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Drug Offences

Drug Offences

Drug Offences are among the most serious offences in the eyes of the Criminal Law Courts. However, the penalties associated with Drug Offences vary greatly, and under the right circumstances, and with good legal representation, there is great scope for the Courts to be lenient.

Cocaine and Ecstasy Offences

Cocaine and Ecstasy offences are taken particularly seriously by the police and the courts. Cocaine is a highly addictive and damaging drug and there are severe penalties for its use, possession, supply and manufacture. Ecstasy, or MDMA (methylene-dioxymethamphetamine), is a stimulant drug often associated with festivals and parties. It is a criminal offence to possess, use or distribute both cocaine or ecstasy and these offences are taken very seriously by the police and the courts, which often issue harsh penalties.

Penalties for cocaine and ecstasy offences

In NSW, the greater the quantity of the prohibited drug in question, the harsher the penalty. The intended use of the drug is also a factor in determining guilt and penalties.

Defences for Cocaine and Ecstasy related Offences

If you are charged with an offence relating to cocaine or ecstasy (possession, use, supply, manufacture), you may have several legal options, depending on the amount of ecstasy in question. If the amount is large, it may be in your interests to plead guilty, as an acknowledgment of the seriousness of the offence may lead the court to consider your case with leniency. However, you may also be able to offer certain legal defences:

• Duress: You may have been forced to use, carry, supply or manufacture cocaine or ecstasy by another person, through threats, violence or other coercion
• Necessity: You may also have believed that to become involved with cocaine or ecstasy would have prevented another offence, or a worse offence, from happening
• Honest and reasonable mistake: You may also have been genuinely unaware that the substance in question was cocaine, ecstasy, or even a prohibited drug.

Cannabis

There are five categories of cannabis listed under section 1 of the Drug Misuse and Traffic Act 1985: cannabis leaf, cannabis plant (indoor / hydroponic), cannabis plant (other), cannabis oil and cannabis resin.

You will be charged with possession of cannabis if the quantity you are carrying is below the trafficable quantity. If it is above this, you will be charged with supply. The difference between possession and supply is that if you are carrying a large quantity of cannabis, the law presumes you are carrying it with the intention of giving it to others, which the law regards as a more serious offence than mere possession for personal use. In this case, once the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that you knowingly had in your possession an indictable quantity of cannabis, you must prove on the balance of probabilities that you in fact did not supply or intend to supply the drugs to anyone else, in order to beat the supply charge. As long as the prosecution has charged you with cannabis possession as a “backup”, you will still be liable for the offence of cannabis possession.

The table below outlines the quantities of each form of cannabis relevant to each offence category.

Trafficable quantity

Small quantity Indictable quantity Commercial quantity

Large commercial quantity

Cannabis leaf

300g

30g 1000g 25kg

100kg

Cannabis oil

5g

2g 10g 500g

2kg

Cannabis plant (indoor)

5 50 50  200
Cannabis plant (other)

5 50

250

 1000

Cannabis resin

30g 5g 90g 2.5kg

10kg

Courts and penalties – less than small quantity

Where the quantity is less than the small quantity, the matter may be dealt with in the Local Court, where the maximum penalty is 2 years’ prison and/or 50 penalty units ($5,500), unless the prosecution elects the matter to be heard in the District Court (otherwise known as a “Table 2 offence”).

Courts and penalties – small quantity

Where the quantity is more than the small quantity but less than the indictable quantity, the matter will still be dealt with in the Local Court, where the maximum penalty is 2 years’ prison and/or 100 penalty units ($11,000), unless either you or the prosecution elects the matter to be heard in the District Court (otherwise known as a “Table 1 offence”).

Courts and penalties – indictable quantity

Where the quantity is more than the indictable quantity but less than the commercial quantity, the matter must be heard in the District Court, unless the charged offence relates to cannabis plant or cannabis leaf, which are treated as a Table 1 offence. The maximum penalty in the District Court is 15 years’ jail and/or 2000 penalty units ($220,000).

Courts and penalties – commercial quantity

Where the quantity is more than the commercial quantity but less than the large commercial quantity, the matter must be heard in the District Court, where the maximum penalty is 3,500 penalty units ($385,000) and/or 20 years’ prison, or 3,500 penalty units and/or 15 years’ jail if the offence relates to cannabis leaf or cannabis plant.

