Drug offences can often result in some hefty penalties.

These drug penalties can be financial or lead to jail time. Often, these cases will require a Sydney based drug-related lawyer in order to get you the best result.

It’s important to understand the consequences of drug offences and the varying degrees of offences.

Various drug offences only call for small penalties and in some cases result in being handed a Section 10 which finds the person guilty but they receive no conviction. However, this is dependent on previous records and character. Some offences, however, can be as serious as 10 years imprisonment and in extreme cases, life.

The importance of a good criminal lawyer in a drug-related case is high. Australian Criminal Defence can aid with all drug cases including;

  • Manufacturing and production of prohibited drugs
  • Cultivation of cannabis
  • Possession of a prohibited drug or drugs
  • Supplying prohibited drugs
  • Importation and/or exportation of prohibited drugs

All of these cases differ in severity and punishment and the extent to which you are involved in the offence will also have a significant influence on the legal proceedings.

There are often ways that you can reduce your pending sentence based on your level of involvement, the amount of the drug that has been found, the type of drug found and whether or not it is seen to be a long term operation or not.

Being convicted of a drug offence can have serious ramifications including limited employment opportunities and the inability to travel overseas. Our drugs lawyers can assist you at every step of the way of your criminal proceedings, whether it’s helping you avoid a criminal conviction or avoid prison time for the more serious offences.

Australian Criminal Defence is an experienced team of drug lawyers who specialise in state offences dealt with under the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) and Commonwealth offences under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

Drug possession

Possession means at the relevant time, you have control over the object in question. You may have this control alone or jointly with some other person or persons. You and those persons (if any) must have the right to exclude other people from it.

It is not necessary for you to have something in your hand, pocket, wallet or purse before the law says that you have it in your possession. Further, you do not need to own something in order to possess it.

A person can be charged with a drug possession offence simply by knowingly having a prohibited drug under their control, even if they are not using the drug. Possessing a prohibited drug carries a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units and/or two years imprisonment.

Self-administering prohibited drug

If a person smokes, injects or ingests drugs, they can be charged with Self-administering a prohibited drug. To be convicted of this offence the police must prove that the person took the prohibited drug. The maximum penalty is 20 penalty units and/or two years imprisonment.

Supplying prohibited drug

If a person gives or sells a prohibited drug to another person, they can be charged with supply. Section 3 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act define “supply” as:

“supply” includes sell and distribute, and also includes 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.

There does not need to be any financial gain for a charge of supply to be proven. You could be found guilty of supply if you purchase drugs on behalf of your friends or even help a drug dealer package the drugs, Charges of supplying a drug can attract very severe penalties.

The Maximum Penalties for the supply of drug offences include

Drug Type

Small Quantity

Indictable Quantity

Commercial Quantity

Large Commercial Quantity

MDMA

0.25 grams

2 years imprisonment if dealt with in local court

1.25 grams

15 years imprisonment

125 grams

20 years imprisonment

500 grams

Life imprisonment

Amphetamines

1 gram

2 years imprisonment if dealt with in local court

5 grams

15 years imprisonment

250 grams

20 years imprisonment

1 kg

Life imprisonment

Cocaine

1 gram

2 years imprisonment if dealt with in local court

5 grams

15 years imprisonment

250 grams

20 years imprisonment

1 kg

Life imprisonment

Heroin

1 gram

2 years imprisonment if dealt with in local court

5 grams

15 years imprisonment

250 grams

20 years imprisonment

1 kg

Life imprisonment

Cannabis

30 grams

2 years imprisonment if dealt with in local court

1kg

15 years imprisonment

25 kg

20 years imprisonment

100 kg

Life imprisonment

Deemed supply of a prohibited drug

A person can be charged with the deemed supply of a drug if they possess a quantity of a drug that is above the ‘trafficable quantity’ of that drug. In such a case, the legislation deems the person to be in possession of the drug for supply.  In some cases, a deemed supply charge can be defended by arguing that the drugs were in the person’s possession for personal use or another reason other than supply. In some cases, the charge can be negotiated to the less serious charge of possession prior to a defended hearing or jury trial.

Ongoing supply of a prohibited drug

A person who, on three or more separate occasions during any period of 30 consecutive days, supplies a prohibited drug (other than cannabis) for financial or material reward commits an offence of ongoing supply. The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 20 years and/or 3500 penalty units.

Cultivation or Manufacturing prohibited drug

A person can be charged with an offence if they cultivate a prohibited drug (such as cannabis) or manufacture a prohibited drug. Cultivation or manufacturing a prohibited drug is a very serious offence in New South Wales, with the penalties ranging from a fine up to life imprisonment. To manufacture, produce, or knowingly to take part in the manufacture or production of not less than the commercial quantity of a prohibited drug is an offence that carries a penalty of 20 years. Where not less than a “large commercial quantity” is involved, the penalty is life imprisonment.

