some who believe that certain groups are more prone to violent crime. This can be especially problematic if those people are members of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Sadly, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has been investigating the OPP after an incident in which the branch of law enforcement requested DNA samples from an estimated 100 male migrant workers. Law enforcement says that it was trying to crack a sexual assault case, but the group Justicia for Migrant Workers says that it was illegal racial profiling.

The effects of cocaine use on employment

As we have written about before, being suspected of drug use can have serious consequences. Not only could someone face criminal drug charges, but he or she could also have an untold number of problems at work, at home and in one's personal life. By working with a criminal defence lawyer, however, someone charged with drug crimes can at least alleviate some of the more difficult aspects -- the drug charges.

Still, even a mild association with drugs can cost many Canadians their jobs. It is true that the Canadian Human Rights Act requires employers to make accommodations for employees who live with drug or alcohol addictions, but that doesn't mean that employers can't argue that the addiction could be a threat or that there are no accommodations that can be made.

Crown prosecutors drop charges after review of evidence

Drinking and driving is against the law in Ontario, but only when a driver's blood alcohol content exceeds a specific level. If the driver's blood alcohol level is over 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres, he or she could be facing serious criminal charges and punishment. When the driver is a public figure such as Jonas Valanciunas of the Toronto Raptors, a criminal charge can also seriously damage a driver's reputation.

Just because someone is charged with a crime, however, does not mean that he or she committed it. Instead, Crown prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused has committed a criminal act. If there is little chance that the Crown will win its case, the charges against the accused will be dismissed. Yet even when charges are dropped, there remains the risk of punishment.

Sometimes criminal charges just don't make sense

You could expect that if you threw a knife at someone that you would be facing criminal charges. You could also expect to face assault charges for hitting someone, kicking them or maybe even pushing them. Not many people in the Greater Toronto Area would expect, however, for someone to be facing criminal charges for throwing a juice box at an individual and pouring the juice on the hood of a her car. Though those actions may not be wise or even appropriate, a charge of assault with a weapon may be going a bit far.

Sadly, that is one of three criminal charges a 17-year-old girl is facing after a particularly heated interaction with her grandmother. The Cornwall teenager stands charged with breaching probation orders and mischief, in addition to the assault with a weapon charge. She was arrested and taken into custody.

Government uses forfeiture laws to claim offenders' property

Anyone who says that the federal and provincial governments are soft on marijuana crimes may need to rethink his or her opinion. Though it is far from universal, there are a number of cases in which the government will attempt to seize an offender's property solely because he or she had a marijuana grow op on the land.

Because of criminal forfeiture laws, the government may have a claim to any land that is used in the commission of a crime. Ontarians who use their homes to grow marijuana could see the government trying to evict them and sell their homes as part of their punishment for violating the drug laws.

Should poor judgment result in criminal charges?

We don't always make the best decisions. It is just part of human nature to make mistakes or to not do what makes the most sense. Most of the time those mistakes have very few long-term or serious consequences, but sometimes they do. Even when they do, though, should a simple mistake or spate of bad judgment lead to criminal charges? Unfortunately, sometimes they do.

A Whitby man has been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, assault causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. The man is married to a 62-year-old woman who was recently admitted to the hospital because she was in poor shape following a stroke. Police are saying that the man neglected his wife and are charging him with very serious crimes.

Why mandatory minimum sentences don't make sense for Canada

Most people in Toronto realize that the U.S. imprisons far more people than Canada does, and that high rate of imprisonment is due, in part, to mandatory minimum sentences. While these sentences are particularly prevalent in drug cases, there are many laws that strip judges of their discretion in sentencing. Unlike Canadian judges, many American judges must send defendants to prison for years solely because they meet a select number of criteria.

So why is this important to Torontonians? It is important because there is new legislation that has similarly stripped some discretion from Canadian judges with regard to drug charges. If defendants meet certain criteria, they will be sentenced to a mandatory one-year sentence should they be found guilty. What is more, judges will be forced to send individuals to jail for one year, even if that is not in their best interests or society's.

New prostitution law draws criticism

The Conservative government has set a goal to abolish prostitution and legal sex work, and it believes it can do it with a bill that would heavily penalise the individuals who buy sex. While there is certainly some support for the bill, there are many people who find this proposed bill to be paternalistic and potentially dangerous.

Currently, it is not considered a sex crime to exchange money for sex in Ontario. There are certainly a number of laws that regulate how and where prostitution can happen, but the general profession is not against the law. If this bill becomes law, however, it will target those individuals who buy sex and those who profit from a relationship with prostitutes.

Young people charged with marijuana possession in rural Ontario

The Controlled Drug and Substance Act dictates which drug acts are criminal under Canadian law. The act is quite extensive and lists a number of crimes that many people in Ontario may not even realize are criminal. Of course, most people in the province know that marijuana possession is a violation of the law, but it is hardly as serious as a violent or destructive crime.

Sadly, the Ontario Provincial Police are not likely to be lenient with drug possession crimes, especially in the more rural areas of Ontario. According to the OPP, drugs pose a danger to the community and, thus, they take it very seriously whenever young people purchase or sell drugs. Unfortunately for two young people in Wawa, a township a few kilometres off of Lake Superior, the OPP demonstrated just how seriously they take drug violations after they were arrested earlier this month.

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