Drug charges can range from minor possession of a small quantity of drugs for personal use, to trafficking in drugs of a commercial quantity, which carries a 25 year maximum term of imprisonment. Manufacturing a commercial quantity carries a life sentence. Don’t delay getting the best available legal advice if you are charged with a serious drug offence.
Defences will turn on the facts of each case, but a lack of knowledge of the defendant about what it is they were carrying or dealing in is frequently used to assert the defendant is not guilty. The prosecution must prove that the defendant knew of the existence of the drugs in his or her possession.
In Canberra (and in most other jurisdictions in Australia) there are provisions which deem trafficking or supply. That means that if you are caught in possession of a large amount of illicit substances, the law says you are trafficking it, unless proven otherwise.
If the amount is not above the deemed amount of supply or trafficking, a charge such as possessing for supply or trafficking must prove positive acts of the supply other than mere possession. It is likely that anyone charged with such an offence will have been under police surveillance for some time, and that surveillance may have been by way of listening devices concealed in houses and cars and on the bodies of informers or undercover police. You may also have been followed and videos taken of what you did when you stopped.
The courts may have authorised that a listening device warrant be granted over any telephone you are associated with – mobiles and landline. For this reason you should be very cautious about what you say to your solicitor (and other people) over the telephone.
Sentencing drug offenders is handled quite differently depending on whether the defendant is addicted to drugs and/or has committed the offence in order to raise the money to buy more drugs to feed his or her habit or out of greed. Defendants who enter such transactions with only financial gain as their aim will not be treated as leniently.
We have chosen the most common types of offences and give you a brief explanation of what is involved with each.
Please note that none of the information contained on this website constitutes legal advice and is merely for general information only. For specific advice on your case, please ring 6279 4222 and make an appointment to see a solicitor.