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Legal > Criminal Law & Criminal Offences

Drug Offences:

Overview FAQs Articles Locations

There are a number of drug offences under the legislation with various maximum penalties. If you are facing drug charges, you should contact a Criminal Lawyer immediately. Even if you are caught with possession of 1 gram of cocaine, you could be facing a significant penalty. Our Criminal Lawyers specialise in drug charges and have extensive experience in a range of drug offences. Their familiarity with the Court system makes them experts in ensuring the appropriate outcome is obtained for you.  We have handled a broad range of criminal drug offence matters and are regularly in Court representing clients with criminal charges and criminal matters.

Drug Offences under the Act

There is separate legislation for drug offences, the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW). This Act contains a range of different offences and covers an entire spectrum of offences related to drugs.

Examples of drug offences include the following:

  • Possession of prohibited drug;
  • Possession and supply of prohibited drug;
  • Possession of equipment for administration of drugs;
  • Supply of prohibited drug to a child under 16;
  • Allowing use of premises as drug premises; and
  • Manufacture and production of prohibited drug.

Under the legislation, the definition of prohibited drug is any substance other than a prohibited plant under Schedule 1 of the Act. Schedule 1 of the Act includes a list of the various different prohibited drugs including Acetorphine, Cocaine, Cyclobarbitone, Heroin and Opium.

Penalties for Drug Offences

The penalties for drug offences vary according to whether the offence is a summary offence (less serious) or an indictable offence (more serious) and depend largely on the quantity of the drug and/or extent of any manufacturing or administrating equipment found. In terms of possession of drugs, the legislation breaks down quantities into different categories for clarity.

The categories (from lower penalties to higher penalties) are as follows:

  • Small quantity;
  • Traffickable quantity;
  • Indictable quantity;
  • Commercial quantity; and
  • Large commercial quantity.

The weight of drugs to satisfy each category varies according to the type of drug. For instance, with cocaine, the following weights apply:

  • Small quantity is 1 gram;
  • Traffickable quantity is 3 grams;
  • Indictable quantity is 5 grams;
  • Commercial quantity is 250 grams; and
  • Large commercial quantity is 1 kilogram.

In applying the categories, the Court looks at the weight of drugs found. If a person was found in possession of 240 grams of cocaine, the Court would consider that to be an indictable quantity not a commercial quantity. Although 240 grams is closer to 250 grams, the legislation only defines a commercial quantity to be a quantity of 250 grams or more.

The maximum penalties for drug offences include the following:

  • Summary offences: fine of twenty (20) penalty units or two (2) years imprisonment or both; and
  • Indictable offences that do not involve a commercial quantity: if involving cannabis plant or cannabis leaf, a fine of 2,000 penalty units or ten (10) years imprisonment or both and for all other offences a fine of 2,000 penalty units or fifteen (15) years imprisonment or both; and
  • Other penalties.

To understand the potential penalties for your offence or your offences, you should obtain immediate legal advice from a criminal lawyer. By obtaining legal advice, you will be able to understand the possible outcome of your charge or charges and consequences if you plead guilty or not guilty.

Available defences

There are a number of defences available if you wish to plead not guilty. The appropriate defence (if applicable) will depend on the circumstances of the case.

Available defences for drug offences include:

  • Duress;
  • Self Defence; and
  • Necessity.

For further information on the details of the defences, please refer to the “Defences to Criminal Charges” section of our website. 

The Criminal Lawyers at Navado Lawyers & Solicitors are highly trained and qualified to advise and represent clients in drug matters. Our drug lawyers attend all Courts in Sydney and have obtained exceptional outcomes for their clients. If you are being charged with a drug offence, speak to one of our competent Criminal Lawyers today – the first consultation is free.  You can meet with us in our Sydney Office or in one of our branch offices. 

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This webpage (and any material or wording appearing on this webpage) is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute any Legal Advice. It does not take into account your objectives, your instructions or all of the relevant facts and/or circumstances. Navado accepts no responsibility to any person who relies on the information provided on this website. We further refer you to our Disclaimer.

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If you require assistance with a Criminal matter, you should make an appointment to see one of our Lawyers in one of the following locations:

  • Sydney
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