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Calgary Criminal Law & Misdemeanours Law Blog

Man sentenced for assault charges after 17-year exile

On Oct. 10, a man in Alberta received a sentence for charges that were almost two decades old. According to the fugitive apprehension unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team, the man lived in his basement for 17 years while he was wanted on a warrant for assault charges. During that time, the man cared for his children while his wife worked.

In 1995, the then 33-year-old man was accused of committing several violent crimes while working as a mid-level drug dealer. Believing he had been robbed of two pounds of marijuana, the accused man allegedly beat a 29-year-old man and killed his dog with the help of other gang members. A few weeks later, the man allegedly cut the same man's fingers and threatened to kill him if he alerted police.

Controlled substance groups and maximum sentences

Alberta residents might be interested to learn about the potential prison sentences one may face for possession, production or trafficking of illegal drugs. Because criminal law classifies each drug differently, the potential prison sentence a person may be handed after a criminal drug conviction depends on the type of drug involved in their alleged crime.

A group of controlled substances called amphetamines includes drugs that are commonly referred to as speed, ice, crystal meth and ecstasy. This group also includes dextroamphetamines, which are also called dexies. A minor possession offence involving one of these drugs may lead to a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in prison. A person who is convicted of trafficking in one of these drugs could face up to 10 years in prison.

Alberta court refuuses to hear argument over cocaine sentencing

Alberta's highest court has decided not to hear arguments concerning judicial guidelines for the sentencing of cocaine dealers established in a 1981 ruling. The Sept. 24 decision was reached by a panel comprised of three members. A defense lawyer had argued that sentencing guidelines for drug offences should be reevaluated in light of evolving legal and societal standards.

The 1981 Alberta Court of Appeal decision set a benchmark sentence of three years for those convicted of dealing cocaine even if only small amounts of the drug were involved. However, the ruling allowed a certain degree of judicial discretion. Judges could adjust the sentence up or down from the three-year baseline in light of the circumstances of a particular case.

3 teens detained for home invasion

According to local reports, three teenage boys have been taken into custody for their alleged involvement with a violent home invasion that occurred in southern Alberta on Sept. 16. Police responded to call around 11:50 p.m. about a break-and-enter in progress located on the 900 block of 21st Avenue in Coaldale. Officers say that the 23-year-old male resident was assaulted with a bat and pepper-sprayed by one of the three teenage assailants who entered the home.

Despite his injuries, the resident detained one of the teens until authorities arrived. The other two individuals fled the scene before police reached the residence. Officers responding to the scene claim to have confiscated the bat, pepper spray and tools used to commit the break-in. Police also detained the 18-year-old Coaldale resident and charged him with two counts of assault with a weapon, possession of an offensive weapon, being disguised with intent, housebreaking and committing robbery.

What are the penalties for drunk driving in Alberta?

On July 1, 2012, Alberta changed the penalties for driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 per cent or higher, and on Sept. 1, 2012, penalties for a BAC of .05 per cent or higher were also altered. In an effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities, fines for these charges were eliminated, and a greater emphasis was put on mandatory treatment courses and the use of ignition interlock devices, which prevent individuals who do not pass a breath test from being able to start a vehicle.

The penalties for a first-time impaired driving conviction with a BAC of .08 per cent or higher include a criminal charge, a driver's license suspension, vehicle seizure, use of an ignition interlock system and a mandatory Planning Ahead Course. A second and third conviction also carry these penalties with increasing durations, but the required Planning Ahead course is replaced by a mandatory Impact course.

Alberta man charged with multiple sex offences

A Thorsby man has been charged with multiple offences in connection with activities that he allegedly committed against children, according to RCMP and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team. The charges were filed in response to sexual offences reportedly committed against four individuals in four different cases. The defendant was taken into custody on Aug. 19 on one count of invitation to sexual touching, four counts of sexual interference and five counts each of child luring, breach of conditions and sexual assault.

The defendant was first taken into custody in June 2013, though investigators believe that the alleged offences began late in 2009. In May 2014, the Child Exploitation Unit of ALERT became involved when the case expanded to include two more alleged victims.

2 people receive drug charges after raid

The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team and the Lethridge Regional Police Service raided a business and apartment suite on Aug. 27. The two searches were connected to an investigation into suspected drug trafficking that ALERT investigators believed was taking place in Lethbridge. The name of the business that was raided has not been released to the public.

During the searches, authorities say that they seized unknown quantities of psilocybin, marijuana and cocaine. The total street value of all of the drugs combined was reported to be approximately $24,000. In addition to the drugs, officers seized $65,000 in cash, a Ford Escape and a Dodge truck.

Modified Glock and other weapons seized from home

The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team detained a 29-year-old man at his home in Fort McMurray on Aug. 19. According to investigators, the man was found to be in possession of thousands of rounds of ammunition and dozens of firearms when a search warrant was executed. Because of the search, the man now faces multiple weapons charges, including unsecured storage of firearms, possession of a prohibited firearm and unlawful altering of a firearm.

One firearm that was seized during the raid was a modified Glock. With the modifications, the weapon could reportedly fire 1,200 rounds of ammunition in one minute. It was also reported that several of the firearms in the man's home were not stored properly. When the raid was conducted, three children were in the home. All of the weapons found were reportedly registered to the accused man.

2 men accused of drug trafficking after raids

On Aug. 15, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team executed two search warrants at homes in Fort McMurray. The alleged drug busts were reportedly a response by law enforcement to information that they had gathered from members of the public about suspected drug trafficking in the Timberlea area. Officers from Wood Buffalo RCMP also helped to execute the search warrants.

Because of the two drug raids, police detained a 19-year-old Edmonton man and a 43-year-old Fort McMurray man. Both men reportedly with police orders while they were being taken into custody. They have both been charged for drug possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds from criminal activity.

High-speed chase ends in numerous criminal charges

A man was handed several criminal charges after a high-speed police chase in Alberta. The incident took place on July 31 while the Saskatchewan man was traveling along Highway 16 in Vegreville at excessive speeds. After receiving several reports about the driver, the RCMP attempted unsuccessfully to conduct a traffic stop. Authorities eventually forced the driver to stop by deploying a spike belt at Elk Island Park.

When the 49-year-old man was taken into police custody, he was charged for impaired driving, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer while being pursued, stealing gas and possession of marijuana. It is unclear what quantity of marijuana the man was alleged to be in possession of.