Drug Offences

Drug Lawyers Sydney NSW: Drug Offence Lawyer

Being caught or charged with a prohibited drug offence can be a stressful experience.  You may not be aware of the process or the severity of the charges.

Why Hire a Drug Defence Lawyer?

It’s always advisable to contact a drug defense lawyer so that you have the all the facts you need to get the best outcome for you.  Our team of Sydney criminal lawyers will accurately advise you on your options and provide you with the best defense and way to move forward and what the likely outcome will be. If you are pleading guilty to small possession we will advise you on how to fight the charges in local court for a section 10 (Which means you will avoid a criminal record). If you wish to plead not guilty, we will work hard to have your charges reduced or withdrawn altogether. Legal aid from drug lawyer Sydney can get cases dropped by writing to the prosecution and highlighting the inconsistencies or deficiencies in their case.  Advising on defenses available and pushing for withdrawal. With some of the highest acquittal rates we will help keep your record clean.

Possess Prohibited Drug in NSW

The maximum penalty if you possess prohibited drugs in NSW is 2 years imprisonment and a $2,200 fine.  Although this is the most minor form of criminal offence in relation to drugs, it is still treated as a very serious matter by the local court in Sydney and a criminal conviction is likely. A good drug defense lawyer can push to avoid this as well as a record if you wish to plead guilty. This is a common charge for people who use drugs at music festivals.

Drugs on Premises

This refers to being charged with allowing a place to be used as a drug premises.

The maximum penalty for a first time offence is 12 months imprisonment and a $5,500 fine. The definition of premises includes: structure, building, aircraft, vehicle or place (whether built upon or not) Premises refers to the:

  • Unlawful supply or manufacture of drugs
  • Unlawful commercial cultivation of prohibited plants by enhanced indoor means

Getting Charges Dropped

There are a few ways you can get the charges against you dropped.  A common way is where the police have performed an illegal search.

Illegal Searches

The police are not allowed to just randomly search individual or vehicles. If they find drugs this way it may be “thrown out of court” later.  This is because the law states that the police can only search an individual or vehicle if they have suspicion “on reasonable grounds” that drugs are on that person or in that vehicle at the particular time before the search has been conducted. If you have been searched illegally contact a lawyer immediately.

What does “Suspicion on Reasonable Grounds” mean?

There are 3 elements that the local court will look at to determine this:

  1. A reasonable suspicion requires that it is less than a reasonable belief but more than a possibility that drugs were present at the particular time.
  2. A reasonable suspicion is not arbitrary. Some factual basis for the suspicion must be shown
  3. The source of the officers information and its content must be assessed in light of all surrounding circumstances

Drug Offense Situations where the “reasonable suspicion” is not sufficient:

  • Where Sydney police decide to search someone because they look nervous in a known drug area
  • Where a person is stopped for a random breath or mobile drug test and appears nervous or agitated
  • Searching someone just because the person they are accompanying has previously been convicted of drug offences
  • Any random or arbitrary search

If police do not have a “reasonable suspicion” and conduct a search anyway, this could result in the case being withdrawn.  If the police decide they will fight it in local court then it may be dismissed and costs are awarded to you. The law under s138 of the Evidence Act prevents the local court to admit illegally or improperly obtained evidence.  Prohibited Drug lawyers can help you identify these instances for you and preventing that evidence from getting admitted will give you the best chance for your case and getting your drug charges dropped.

Drug offense situations where there may be a “reasonable suspicion”:

  • Police observed what appears to be a drug transaction
  • Police have received a report of recent drug activity which includes a detailed description and matches the suspected person or vehicle to be searched
  • A persons actions and demeanor are highly suggestive of possession i.e. person is observed to discard an object of purposely conceal an object.

Drug Trafficking Sydney

Drug trafficking is a broad term that is used for the supplying of prohibited substances.  The term itself is not a charge but rather a general term that refers to other charges, including commercial supply, production, manufacture, cultivation as well as participation in these activities.

Drug Supply

Prohibited drug supply refers broadly to situations where the sale or distributions of illegal drugs has taken place.  This includes storing them for later distribution, sending them in the post, such as online drug dealing, or delivering them in person.  It also includes giving them away to people for free.

Penalties for Drug Supply Offences in Sydney/Parramatta

Here is a table that summarizes the how drug related criminal offences are categorized in terms of how they are treated with regard to the quantities.

 Small quantityTrafficable quantityIndictable quantityCommercial Quantity
Cannabis Leaf30 grams300 grams1000 grams25kg
Ecstasy0.8 grams3 grams5 grams250 grams
Cocaine/ Heroin/ Amphetamine1 gram3 grams5 grams250 grams

Supply prohibited drug can be broken down into 2 main categories

“Deemed” Drug Supply

“Deemed supply” means that you have been caught with a trafficable amount of drugs.  The Police may automatically assume you have been involved in the supply or trafficking if you have been caught with a trafficable amount.

Drug Supply on “Ongoing Basis”

If one supplies a prohibited drug substance more than 3 times a month used for purpose of financial or material gain it is considered drug supply on an ongoing basis.  This does not include the supply of cannabis, only more serious drugs. This is one of the most serious criminal offences with a maximum penalty of 20 years.

Drug Manufacture

Manufacture involves preparing, producing or manufacturing illegal drugs such as cocaine for example.  This also includes any participation in the process of which those drugs were made.  The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years.

Cultivate Prohibited Plant (Cannabis)

Cultivation refers to the growing and maintenance of illegal plants.  The most common example is growing cannabis in your home.  The maximum penalty for prohibited drug offences like this is 10 years.  If it is for commercial purposes then 15 years.

Importation and possession of Border Controlled Drug

This refers to the importation or possession of an unlawful border controlled drug or prohibited drug.  The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment. If the importing or exporting is of a marketable quantity of that drug or plant the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.  For commercial quantities the maximum penalty is life imprisonment

Commercial Trials

This occurs when you are charged with a commercial quantity of drugs.  Generally this charge is laid in situation where a person traffics or attempts to traffic drugs with intent. Commercial quantity and trafficking charges are very serious and you should seek advice from our experienced drug lawyers to determine the best way to defend your case.

Rehabilitation Programs

If you are charged with a drug offence the court offers some options for you to enter into programs to help you in the rehabilitation proves.  Participation in these programs may also help your lawyer get a more lenient sentence for you.

MERIT Drug Program

If you have been charged with a drug offence the MERIT Program can be an option for you.  MERIT stands for Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment.  Merit is run by courts and helps people break their addictive cycle with drugs and seeks to rehabilitate them. You can apply for this program if you are an adult who is eligible for bail and voluntarily agrees to participate.  You must not be charged with any serious offences i.e. sexual or indictable that are dealt with in the District of Supreme court

Drug Court Program

This is for people for have a history of drug related matters.  Participation in the local court programs may help to increase the chances of lenient penalties.  This is a program is a form of rehabilitation and aims to help repeat offenders overcome substance abuse problems and get their life back on track.  If you need a team of top drug lawyers Sydney contact us today and we can help get you the best results.