Allowing Use of Premises as a Drug Premises

The offence is committed if an owner or occupier of any premises allows it to be used as a drug premises. The maximum penalty for a first offence is 12 months imprisonment.

Importing prohibited drug

If you bring a prohibited drug into Australia you can be charged with a Commonwealth offence of importing a prohibited drug, even if it is a very small quantity.

Importation offences fall into four categories including:

  • Importing and exporting commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs or border controlled plants
  • Importing and exporting marketable quantities of border-controlled drugs or border controlled plants
  • Importing and exporting border controlled drugs or border controlled plants
  • Importing and exporting border-controlled drugs or border controlled plants—no defence relating to lack of commercial intent 

The following table outlines the different drug weight categories, what is deemed “commercial quantity” or “marketable quantity” and what is the maximum penalties. The penalty for Less than a marketable quantity is 10 years imprisonment and/or a $220,000 fine  

Drug

Marketable Quantity

Commercial Quantity

Cocaine

2 grams

25 years’ imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine

2 kilograms

Life imprisonment and/or $825,000 fine 

Heroin

2 grams

25 years’ imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine

1.5 kilograms

Life imprisonment and/or $825,000 fine 

MDMA (ecstasy)

0.5 grams

25 years’ imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine

0.5 kilograms

Life imprisonment and/or $825,000 fine 

Cannabis

25,000 grams

25 years’ imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine

100 kilograms

Life imprisonment and/or $825,000 fine 

Methamphetamine

2 grams

25 years’ imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine

0.75 kilograms

Life imprisonment and/or $825,000 fine 

Why choose Australian Criminal Defence?

Our team of lawyers include specialist drug lawyers who deal with the most serious of drug importation matters and have secured unlikely acquittals in a range of matter including commercial supply and importation matters. Together with our select team of barristers and forensic experts, we work as a team, drawing on decades of criminal law experience to successfully defend drug offences.

So whether you are facing a minor offence such as drug possession arising from a music festival and are hoping to avoid a criminal conviction or facing a more serious charge like commercial drug supply, contact the experienced team at Australian Criminal Defence to give you the best chance of successfully defending your charges.

Drug Defence Case Studies

  • No conviction was recorded for a client charged with possession of 3 grams MDMA and 1 gram of cocaine.
  • No conviction was recorded for a client charged with possession of 11 ecstasy pills.
  • No conviction was recorded for a client charged with possession of 88 ecstasy pills.
  • No conviction was recorded for a client charged with the supply of 7 grams of cocaine.
  • Not Guilty at hearing for a client charged with the supply of 4 grams of MDMA.
  • No conviction was recorded for a client charged with the supply of 11 grams of cocaine.
  • Not Guilty at trial for a client charged with 2 counts of commercial supply and possession of a prohibited firearm.
  • Not Guilty at trial for a client charged with Supplying 180 grams of Cocaine.
  • Not Guilty at Trial for a client charged importation of 13 kilograms of methamphetamine.
  • 2 years and 10 months imprisonment with an 18-month non-parole period (released in 18 months) for a client charged with supplying 110 kilograms of cannabis.
  • 6 years and 9 months imprisonment with a 4-year non-parole period (released in 4 years) for a client charged with importing 5 kilograms of cocaine and dealing with $1.1 million dollars in proceeds of crime.
  • 2 years and 9 months imprisonment with an 18-month non-parole period (released in 18 months) for a client charged ongoing supplies of 100s of grams of methamphetamine and $9,000 in proceeds of crime.
  • 2 years and 6 months imprisonment with a 14-month non-parole period (released in 14 months) for a client charged with a commercial supply of 380 grams of MDMA and with $11,000 in proceeds of crime.
  • 4 years and 10 months imprisonment with a 2 year 10-month non-parole period (released in 2 years 10 months) for a client charged with importing 4.7 kilograms of cocaine.
  • 8 years and 6 months imprisonment with a 5-year non-parole period (released in 5 years) for a client charged with importing 23 kilograms of cocaine and 900 grams of MDMA.

So whether you are caught with a couple of ecstasy tablets at a dance party or charged with commercial drug importation or supply of a prohibited drug, call Australian Criminal Defence today on 0415 932 866 to get the best drug defence lawyers working for you.

We often win drug cases after clients have seen other Sydney criminal lawyers who have advised them to take the easy path and plead guilty. But through our in-depth experience of past drug matters and cases, knowledge of the law, fastidious case preparation, taking the front foot in building your defence cases you can rest a bit easier knowing you have some amazing lawyers backing you up.

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