Drug Offences

If you have been charged with drug offences, we can help. The Criminal Law Centre can help. We are available 24/7 and have over 33 years of experience in dealing with drug related matters. Don’t wait, contact us today

Did you know drug laws carry heavy penalties? Especially for those involving; cultivation, manufacture & supply.

Drug crimes in NSW include possession of prohibited drugs, Possession of equipment for administration of prohibited drugs, Sale, supply and display of water pipes and ice pipes, Administration of prohibited drugs to others, Obtaining a prohibited drug by false representation, supply a prohibited drug, cultivating a prohibited plant , manufacture or production of certain prohibited substances, illegally importing, aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring, soliciting or inciting the commission of a drug offence both inside and outside New South Wales

Penalties vary depending on the amount or quantity and type of the prohibited drug involved in any prosecution.

Both federal law and the law of NSW cover drug offences. Federal offences include the importation of illicit drugs, and precursors. All drug offences in NSW can have potentially serious consequences. You should consult a highly experienced and senior specialist criminal lawyer as a matter of extreme urgency if you are; arrested, charged or are otherwise suspected of committing any drug offence.

Most drug offences in NSW are dealt with under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, 1985 This law addresses crimes involving prohibited drugs, including; cocaine, methamphetamine, cannabis, heroin, ecstasy, and other illegal drugs. Some prohibited drugs are prohibited for all purposes while others can be possessed legally if they are legitimately prescribed.


Under section 10 of the NSW Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act it is illegal to possess a prohibited drug. This requires proof that: the drug is possessed and the person possessing the drug knows that he or she had possession of the drug.

What is Possession? 

You have to have custody or control of the drug. Custody means having the drug in your hand, on your person, or otherwise having immediate physical possession of the drug. Control means having the right to decide what will happen with the drug.

Possession includes the drug being handed over to you. if you accept it, even if you are only passing it to another person; you had technical possession of the drug. You may have a defence; if you were unaware of the item/substance you accepted being a prohibited drug.

Two or more people can possess the same drug. Even if the drug is in someone else’s custody, if you obtain the drug by asking for it, you are technically in possession of the drug. In this situation you share control of the drug.

Being near other people who possess prohibited drugs is, of itself, not a crime. If you know that drugs are present but the drugs are not in your custody or control, you may not be committing the offence of possession.

Use of Drugs:

Using a prohibited drug violates section 12 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. “Use” means ingesting (or self-administering) the drug by smoking, inhaling, injecting, or otherwise causing the drug to enter the user’s body.
The charge of self administration of a prohibited drug generally occurs when one admits to the police that he or she used the drug. Otherwise, the charge requires either eyewitness testimony that the accused used a substance (coupled with test results proving that the substance was a prohibited drug), or evidence of forensic test results, admissible at law.


The offence of supply is broadly defined by section 3 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. Supply includes: selling, offering to sell, giving away or sharing and, possessing a prohibited drug for the purpose of supplying a prohibited drug.
Whether drugs are possessed for personal use or for the purpose of supply may provide the basis for a defence when a charge of supply is based on possession. When a “trafficable quantity” of a prohibited drug is possessed, the concept of a “deemed supply” exists.

Deemed Supply:

“Deemed supply” means the law presumes where the “trafficable quantity” of the prohibited drug is possessed that possession of the prohibited drugs is for the purpose of supply. The burden is on the person possessing the prohibited drugs to overcome the “deemed supply” presumption by proving that the drugs were generally possessed for personal use only and not supply.
Trafficable quantities justifying a deemed supply charge vary. It depends on the drug involved. For example, a “trafficable quantity” of prepared opium is 30 grams, while a trafficable quantity of cannabis (marijuana) is 300 grams. Since a “trafficable quantity” is relatively large, overcoming the presumption that the drug is possessed for supply can at times be difficult. In some cases, however, you can at times and if appropriate introduce evidence of a significant drug habit, arguing that purchasing a large quantity of the drug in one deal results in a better price and is less risky than making many smaller drug deals

Ongoing Dealing:

Under section 25A of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, supplying a prohibited drug (other than cannabis) on at least three separate occasions over 30 days or less triggers section 25A of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. The crime requires proof that the drugs were sold or exchanged for something of value. The crime can be charged whether the same or different prohibited drugs were supplied on each occasion.

The penalties for ongoing dealing are very harsh than other penalties for a usual charge of supply. The offence often occurs when an accused person supplies drugs to an undercover officer on a regular basis before being arrested.

Drugs Trafficking:

Trafficking is regarded as the same as the offence of supply, except that large quantities of the drug are involved. The penalties vary depending on whether the crime involved a strictly indictable (i.e. not being finalised in the Local Court) quantity, a commercial quantity, or a large commercial quantity of the drug.


Section 24 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act criminalises the unauthorised manufacture of a prohibited drug. Only strictly licensed entities can manufacture what are otherwise prohibited drugs. The crime can be lodged against anyone who combines the ingredients necessary to manufacture a prohibited drug. Anyone who assists in that process (for example, by providing equipment or chemicals) can also be charged with the offence of manufacturing.

Prohibited Plants:

Planting, growing, tending, or harvesting a prohibited plant violates section 23 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. All of those acts fit within the definition of “cultivating” a plant. Indoor cultivation carries more serious penalties. That charge applies when five or more plants are cultivated using an artificial light source or nutrient-enriched water.
Possession of a prohibited plant carries the same penalties as cultivating the plant. Allowing a plant to be grown on one’s property or keeping the plant after it has been harvested are examples of possessing a prohibited plant. The charge requires proof that the accused knew about the plant and had custody or control of it.

The prohibited plant that most commonly leads to criminal charges is cannabis (marijuana). Commercial quantities (more than 250 plants grown outdoors or 50 plants grown indoors) carry higher penalties.


Bringing (or attempting to bring) a “border controlled drug” into Australia is a federal crime. The prosecution must prove that the accused knew that the substance being brought into the country was a border controlled drug. Most illicit drugs are border controlled.

If you think you are in trouble with Drug offences, get in touch with us now. We are available 24/7 to assist you. Call us on (02) 9891 4200  or fill our enquiry form.

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