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Evidence obtained through wiretaps should be carefully scrutinized

When investigating drug trafficking or importation, law enforcement officers often try to piece together an additional charge of conspiracy. The investigative efforts that lead to conspiracy charges may involve wiretaps and other searches that require warrants.

Any kind of police search must follow established protocol and not violate the Charter rights of the person or persons being investigated. If police improperly handle a search warrant or wiretap -- and this happens more often than you might realize -- then the evidence seized in the wiretap or search may be excluded from the ensuing trial.

These are important matters to consider particularly with respect to charges related to drug production and grow-ops, as these charges are typically laid in connection with private property.

Law enforcement does not automatically have a right to search your property or tap your phone or Internet conversations, but many drug production and conspiracy charges are based on evidence obtained when police enter a person's home or business, or when police tap into the phone or Internet conversations of an unknowing individual.

The reality is that police investigators do make mistakes, and sometimes investigators brazenly violate the rights of people who have not even been charged with a criminal offence. A Charter rights violation may nonetheless lead to a charge of drug trafficking or conspiracy, and if you are facing such a charge, it is crucial that you take advantage of your right to legal counsel.

A conspiracy charge coupled with a trafficking or importation charge can result in increased penalties. The stakes too high not to work with a criminal defence lawyer with experience in handling these kinds of cases.

To learn more, please visit Neuberger & Partners' wiretap and search warrant overview.

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Toronto, ON M6C 2E4

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