Drugs

A conviction for a drug offence can have a serious impact on your ability to travel overseas as well as your employment prospects. The charge will depend on the amount of drug involved, and where it is a large quantity of a drug, a term of imprisonment is usually sought by police.

If you are charged with any drug offence, you should contact us immediately to discuss your options.

The team at Kingston Fox Lawyers have over 25 years of combined experience dealing with drug prosecutions in the Local Court, District Court and Supreme Court. As former prosecutors, we can quickly analyse the facts and police brief of evidence to provide you with the best advice.

Commonwealth drug offences

Drug importation offences are dealt with under the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). Trafficking and possession, where it is linked to imported drugs, are also dealt with under the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). The most common offences include:

  •  Importation of commercial or marketable quantities of drugs – section 307.1 Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and section 307.2 Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)
  • Possession of commercial or marketable quantities of drugs that have been unlawfully imported – section 307.5 Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and section 307.6 Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)
  • Importation of border controlled precursors – section 307.11 Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)

The maximum penalty for drug importation offences is 25 years imprisonment if the pure quantity of the drug is a marketable quantity, or life imprisonment if the pure quantity is a commercial quantity. The relevant quantities, as listed in the Criminal Code Regulations 2002 (Cth), for commonly prosecuted matters include:

NSW drug offences

Possession

The maximum penalty for possession of a prohibited drug is a fine of $2,200 and/or 2 years imprisonment. It is a summary offence and is dealt with in the Local Court. The prosecution must prove that you

  • knowingly had in your possession
  • a prohibited drug.


Sniffer dogs

Police often use sniffer dogs in public places like music festivals. Police are permitted to stop and search you if they suspect on reasonable grounds that you have a prohibited drug in your possession. Police officers do not require a warrant to search you at pubs and clubs where alcohol is served, at sporting events, concerts, parades and on public transport.


Deemed supply

You may be charged with supplying prohibited drugs if the quantity of the drugs is above the “traffickable quantity”. The traffickable quantity is different for each drug. A “deemed supply” is defined at section 29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) and allows the prosecution to rely on the weight of the drugs found to prove that the drugs were for supply but must still prove that the drugs were in your possession.

What this means is if you have in your possession a quantity of drug over the traffickable quantity, you will be dealt with as if that possession was for supply, unless you can satisfy the following:

  • you had it in your possession otherwise than for supply, for instance, for personal use, or
  • depending on the type of drug, it was in accordance with legal authority, such as a script from a doctor.


Supply

Supplying or knowingly taking part in the supply of prohibited drugs is an offence under section 25(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1986 (NSW). It has a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment where the offence involves less than a commercial quantity and relates to cannabis plant/leaf, or for other drugs, a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment.

Supplying or knowingly taking part in the supply of not less than a commercial quantity is an offence under section 25(2) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1986 (NSW). It has a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment where the offence relates to cannabis plant/leaf, or for other drugs, the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment. Where not less than a “large commercial quantity” is involved the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment where the offence relates to cannabis plant/leaf. In relation to other drugs, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

Most importantly, there are standard non-parole periods for many drug offences as listed in the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW). An offence under section 25(2) Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) has a standard non-parole period of 10 years for less than the large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and 15 years for not less than the large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.

The term “supply” is defined in section 3 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) and includes sell and distribute, as well as agreeing to supply, or offering to supply, or keeping or having in possession for supply, or sending, forwarding, delivering or receiving for supply, or authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of those acts or things.

The team at Kingston Fox Lawyers have over 25 years combined experience dealing with drug offences. Contact us and we will be able to quickly assess your charges, the statement of facts and the brief of evidence, to give you comprehensive advice to achieve the best outcome for you.