Four things to consider if you've been charged with drug possession
So, you’ve been charged with drug possession? The courts view drug possession charges very seriously, so you can’t write it off like it didn’t happen. If you are caught with drugs by a police officer, they can either issue you with an on the spot fine of $400 or a court attendance notice to attend court on a later date. It’s really important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. With that in mind, we have put together four things to consider if you have been charged with a drug possession offence:
1. Talk to a Lawyer
We can’t stress this point enough. You’re under no obligation to tell police anything except your name and address. You do not have to take part in a record of interview (for more information about interviews with the police, click here). It is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer before making a decision about doing an interview and before having to attend court. The team at Kingston Fox Lawyers are friendly and experienced lawyers and we will be able to advise you of all your legal rights, the options available to you as a result of the charge/s, and the best way to approach your defence.
2. Even if you haven’t taken a drug, you can be charged
Mere possession of a drug is illegal. Possession doesn’t necessarily mean that the drugs are on your person. If a drug is found in your car, for example, you could still be charged with possession. Even momentary possession can be offence. The maximum penalty for drug possession in NSW is up to two years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,200. Any penalty imposed on you will depend on the circumstances of your matter and your personal circumstances.
3. You can defend the charge
There are a few reasons why you might want to defend your drug possession charge. This will depend on the circumstances of your matter and what the evidence is against you. It is important to obtain legal advice because there might be a legal reason why the police evidence cannot be used against you, for instance, if the drug wasfound as a result of an unlawful search by the police. It is important to talk to a lawyer about a defence if you believe you are not guilty of the charge.
4. You may be able to avoid a conviction
If you enter a plea of guilty to a drug possession charge, the court might be persuaded to impose a non-conviction order on you. This means that despite being found guilty, no conviction will be recorded on your criminal record. There are a number of factors that the courts take into account when imposing a sentence and no guarantees can be given about the penalty the court will ultimately impose. To increase the chances of a favourable sentencing outcome, there are several steps you can take, including:
Character references – to demonstrate that you are a good person and your actions in this instance were out of character (see more information here).
Letter of apology – to apologise to the court and show remorse for your actions.
Enrolling in drug counselling or rehab – to demonstrate your attempt to resolve any drug or alcohol-related issues
Entering an early guilty plea – you are entitled to a discount on sentence when you enter an early plea.
If you find yourself overwhelmed and in need of comprehensive advice regarding your drug possession charge, the team at Kingston Fox Lawyers are here to help. Our friendly team have extensive experience in criminal law and we are committed to obtaining the best outcome for your case. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 0455 039 660 and 0455 039 707.
This information is provided as a general guide only and does not constitute legal advice.