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Drug Charges and Penalties in NSW

By far one of the most common Charges

In Australia today are those pertaining to drugs. But, not all drug charges are the same, in fact, drug charges are determined by several different factors. Like what drug, where it was found, how much of it was there, and what was the reason for the possession, what is the perceived intent? Drug users face a different set of charges than drug dealers and even within these categories charges can vary.

So what are the main categories of drug-related charges in NSW?

Drug Use:

Whatever way you choose to use, you are violating the law. From Smoking Marijuana to injecting heroin and everything in between. If you have used an illegal substance and have been arrested for it you will face Drug Use Charges. What this means is that the police will have to prove that you used illegal drugs. Surprisingly, most of these arrests are made because the person has admitted that they have used illegal drugs to the police.

Drug Possession:

Drug possession falls under section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Possession Act. Meaning that just being in possession of an illegal drug or substance in NSW means that you are considered guilty of violating this act.

This charge of drug possession in NSW carries a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units and/or 2 years of imprisonment. This is a very serious charge to the state and conviction rates are high. While a maximum for possession is 2 years courts can choose to impose other sentencing in conjunction with or instead of imprisonment. Other possible penalties can include, home detention, an intensive correction order, a suspended sentence, community service, fines, or they can even issue a good behavior bond.

Possession of a controlled substance is defined broadly by various examples of what “possession” means. The most common and obvious scenario is that an individual is caught with an illegal substance on their person, either in their body, clothing, or immediate possession such as a purse or backpack. Other forms of possession include being “in control” of the substance as in having it in the car, storage unit, or home.

Possession is rarely a stand-alone charge and depending on the amount that a person is busted with other charges including Drug Use and Drug trafficking, or even Drug Supply could be added to the possession charge. If found to be in possession of large amounts that exceed normal individual usage a person will most likely face Supply Charges.

Drug Supply and Trafficking:

In NSW, the offense of supplying a prohibited drug carries a maximum penalty of 5.500 penalty units and/or life imprisonment.

This charge is an interesting one, in that, it varies based on the amount and drug type. The type of drug and the amount will have a large impact on the type of penalty the courts will consider.

The amount and type segmentation are found in the table below.

Small quantity Traffickable quantity Indictable quantity Commercial quantity Large Commerce quantity
Cannabis lead 30.0g 300.0g 1,000.0g 25.0kg 100.0kg
Ecstasy 0.8g 3.0g 5.0g 250.0g 1.0kg
Cocaine / Heroin / Amphetamine 1.0g 3.0g 5.0g 250.0g 1.0kg

Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act sets out the amount considered to be a small, trafficable, indictable, commercial and large commercial quantity.

Small Quantity
The maximum penalty is a fine of 50 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 2 years.
traffickable Quantity
The maximum penalty in the Local Court is a fine of 100 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Indictable Quantity
The maximum penalty in the Local Court is a fine of 100 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty in the District Court is 200 penalty units and/or 15 years imprisonment.
Commercial Quantity
The maximum penalty is a fine of 3,500 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 20 years.
Large Commercial Quantity
The maximum penalty is a fine of 5,500 penalty units and/or life imprisonment.

As you can see there is a lot to know about Drug Charges in NSW

There is a sharp contrast between the use of illegal and mind-altering substances for recreational and fun purposes and ending up in a prison cell.

Sometimes a person can start off just looking for a good time and quickly end up in the worst times of their lives.

If one is facing drug charges of any type it is important to find legal representation that can help you navigate these dangerous and life-altering waters. Should you find yourself or a loved one facing any type of drug charge please contact us here so that we can get help to you right away.