Click To Call

Drug Offences

The Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld) is the legislation that creates the most familiar drug offences, these include possession, supply, manufacture and trafficking of a dangerous drug. Penalties for offences will depend on the seriousness of the charge. The type of drug, the quantity and the circumstances surrounding the offence are all factors that will be considered when determining the severity.

Some drugs are considered more dangerous than others based on their chemical composition and the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 (Qld) lists what are considered harder drugs as Schedule 1 Drugs.

According to the legislation Schedule 1 Drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamine
  • Methylamphetamine (ice or crystal meth)
  • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy)
  • Lysergide (LSD or acid)

Schedule 2 Drugs include:

  • Cannabis
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Opium
  • Pethidine
  • Codeine
  • Diazepam
  • Ketamine

If you have been charged with a drug offence your first court appearance will be a ‘mention’ and you should ask the court for an adjournment so that you may seek legal advice. It is important to obtain a copy of your Queensland Police Form 9 (QP9), this is the police summary of events relating to the offence and the charges against you. The QP9 will be made available to you by the police prosecutor on that first court date. Any evidence that the police prosecutor intends to rely on will also be listed on the QP9.

If you appoint David as your legal representative, he will request your QP9 so that he can advise you about the allegations and the best course of action. This will enable you to secure the best possible outcome right from the start. If you engage a legal representative, your first appearance will also likely be heard much faster and it may then be possible for David to appear on your behalf for other procedural court dates saving you from the disruption to your daily life.

Court diversion for minor drug offence

In some circumstances, there may be an option to apply for the Illicit Drug Court Diversion Program which has been designed to reach offenders in the early stages of drug-related crime. It aims to rehabilitate offenders and subsequently reduce the likelihood of re-offending. The program is available for minor drug offences and a conviction will not be recorded. More information about the program can be found here.

What should you do if you are charged with a drug offence?

A drug conviction means further complications that will affect your life. You should consider the ramifications of having a conviction recorded such as the potential effect on your employment or restrictions on travel to some countries. The right advice about your options, regarding the charges you face, and the best course of action for you in light of your circumstances, is crucial.

If you have been charged with a drug offence or think you may be under investigation, to have the best opportunity to avoid conviction and possible imprisonment you should seek professional legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

David strives to ensure you are presented in the best possible manner and that means that he does not accept the circumstances as they appear at face value. David will dig deeper and test how particular claims of fact will hold up under scrutiny. He may employ expert witnesses and state-of-the-art technology to get the best possible outcome. There might be an examination of the procedures followed by police, enquiry into the use of approved and properly maintained equipment, an investigation into the accuracy of devices used and the training of officers performing the tasks.

David provides highly experienced representation in all states and territories of Australia.

 

Court diversion for minor drug offence

If you plead guilty to a drug charge that is eligible under the Illicit Drug Court Diversion Program you may be sentenced to a recognisance order which is a promise you will make for good behaviour for a stated period of time. The recognisance will require you to also attend a drug education information session and to attend without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. David can advise you on your eligibility to participate in this program and submit the required paperwork to the Magistrate for consideration on your behalf. No conviction will be recorded if the order is granted. Contact David to find out how he can help.

Eligibility – Queensland Courts

You may be eligible for court diversion if you’re charged with one or more of these offences under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986:

  • possessing a dangerous drug— if the drug was for personal use and is prescribed in, and of a quantity less than the amount prescribed in, Schedule 1 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015
  • possess anything used in connection with the commission of a crime under Part 2 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986—if the thing was for personal use
  • possess things used for the administration, consumption or smoking of a dangerous drug
  • fail to take reasonable care of a syringe
  • fail to dispose of a syringe.

You must also:

  • plead guilty to all offences
  • not have been given two previous diversion alternatives (including police diversion).
  • have no pending charges or convictions for offences of a sexual nature or certain drug offences dealt with on indictment, such as trafficking; or indictable offences involving violence against another person, other than certain offences specified in s. 15E of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.

If you are charged with possession of a dangerous drug the quantity must be a minor amount. The minor amount is determined by the type of drug and the quantities as outlined in the table below.

Expand Table

 

Section 5 - Trafficking in dangerous drugs (s5 Drugs Misuse Act)

s5(1) A person who carries on the business of unlawfully trafficking in a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty—25 years imprisonment.

