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How a traffic stop can lead to drug charges

There are a number of reasons why someone from Brampton might be stopped by Ontario Provincial Police, from speeding to making a turn without using a signal to something more serious like driving while intoxicated. Much of the time, the reason for a stop is relatively minor and the driver can proceed on his or her way with a warning or a ticket for a traffic violation. In some instances, however, the situation is much more serious and the driver could find him- or herself arrested and charged with a crime.

For two men from Brampton, a stop on Highway 401 in Chatham turned out to be much more serious. They were charged with drug possession for the purpose of trafficking after Provincial Police officers searched their vehicle and allegedly found marijuana.

What this case may turn on is whether the search executed by the Ontario Provincial Police was within the letter of the law. Police must respect Canadian citizens' rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which includes the right against unreasonable search and seizure found in Section 8. If police collect evidence of criminal wrongdoing while violating Section 8, the evidence can be excluded from trial.

It is unknown why the two men were stopped by Provincial Police, but the initial stop may not have given the police sufficient cause to search the car. If the men's criminal defence lawyer can show that police violated Section 8, the nearly 99 grams of marijuana and the 289 marijuana plants cannot be introduced as evidence in court and the charges will likely be dropped.

Source: Brampton Guardian, "Two Brampton men face drug charges," Pam Douglas, 6 Jan. 2014