Courts and penalties – large commercial quantity

Where the quantity is more than the large commercial quantity, the matter must be heard in the District Court, where the maximum penalty is 5,000 penalty units ($550,000) and/or life imprisonment, or 5,000 penalty units and/or 20 years’ prison if the offence relates to cannabis leaf or cannabis plant.

Use/Possession/Supply of Prohibited Drugs

Use and Possession of a prohibited drug are the less serious of the criminal charges associated with Prohibited Drugs, however both can attract strong penalties as the law wishes to prevent the extreme harm that drugs cause. Supply of a prohibited drug is viewed very seriously however and often attracts severe penalties with the Police often seeking the maximum penalty if the amount of drug in question large.

Penalties – Use of a Prohibited Drug

The maximum penalties for using a prohibited drug are a fine of up to $2,200 and/or 2 years imprisonment. In many cases, particularly if the amount of the drug in question was relatively small, these penalties may not be imposed, but the offender may be placed on a good behaviour bond, given a suspended sentence or required to perform community service. Drug rehabilitation programs may also be recommended.

Penalties – Possession of a Prohibited Drug

As a rule, in NSW law, the greater the quantity of the drug in question, the more harsh the penalty. The other major consideration in determining guilty and sentences is the intended use of the drugs. The intention of personal use usually attracts lesser penalties than the intention to distribute. Possession of a prohibited drug carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $2,200 and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Penalties – Prohibited Drug Supply

• Less than a small quantity: $5,500 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
• Less than an indictable quantity: $11,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
• Less than a commercial quantity – cannabis leaf or plant, where defined as a summary offence (ie. a small amount of drug is involved): $11,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
• Less than a commercial quantity – cannabis leaf or plant: $22,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment.
• Less than a commercial quantity: $22,000 and/or 15 years imprisonment.
• Of a commercial quantity – cannabis leaf of plant: $385,000 and/or 15 years imprisonment.
• Of a commercial quantity: $385,000 and/or 20 years imprisonment.
• Of a large commercial quantity – cannabis leaf or plant: $550,000 and/or 20 years imprisonment.
• Of a large commercial quantity: $550,000 and/or life imprisonment.

Defences

If you have been charged with use, possession or supply of a prohibited drug, there may be some

legal defences open to you. These include:
• Duress: You may have been forced to use, possess or supply a prohibited drug by another person’s threats, violence or other coercion.
• Honest and reasonable mistake: You also may not have been aware that the substance you were taking was a prohibited drug.
In cases where more than one person has been alleged to have used, possessed or supplied the prohibited drugs, you may be able to prove that you were not one of them, but that the police made certain assumptions on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

In some cases, it may be in your interests to plead guilty, as an acknowledgement of the charges by you may lead the court to make lenient decisions.

Cultivating a Prohibited Plant/Manufacturing a Prohibited Drug

Cultivating a prohibited plant and manufacturing a prohibited drug are both serious charges. The former relates to the growing or maintaining of a prohibited plant in any place that is under your control. The latter is one of the most serious drug related charges. It applies to any person involved at any point in the manufacturing process.

Penalties – Cultivating a Prohibited Plant

The penalties for cultivating a prohibited plant can be very severe, as in some circumstances the charge may equate to the early stages of manufacturing prohibited drugs. The penalties can range from fines of $5,500 to between 2 and 20 years imprisonment.

Penalties – Manufacturing a Prohibited Drug

The penalties for being found guilty of manufacturing a prohibited drug are among the most severe for all drug charges. As in all NSW drug cases, the severity of the penalty depends on the quantity of prohibited drugs involved. The greater the quantity, the harsher the penalty.

Penalties for manufacturing a prohibited drug can include from fines ranging between $5,500 and $550,000 and/or imprisonment for between 2 years and life.

Defences

legal defences open to you. These include:
• Duress: You may have been forced to use, possess or supply a prohibited drug by another person’s threats, violence or other coercion.
• Honest and reasonable mistake: You also may not have been aware that the substance you were taking was a prohibited drug.
In cases where more than one person has been alleged to have used, possessed or supplied the prohibited drugs, you may be able to prove that you were not one of them, but that the police made certain assumptions on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

In some cases, it may be in your interests to plead guilty, as an acknowledgement of the charges by you may lead the court to make lenient decisions.

Penalties

In NSW, the larger the quantity of drug involved in an offence, the more serious the penalty. This rule is set out within the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW). The intent of the offender is also an important consideration when determining the guilt of the accused charged with an offence.