Where there is evidence that an individual has engaged in an organised business of supplying drugs illegally the most serious of drug charges, trafficking in dangerous drugs, can be made against the offender. To prove the offence has been committed, there must be evidence of commercial activity. Repetition of transactions, making financial gains, communication and promotion to potential buyers and negotiations for further outlets may be considered as evidence of the commercial nature of an activity.

Penalties for drug trafficking offences depend on the type of drug, the quantity and the circumstances surrounding the offence. The maximum penalty that can be imposed for trafficking of a Schedule 1 Drug is 25 years imprisonment and 20 years for a Schedule 2 Drug. As your legal representative, David will scrutinise the circumstances surrounding the alleged commercial connotation and whether this most serious offence can be adequately proved.

 

Section 6 - Supply of a dangerous drug (s6 Drugs Misuse Act)

s6(1) A person who unlawfully supplies a dangerous drug to another, whether or not such other person is in Queensland, is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty— 25 years or life imprisonment for an aggravated offence

The concept of supplying a dangerous drug in a legal context is much broader than one may think. To supply can be extended to include to give, distribute, sell, administer or transport a drug. Also, by simply offering or preparing to do any of those things you can be charged with the offence of supplying a dangerous drug. If you accompany someone who supplies a dangerous drug, you could also be charged with the offence under legislation imported from chapter 2 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) regarding parties to offences.

Penalties for drug supply offences depend on the type of drug, the quantity and the circumstances surrounding the offence. The maximum penalty that can be imposed for supply of a Schedule 1 Drug is 25 years imprisonment and 20 years for a Schedule 2 Drug. Section 6 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld) also establishes circumstances where aggravation applies. This includes where the drug is supplied to a minor, a person with intellectual impairment, the location of the supply is an educational or correctional facility and where the recipient is unaware of the supply. Where supply is made under aggravated circumstances the maximum penalty is increased to life imprisonment for Schedule 1 Drugs and 25 years for Schedule 2 Drugs.

David can assist with the available options depending on your circumstances, he will look closely at the evidence and provide you with clarity concerning the particulars of your case.

 

Section 7 – Receiving or possessing property obtained from trafficking or supplying (s7 Drugs Misuse Act)

s7(1) A person who receives or possesses property, other than a dangerous drug, ("offence property") obtained, directly or indirectly, from the commission of—

(a) an offence defined in section 5 or 6 ; or

(b) an act done at a place not in Queensland which if it had been done in Queensland would have constituted an offence defined in section 5 or, as the case may be, 6, and which is an offence under the laws in force in the place where it was done;

knowing or believing the property to have been so obtained, is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty—20 years imprisonment.

Where an individual is in receipt or possession of the proceeds of the trafficking or supply of an illicit drug they will be guilty of an offence unless they can demonstrate that they did not have sufficient control over the property or they had no knowledge that the property was generated from the trafficking or supply of illicit drugs.

David can assist with any complex assessment surrounding a charge of receiving or possessing property obtained from trafficking or supplying and advise on possible defences and any options specific to your case.

 

Section 8 - Producing dangerous drugs (s8 Drugs Misuse Act)

s8(1) A person who unlawfully produces a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty—25 years imprisonment

Producing a dangerous drug is considered to include preparing, manufacturing, cultivating or packaging a drug, therefore the meaning according to the law is broader than one might think. Production is not only the mixing of chemicals to produce an illicit drug but actions such as placing quantities of drugs into snap lock bags or watering cannabis plants. These actions also fall within the scope of the meaning of production. Also, by simply offering or preparing to do any of those things you can be charged with the offence of producing dangerous drugs.

Penalties for drug production offences depend on the type of drug, the scale and complexity of the set-up, the duration of the project and the offender’s level of involvement. The purpose of the operation is also important in determining the severity of the offence. If the project is to produce quantities for personal use, then the offence is less serious than if the production was elaborately planned, had the potential for profit and an ability to facilitate a commercial operation. The maximum penalty that can be imposed for production of a Schedule 1 Drug is 25 years imprisonment and 20 years for a Schedule 2 Drug.

 

Section 8A – Publishing or possessing instructions for producing dangerous drugs (s8A Drugs Misuse Act)

(1) A person who unlawfully publishes instructions, or unlawfully has possession of a document containing instructions, about the way to produce a dangerous drug commits a crime.

Maximum penalty—25 years imprisonment

Where an individual makes instructions for producing an illicit drug available to another person as defined above, they will have committed the offence unless the instructions were lawful or published lawfully. Publication of instructions means to make available to any person and the meaning also extends to supply, exhibit or display to any person. This can include oral, written, electronic or any other format.

