Drug Possession Offence Lawyers in Sydney NSW

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

Drug Defence

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 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 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 If you wish to plead not guilty, we will work hard to have your charges reduced or withdrawn altogether We can get cases dropped by writing to the prosecution and highlighting the inconsistences or deficiencies in their case.  Advising on defencces available and pushing for withdrawal. With some of the highest acquittal rates we will help keep your record clean.

Drug Possession in NSW

The maximum penalty of for possession in NSW is 2 years imprisonment and a $2,200 fine.  Although this is the most minor form of offence in relation to prohibited substances, it is still treated very seriously by the local courts in Sydney and a criminal conviction is likely. A good defence lawyer can push to avoid this as well as a criminal record if you wish to plead guilty.

Drugs on Premises

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

Cocaine Possession

Cocaine Possession

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 prohibited substances
  • Unlawful commercial cultivation of prohibited plants by enhanced indoor means

Getting Drug 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.

What does “Suspicion on Reasonable Grounds” mean?

There are 3 elements that the courts look at to determine this:

  1. A reasonable suspicion requires that it is less than a reasonable belief but more than a possibility that illegal susbtances 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

Situations where the “reasonable suspicion” is not sufficient

  • Where police decide to search someone because they look nervous in a known drug area
  • Where a person is stopped for a random breath 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 the case may be withdrawn.  If the police decide they will fight it in court then it may be dismissed in court and costs are awarded to you. The law under s138 of the Evidence Act prevents the court to admit illegally or improperly obtained evidence.  Having an experienced Criminal Lawyer to 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.

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

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 which includes, commercial supply, production, manufacture, cultivation as well as participation in these activities.

Drug Supply

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

selling and distributing narcotics

Selling and Distributing

Consultation Strictly Appointment Only

Penalties for Drug Supply Offences

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

Small quantity Trafficable quantity Indictable quantity Commercial Quantity
Cannabis Leaf 30 grams 300 grams 1000 grams 25kg
Ecstasy 0.8 grams 3 grams 5 grams 250 grams
Cocaine/ Heroin/ Amphetamine 1 gram 3 grams 5 grams 250 grams

Drug supply 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”

The supply prohibited substances more than 3 times a month used for purpose of financial or material gain is considered drug supply on an ongoing basis.  This does not include the supply of cannabis. This is one of the most serious offences with a maximum penalty of 20 years.

Drug Manufacture

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

illegal contraband

Illegal Substances

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 this offence is 10 years.  If it is for commercial purposes then 15 years

cannabis posession

Cannabis Possession

Importation and possession of Border Controlled Drug

This refers to the importation or possession of an unlawful border controlled plant or 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 Drug Trials

This occurs when you are charged with a commercial quantity.  Generally this charge is laid in situation where a person trafficks or attempts to traffick unlawful substances 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.

Drug and 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 you get a more lenient sentence.

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 offences.  Participation in the court programs may help to increase the chances of a lenient penalty.  This is a program is a form of rehabilitation and aims to help repeat offenders overcome drug problems and get their life back on track.  If you need a top Sydney drug lawyer contact us today.

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