Proceeds Of Crime Definition
A while ago, persons charged with criminal offences were arrested, arraigned in court, and, if convicted, the judge imposed a sentence. However, the justice system realized that, in some cases, it was hard to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. This led to the Proceeds of Crime Act, which was introduced for investigators to follow the money and seize any assets believed to be proceeds of criminal activities, such as the importation, trafficking, and production of drugs.
At Zamani Law, we protect persons under investigation by the proceeds of crime unit or the RCMP. If your property has been seized, contact our Toronto criminal defence lawyers for expert legal representation.
Proceeds of Crime Per the Criminal Code
Section 462.3 of the Criminal Code defines proceeds of crime as:
- Any property, benefit, or advantage within or outside Canada, obtained or derived directly or indirectly as a result of:
- The commission in Canada of a designated offence, or
- An act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted a designated offence.
A “designated offence” is:
- Any offence that may be prosecuted as an indictable offence under this or any other act of parliament, other than an indictable offence prescribed by regulation, or
- A conspiracy or an attempt to commit, being an accessory after the fact in relation to, or any counselling in relation to, an offence referred to in paragraph (a).
If you are facing proceeds of crime charges, it’s in your best interest to retain an experienced criminal defence lawyer. They’ll fight to protect you from losing legitimately acquired property as the government pushes to seize all your assets. Also, they can negotiate with the prosecution on other charges related to proceeds of crime, including drug offences and fraud.
Call us at 416-627-1318 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Possible Defence strategies
Proceeds of crime charges are handled very sternly by the prosecution, and they carry severe penalties upon conviction. Therefore, seek legal guidance if you’re under investigation or facing charges for allegedly having assets acquired through illegitimate means. Do not take any deals or plead guilty without going through all your options with an attorney.
Here are possible defence strategies for proceeds of crimes charges:
· No proof the property is yours
In proceeds of crime charges, the prosecution must prove that you owned the seized property and had knowledge or suspected that it was obtained illegally. If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the property is yours, it weakens their case.
· You did not obtain the property through criminal activities.
If the government suspects that your assets, e.g., large amounts of cash, are proceeds of crime, the burden lies on them to prove the accusations. If you have significant amounts of money stored in your home or elsewhere, it’s your right to do so, and the prosecution cannot infer that its illegally obtained without actual proof. As your attorneys, we’ll represent you vigorously and challenge the prosecution to prove their case.
· Breach of Charter rights
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure and affords them certain rights that the government should not violate. If they broke these rights during the discovery of the alleged proceeds of crime, e.g., the search was unwarranted, we’ll fight to have the case withdrawn, and your assets returned.
With such possible defences that we can use to build your case, it’s requisite to exercise your rights and call us to retain an experienced lawyer in Toronto. We offer a free assessment of your case.
Penalty for Proceeds of crime
The potential penalties for proceeds of crime conviction vary as follows:
- Offences under $5,000 – up to 2 years in jail
- Offences over $5,000 – up to 10 years in jail
There are no minimum sentences for proceeds of crime charges. Note that in some cases, e.g., when the sentence imposed is less than two years, and you have no priors, you can serve your sentence as a conditional sentence (house arrest) if the purposes and principles of the sentence are met.
If you or your loved one is facing proceeds of crime charges, contact us for expert legal guidance. We’ll assess your case and offer professional advice on the best way forward.
Contact a Toronto Proceeds of Crime Lawyer
Proceeds of crime charges are complex, and they carry severe penalties. Contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Toronto to protect your legitimately acquired property and legal rights through exceptional representation.
Note: This article is not legal advice. It’s for informational purposes only. For legal representation and advice on proceeds of crime or other offence, contact Zamani Law.
7. (1) Except as authorised under the regulations, no person shall produce a substance included in Schedule I, II, III, or IV.
(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1)
(a) If the subject matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule I, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of three years if any of the factors set out in subsection (3) apply and for a term of two years in any other case;
(a.1) if the subject matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule II, other than cannabis (marijuana), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life, and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment
(i) for a term of one year if the production is for the purpose of trafficking, or and any of the factors set out in subsection (3) apply;
(b) if the subject matter of the offence is cannabis (marijuana), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years, and to a minimum punishment of
(i) imprisonment for a term of six months if the number of plants produced is less than 201 and more than five, and the production is for the purpose of trafficking,
(ii) imprisonment for a term of nine months if the number of plants produced is less than 201 and more than five, the production is for the purpose of trafficking and any of the factors set out in subsection (3) apply,
(iii) imprisonment for a term of one year if the number of plants produced is more than 200 and less than 501,
(iv) imprisonment for a term of 18 months if the number of plants produced is more than 200 and less than 501 and any of the factors set out in subsection (3) apply,
(v) imprisonment for a term of two years if the number of plants produced is more than 500, or
(vi) imprisonment for a term of three years if the number of plants produced is more than 500 and any of the factors set out in subsection (3) apply;
(c) where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule III,
(i) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or
(ii) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months; and
(d) where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule IV,
(i) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or
(ii) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
(3) The following factors must be taken into account in applying paragraphs (2)(a) to (b):
(a) the person used real property that belongs to a third party in committing the offence;
(b) the production constituted a potential security, health or safety hazard to persons under the age of 18 years who were in the location where the offence was committed or in the immediate area;
(c) the production constituted a potential public safety hazard in a residential area; or
(d) the person set or placed a trap, device or other thing that is likely to cause death or bodily harm to another person in the location where the offence was committed or in the immediate area, permitted such a trap, device or other thing to remain or be placed in that location or area.
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