If you are charged with an offence, the court will consider a variety of matters in order to determine your sentence. Depending on the nature of the offence, it is very rare that you will receive a maximum penalty, especially if it is a first-time offence. However maximum penalties can be used as a guide, to indicate the seriousness of the offence.

Maximum penalties for drug-related offences range from two years imprisonment and/or fines of $2,200 to life imprisonment and/or fines of up to $550,000 and forfeiture of assets. The type of drug, along with the quantity, is also an important consideration in sentencing. For example, lower penalties exist in situations where the drug in question is cannabis.

Possession of a prohibited drug

$2,200 and/or 2 years imprisonment
An offence with respect to prohibited plants: from $5,500 and/or 2 years, to $55,000 and/or 20 years.
Manufacture and production of prohibited drug: from 50 pu (per unit) and/or 2 years, to 5000 pu and/or life imprisonment.
Possession of precursors (ie. the basic materials) intended for use in the manufacture or production of a prohibited drug: from 100 pu and/or 2 years, to 2000 pu and/or 10 years.

Supply of a prohibited drug

• Less than a small quantity: $5,500 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
• Less than an indictable quantity: $11,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
• Less than a commercial quantity – cannabis leaf or plant, where defined as a summary offence (ie. a small amount of drug is involved): $11,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
• Less than a commercial quantity – cannabis leaf or plant: $22,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment.
• Less than a commercial quantity: $22,000 and/or 15 years imprisonment.
• Of a commercial quantity – cannabis leaf of plant: $385,000 and/or 15 years imprisonment.
• Of a commercial quantity: $385,000 and/or 20 years imprisonment.
• Of a large commercial quantity – cannabis leaf or plant: $550,000 and/or 20 years imprisonment.
• Of a large commercial quantity: $550,000 and/or life imprisonment.
• Importation of a prohibited drug
• Of a commercial quantity: life imprisonment.
• Of a trafficable quantity where you have a previous conviction: life imprisonment.
• Of a trafficable quantity: $100,000 and/or 25 years imprisonment.
• Of a trafficable quantity of cannabis: $4,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment.
• Of a trafficable quantity but where you’re not for dealing: $2,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
• Of less than a trafficable quantity: $2,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment.

The quantities are grouped into categories: discrete dosage unit, small, trafficable, indictable, commercial and large commercial. The amounts of the drug that fit into each category vary from drug to drug. Generally, heroin and cocaine attract the more serious sentences. Amphetamines such as speed and ecstasy attract mid-range sentences, and cannabis low range. Large amounts of low and mid-range drugs can still, however, attract significant penalties.

To determine what drug offence(s) you have been charged with, and the amount of drugs the police consider are involved, you can refer to either the charge sheet or the notice to appear, one of which the arresting officer will have given you.

If you have been charged with a drug offence, there are a number of ways you can proceed. It may be possible to have your charge withdrawn or reduced by the Police by way of representations. It may be an option to defend your matter in Court, or it may be in your best interests to plead guilty.

How can Sydney Criminal Defence Lawyers help?

Our Criminal Lawyers will carefully consider your case, advise you on all your legal options, and recommend the best way forward.

Call us now on 02 8059 7121 or contact us after hours on 0420 998 650 or text 24hrs to book an appointment with one of our solicitors.

The initial consultation is free.

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drug offence defence lawyer

Our team of experienced drug lawyers understands the stress of drug charges and will work relentlessly to obtain the very best outcome through proven trial strategies. Whether for possession, supply or commercial drug crimes, we have a record of getting cases dismissed or minimised with diversion programs.

How can Daoud Legal: Sydney Criminal Defence & Traffic Lawyers help?

Our criminal defence lawyers will carefully consider your drug case, advise you on all your legal options, and recommend the best way forward.

Call us now on 1300 885 646 or text 0420 998 650 24hrs to book a free consultation with one of our lawyers.

Drug Lawyers in Sydney: Uncompromising Expertise, Unwavering Advocacy

When facing drug charges in Sydney, securing the best drug defence lawyers is crucial. At Daoud Legal: Sydney Criminal Defence & Traffic Lawyers, our team of specialist drug lawyers in Sydney offers unparalleled legal representation for all types of drug-related criminal offences under the criminal code.