Where an individual is in possession of a document that contains instructions about the way to produce an illicit drug, they will have committed the offence unless the instructions were lawful. Possession of instructions means that the individual has physical custody or control of the document and the meaning of document extends to include anything designed to enable electronic access to such instruction like a password or code.

The maximum penalty that can be imposed for publishing or possessing instructions for the production of a Schedule 1 Drug is 25 years imprisonment and 20 years for a Schedule 2 Drug.

 

Section 9 - Possession of a dangerous drug (s9 Drugs Misuse Act)

s9(1) A person who unlawfully has possession of a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty— 25 years imprisonment

Possession includes not only the general concept of actual physical possession but also extends to include the control of the drug. A capacity or control to make decisions about the drug or if a drug is found in your place of residence, you are considered to have possession of the drug, even if it belongs to someone else. Unless the individual can prove that they did not know or had no reason to suspect that the drug was in their possession they have committed the offence of possession of a dangerous drug. If drugs are openly available for you to access at a party, even if you do not use them, you could still be charged with possession.

Penalties for drug possession depend on the type of drug, the quantity and the circumstances surrounding the offence. The maximum penalty that can be imposed for possession of a Schedule 1 Drug is 25 years imprisonment and 20 years for a Schedule 2 Drug. If an offender is identified as drug-dependent then there is a possibility of a reduced sentence based on their compulsion to use the illicit drug. A drug-dependent person suffers or is likely to suffer from mental or physical distress when access to the drug ceases.

The definition of possession and establishing if an individual was in possession or had control of a drug can be complex. David can explore the surrounding circumstances of any allegations and properly advise you about any available defences in your case. If drugs are found by police on your person, in your home or your vehicle, contact David to find out how he can assist you with your circumstances. Depending on certain requirements a Drug Diversion may also be available to an offender of possession of a dangerous drug.

 

Section 10 – Possessing things (s10 Drugs Misuse Act)

(1) A person who has in his or her possession anything—

(a) for use in connection with the commission of a crime defined in this part; or

(b) that the person has used in connection with such a purpose;

is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty—15 years imprisonment.

Where an individual is in possession of a thing that they used in connection with a drug offence, such as a vehicle used to transport drugs, they will commit the offence of possessing things. There is also the potential for a person to be charged if they intend to use the thing in the future to commit a drug offence.

Things relevant to this offence include drug paraphernalia used in connection with administration, consumption or smoking of a dangerous drug. Items used to take drugs such as bongs, pipes, cocaine spoons and syringes; items used to produce drugs like scales, hydroponic lights, agricultural equipment or a pill press; even items that have been used for a drug offence or are intended to be used for a drug offence such as bowls, scissors and grinders are all considered as connected things.

Where a person is charged with the offence and they have an item that they have not used, it will need to be proved that they had the intention to use it in the future. David can investigate any evidence surrounding the circumstances and advise you on the options available to you for your specific case.

 

Section 11 – Permitting use of a place (s11 Drugs Misuse Act)

s11(1) A person who, being the occupier or concerned in the management or control of a place, permits the place to be used for the commission of a crime defined in this part is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty—15 years imprisonment

If you allow a property in your control to be used for a drug offence, then you could be charged with permitting use of a place. That means if you are an occupier of a premises and you allow the supply of drugs to occur at a party you are hosting, lease a property to tenants and allow them to grow marijuana plants in the back yard or permit the sale of drugs to occur from a business you own, then you have committed a crime. It does not matter whether the individual in control of the place had anything to do with the commission of the drug offence, simply allowing the place to be used is enough to be charged with permitting use of place.

Whether it can be established that you were in control of the place is something David can scrutinise and contest. The giving of permission is also a common area of contention with these cases and proving that permission was given is an issue that David can explore and advise you about. Contact David to find out how he can assist you to achieve the best possible outcome in relation to your charge.

 

Division 307 – Import-export offences (Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth))

It is a Commonwealth offence to import or export or attempt to import or export prohibited drugs. Offences relating to the importation of drugs attract some of the highest court-imposed penalties. The cases are highly complex as they usually involve multiple offenders coordinating their efforts. The prosecution will need to prove the offender intended to import or export the prohibited drug and will need to adequately demonstrate an individual’s connection to any complex operation.

Should you be charged under division 307 of the Criminal Code it is important to get assistance from an experienced legal practitioner. David can assist with any complex assessment surrounding an importation or exportation charge and advise on possible defences and any options specific to your case.