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Viewing entries posted in September 2015
Following an investigation by the Calgary Police Service Guns and Gangs Unit and the Gang Enforcement and Gang Suppression teams, three young Calgary residents have been charged with a series of drug and weapons offences.
Two of the three young men accused of these gang-related crimes are 19 years old, and the third was only twenty.
Charges for the simple possession of controlled substances—drugs—remain among some of the most common criminal charges brought against Calgary citizens. The possession of marijuana, cocaine, pharmaceuticals without a proper prescription, and other substances on the various schedules of controlled substances can lead to both summary conviction offences and indictable offences, depending on the amounts involved and other circumstances, and both types of offences can mean a major disruption to your life.
This is the second installment of a two-part article on what to do when you've been charged with an assault in Calgary. You can read Part 1 here.
Being charged with a criminal assault in Calgary is all too easy. Knowing what to do when you've been charged is harder. In the first part of this article, I gave you three important pieces of advice if and when you find yourself facing an assault charge:
A recent editorial in the Calgary Sun blames the lack of a permanent police chief for the Calgary Police Service for the increase in gang activity and violence the city has witnessed recently.
Rick Hanson, who held the position as the person in charge of the Calgary Police Service until he left six months ago, has helped to fuel this sentiment with certain statements made to the press.
Whether it's in your house, in your pocket, or even in a friend's backpack that was left in your car, if there are drugs or other controlled substances in what the Calgary Police consider your possession, you can be charged with a criminal drug offence. Drug charges remain among the most common criminal offences brought before the Calgary courts, and are an even more common cause for arrests by the Calgary Police.
I've posted several articles on this site detailing just how broad the assault law in force in Calgary is, and just how easy it is to find yourself caught up in a criminal assault case without even knowing you were breaking the law. Any force applied to a person or physical contact with a person that occurs without their consent can lead to an assault charge; even a simple gesture or statement that is interpreted as a credible threat of violence equals the same criminal charge.
Calgary's most recent shooting, which left a female victim dead and a male victim missing and presumed in hiding, does not appear to be gang related according to Calgary Police.
The shooting was not random, however, and one or both of the victims appears to have been the specific target of this violence. As the investigation—including the search for the male victim—is still ongoing, Calgary Police have not issued any further details regarding the potential motive for the shooting.
I've written before about the broad license Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies have when it comes to detecting and investigating cases of impaired driving. From setting up DUI checkpoints—stations along Calgary's streets where they stop all drivers, without any probable cause, and administer sobriety tests—to being legally entitled to ask drivers stopped for other alleged infractions to perform roadside sobriety tests and/or submit to breathalyzer analysis, the ability for law enforcement to investigate a potential DUI is more extensive than their ability to investigate many other crimes.
Speeding, jaywalking, even littering (my least favorite)—there are plenty of examples of "breaking the law" that even the most law-abiding Calgary citizen has been guilty of at one time or another.
When Calgary Police witness or receive reports of these infractions, people don't end up charged with criminal offences. There may be administrative penalties such as fines or a ticket that requires an appearance in a Calgary court, though many times people are let off with a simple warning and a reminder that the rules are in place to keep our city a safe, secure, and sparkling-clean place for everyone in it. These minor transgressions, which often don't "feel" like they're against the law, aren't seen as a cause for serious concern in most cases, by law enforcement or by criminal justice officials.
In what appears to be a direct carryover of the gang violence Calgary was witness to in the previous decade, a man with long-suspected ties to several criminal organizations was shot in front of his Arbour Lake home in Calgary on Thursday, August 27.
Alberta's impaired driving or "DUI" laws are tough, as you know if you've read any of the previous information I've shared on the subject. Drivers in the Greater Calgary Area and throughout the province face administrative penalties for driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over .05, and can face criminal DUI charges for getting behind the wheel with a BAC over .08.
A criminal assault charge can arise in Calgary from a variety of circumstances. Domestic conflicts, sports debates that get a little more heated than you intended, even a gesture of intimidation that you didn't intend—the way the law is written, it is easy to stumble into an assault charge practically anywhere. You can even find yourself facing criminal charges simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, such as when a fight breaks out at a nearby table in a Calgary bar, or when another's violence requires you to defend yourself.
Assault is a broadly defined crime in Calgary and throughout Canada, encompassing all unwanted touching and even including threats of violence, physical intimidation without physical contact, and in some scenarios simply carrying a weapon in a manner that could be perceived as a threat. There are certain circumstances, however, that can result in more specific assault charges, often leading to harsher penalties and a substantially increased risk of serious interruption to your life if you are convicted.
News outlets have been stirring up fears in relation to the spike in gun violence Calgary has been experiencing recently, but in fact this violence has had no real impact for the vast majority of Calgarians.
Shootings in Calgary, both recently and historically, have been largely limited to inter-gang violence, where gangs specifically target rival gang members, frequently in "turf wars" surrounding the illegal drug trade.
Driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs is a bad idea for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the extreme risk it creates for you, your passengers, and anyone else on Calgary roads. Though many feel they are capable of driving while intoxicated, this feeling is itself a symptom of intoxication: overestimating one's capabilities and underestimating risks are hallmarks of being drunk or being intoxicated by a number of other substances.