Defending Against Drug Possession Charges with Tenacity

Our experienced drug defence lawyers in Sydney, NSW have an impressive track record of success in defending clients charged with drug possession, from small quantities of a prohibited drug to large-scale possession cases. We understand the nuances of drug law and leverage our expertise to get the best possible outcome, whether it's avoiding a criminal record or minimizing penalties.

Vigorous Defence for Serious Drug Offences

From drug driving to commercial drug supply and manufacture, our senior criminal defence lawyers have extensive experience handling the most serious and complex drug cases. We meticulously examine every aspect of your case, challenging evidence and aggressively defending your rights to achieve the best defence against serious drug charges.

Unmatched Expertise in High-Stakes Drug Importation Cases

Our criminal law firm in Australia is renowned for our success in defending clients charged with commercial drug importation, including cases involving Australia's largest ever drug seizures. With our in-depth knowledge of the law, we develop strategic defences to protect your future.

Tailored Strategies for Optimal Outcomes

We understand that every drug case is unique, which is why our accredited criminal law specialists take a personalised approach. Whether you're facing charges for possessing a prohibited drug, an offence such as drug possession and small drug supply, or more serious allegations, we craft tailored strategies to maximise your chances of success.

Sydney CBD Office, Serving All of New South Wales

Based in Sydney's CBD, our specialist drug defence team appears in courts across New South Wales, leveraging our extensive experience in drug law to win drug cases and secure the best defence for our clients. With a practice solely focused on criminal law, we stay at the forefront of legal developments to provide unmatched representation.

If you or a loved one is facing drug charges, don't risk your future. Contact Daoud Legal: Sydney Criminal Defence & Traffic Lawyers today and let our team of experienced drug lawyers Sydney fight tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome and protect your rights.

Why Daoud Legal is Sydney's First Choice for Drug Defence

Decades of Specialised Drug Law Experience

With decades of combined experience exclusively practicing in the area of drug law, our lawyers have insider knowledge that general criminal defence firms simply cannot match. We have witnessed first-hand how drug laws and enforcement tactics have evolved, allowing us to anticipate prosecution strategies and develop innovative defences.

A Singular Focus on Achieving the Best Possible Outcome

From the moment you become our client, our entire team is laser - focused on a single goal – achieving the best possible outcome for your drug case. We leave no stone unturned, exploring every possible angle and defence strategy to protect your rights, reputation and future.

Client-Centered Representation

We understand that facing drug charges isan incredibly stressful and uncertain time. That's why we make it a toppriority to provide compassionate guidance and open communication every step ofthe way. Your questions are always welcomed, and we ensure you understand allyour options to make fully informed decisions.

Respected by Peers and Former Clients

Our firm's stellar reputation is built on a foundation of proven results and exceptional client service. We are widely respected among our peers in the legal community for our skilled advocacy and unwavering commitment to justice. Our many positive reviews from former clients speak volumes about the level of attention and care we provide.

Taking the First Step Towards Your Defence

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a drug offence, don't delay in taking action. The sooner you have our team's expertise in your corner, the better we can protect your rights and interests. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to discuss your legal situation and options moving forward.

FAQs About Drug Charges & Offences

What is the role of a drug lawyer in Sydney?

A drug lawyer in Sydney specialises in representing individuals facing drug offences in New South Wales. They provide legal defence to those charged with offenses such as drug possession, prohibited drug offenses, drug supply, and other related criminal law matters

How can a drug lawyer help in a drug possession case?

A skilled Sydney criminal lawyer and drug lawyer in Sydney can analyse the details of the drug possession charges, assess the evidence, and build a strong defence strategy to protect your rights. They will work towards minimizing penalties and achieving the best possible outcome for your drug case.

What are the consequences of a drug offence conviction in NSW?

Being convicted of a drug offence in New South Wales can have serious implications, including a criminal conviction on your record, potential penalties such as fines or imprisonment, and long-term consequences on your personal and professional life.

How do I choose the best drug defence lawyer in Sydney?

When seeking legal representation for a drug charge, consider factors such as the experience of the criminal defence lawyer, their track record in handling drug cases, their knowledge of the NSW legal system, and their commitment to providing the best possible defence for your case.

Can a drug lawyer assist in cases of drug supply or drug trafficking?

Yes, a specialised drug lawyer in Sydney can offer legal representation for cases involving drug supply, commercial drug offenses, drug importation, and other serious drug charges. They will work tirelessly to defend your rights and achieve the most favourable outcome

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Drug Offences

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