Criminal Law

Drug Offences

There are several different types of drug charges, ranging from simple possession, to possession with intent to sell or supply, to trafficking and manufacturing. Each type of drug charge can carry differing penalties, and can be heard in different courts.

The police want to speak to me about a drug offence. Do I have to speak to them?

Please click here to read about your rights when speaking to and being questioned by police.

I have been charged with a drug offence. How can a lawyer help?

We can advise you about the charge, what penalty you might get if convicted, what the police need to prove against you and if you have a defence.

Depending on the type of drug and the amount of drug found, you may be charged with either “simple” possession, or possession with intent to sell or supply, or drug trafficking.

The more serious drug charges can result in the police seizing your phone or other electronic devices (like laptops or computers) and serving you with a Data Access Order which requires you to give your pin code or password to allow the police access to the device.

The other consequence of being charged with serious drug offences is that the police can freeze your assets and confiscate them if you are convicted. This can include your family home.

You should also speak with a criminal lawyer about the charge because it may be possible for the charge to be discontinued or downgraded.

Even a relatively small amount of drugs (in some cases, 4 grams) can ordinarily result in imprisonment, so it is important to speak to a criminal lawyer about your drug charge.

I have been charged with possession of drugs. What does that mean?

The prosecution will need to prove that you had possession of the drug in question.

Possession means that you know about the drug(s) in your possession and have custody and control of the drug.

It is possible for more than one person to be charged with possession of the same amount of drug. This is called joint possession.

I have been charged with possession of drugs with intent to sell or supply. What does that mean?

In addition to proving you have possession of the drug, the prosecution will also need to prove you had the intent to sell or supply the drugs to another person. This can include both sharing drugs with friends, or selling drugs to strangers for profit.

Depending on the type of drug, if you have over a certain amount in your possession, it is presumed that you have the intention to sell or supply. For example, for cocaine, the amount is 2 grams, for cannabis it is 100 grams. If you disagree that you had the intention to sell or supply, the burden is on you to prove otherwise.

The police can also charge you with having the intent to sell or supply if they find other items in your possession related to the sale of drugs. For example, empty clip seal bags, weighing scales, “tick lists”, large amounts of cash or text messages about selling drugs.

You may agree that you had possession of the drugs for personal use, but deny that they were for sale or supply. If so, you should speak to your criminal lawyer about how you can either negotiate or defend the charge.

What will happen in court?

Please click here read about what happens in court.  

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