Drug Supply – s 25(1) Drug Misuse And Trafficking Act (1985)
Our Sydney drug lawyers have won a record number of Australia’s most difficult and complex drug supply charges for over 20 years in the Local Courts, District Courts and Supreme Court of Australia.
Drug law is our passion and specialty. We have a specialist team of drug lawyers who have dedicated their careers in drug law, achieving exceptional results!
Our team of drug lawyers are leaders in drug cases. Their specialty and focus is on getting drug charges dropped early, with the ability to know exactly how to maximise your chances at getting the best possible outcome in your case.
Our expert drug lawyers can provide you with immediate and realistic advice, with a proven track record of exceptional results for every kind of drug charge, from avoiding a conviction, to proving your innocence in court.
Call us now on (02) 8606 2218 to book a free first consultation with an experienced Drug Defence Lawyer.
Your Options in Court
PLEADING NOT GUILTY
In NSW, to be found guilty of drug supply charges, police must first prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you:
- Supplied a prohibited drug, or
- Took part in the supply of a prohibited drug
Is it illegal to give drugs to a friend for free?
“Supplying” includes giving a drug to a friend for free. This is still considered an offence.
What does ‘supply’ mean?
The meaning of ‘supply’ includes selling distributing, agreeing to supply, offering to supply, keeping it in your possession for supply, sending, delivering, receiving the drug for supply, or allowing any of those acts.
Defences for ‘supplying’ prohibited drugs
You will be not guilty for ‘supply’ if:
- You did not know of the existence of a prohibited drug in your possession
- You were holding the drug on behalf of another person and intended to give it back to that person
- You did not intend to pass it off as a prohibited drug to the other person in circumstances the substance found was not actually a prohibited drug
- You had the prohibited drug in your possession for personal use, not for supply
- Police found the prohibited drug as a result of an ‘illegal search’
- You did not have ‘exclusive possession’ of the prohibited drugs
- Duress or necessity
Defences for ‘taking part’ in supplying prohibited drugs
You will be not guilty for ‘taking part in supply’ if:
- You did not cause any steps to be taken in the process of that supply
- You did not provide or arrange the finance for the supply
- You did not provide the premises for the process of the supply to take place
- No supply has taken place and you had no contemplation of supplying
You will be found not guilty if police cannot prove, beyond reasonable doubt, any of the above elements of the charge.
Our senior defence drug lawyers will provide you with realistic and practical advice on your options and likelihood of success on each option.
If your drug weighs more than the ‘traffickable quantity’, and if you were found with possession of it, then you are assumed to have the drug for the purpose of supplying it. This is known as ‘deemed supply’. The ‘traffickable quantity’ is different for each kind of drug. See the below table.
Drug Weight and Categories
Prohibited Plant/Drug Small Quantity Trafficable Quantity Indictable Quantity Commercial Quantity Large Commercial Quantity Amphetamine 1 g 3.0 g 5 g 250.0 g 1 kg Cannabis Leaf 30 g 300 g 1000 g 25.0 g 100 g Cannabis Oil 2 g 5 g 10 g 500.0 g 2 kg Cannabis Resin 5 g 30 g 90 g 2.5 Kg 10 Kg Cocaine 1 g 3 g 5 g 250.0 g 1 Kg Heroin 1 g 3 g 5 g 250.0 g 1 Kg Lysergic acid 0.0008 g 0.003 g 0.005 g 0.5 g 2 g Methylamphetamine 1 g 3 g 5 g 250 g 1 Kg MDMA/Ecstasy 0.25 g 0.75 g 1.25 g 125 g 500g
Getting drug charges dropped
Our specialist drug lawyers number one focus and specialty is getting drug charges dropped or even downgraded early. They have successfully achieved this on countless occasions for their clients by working around the clock on picking out all the holes in the police evidence, pointed them out, and then strategically and fiercely negotiating with the police officer involved in the case. They have perfected this skill for over 20 years and guarantee to maximise your chances at getting your charges dropped.
Before pleading guilty, it is critical to speak to an expert drug lawyer. This is because often your charges have the potential to be dropped or even downgraded through extensive negotiations with the police officer who arrested you! This chance will be missed if you plead guilty without negotiating. The timing of when you enter the plea of guilty makes a difference to your punishment in the event you do decide to plead guilty.
Our specialist drug lawyers will advise you of the best ways to maximise your chances of getting the best possible result for your case. The following are some of the main ways to achieve this.
Up to 25% discount on punishment
The earlier you enter the plea of guilty in court, the more the discount you will receive on your punishment by the Judge. This is why it is very important to get reliable, realistic and immediate advice without any unnecessary delay. You can get up to 25% discount on the punishment which means a better outcome to your case.
Drop or downgrade charges
Yes, you can negotiate the charges with police at an early stage by getting charges dropped or downgraded to a lesser serious charge resulting in a better outcome to your case.
Our senior drug defence lawyers have dropped and downgraded their clients charges on countless occasions for over a decade. They do this by very carefully analysing the evidence, pointing out all the holes in the police evidence, tactful and relentless negotiations with the police officer involved in your case. They are specialists at doing this, a skill they have perfected for over 20 years.
Negotiate police facts
The Judge will give you a punishment based on what is written in the facts sheet of your case. Usually the police officers facts sheet is only one sided, and in our view there is always two sides to a story!
Police often get the facts wrong which makes you appear worse than what actually happened. Leaving this unchanged will generally attract a more serious punishment by the Judge reading it. To avoid this, our highly experienced drug defence lawyers will work around the clock to negotiate and change the facts to reflect your side of what happened, putting you in a better light. The result? A better, more lenient punishment by the Judge.
Good character references
An excellent written character reference is important for getting a better outcome.
A good character reference is a letter from people who know you. What these people will write about will include some of the good and great things he or she has seen you do and achiever in life. It should also includes an expression of your remorse and insight into your offending behaviour. Our specialist drug lawyers will guide you every step of the way from what things to comment on in the reference letters, to which people to get character references from.
Remember, the Judge will read each character reference when considering whether to give you a harsher or lenient punishment. This is your opportunity express what kind of person you really are from people who know you more than the Judge does. Each letter will be reviewed by our expert drug lawyers before handing it to the Judge.
Expert psychologist reports
A psychologist or psychiatrist report can make a significant difference in getting a better result on your punishment for the following 4 main reasons:
- It is one of the best ways to express your remorse and contrition. This, by law, allows the Judge to give you leniency in the punishment.
- The Judge will give you a more lenient punishment and better outcome if the report is well drafted by an experienced and respected psychologist or psychiatrist who has diagnosed you as suffering from a mental illness. This may include depression, anxiety disorder or schizophrenia.
- It allows you to tell your side of the story, providing an explanation rather than a justification for your actions which also allows the Judge, by law, to give a less harsher punishment.
- It provides the Judge with re-assurance that you have prospects of being rehabilitated and therefore unlikely to reoffend again! This allows the Judge, by law, to give you more discount on the punishment and a better result.
Our specialist drug defence lawyers have individually hand picked a select few of the best and well respected psychologists and psychiatrists in Australia. You will be guided by a senior expert drug lawyer on the best psychologist or psychiatrist for your case.
The maximum punishment depends on the weight or quantity of the drug, and whether it is to be heard in the Local or District Court. The maximum punishments range from 2 years to life in prison and, or up to $220,000 fine.
The Courts do not usually give a maximum punishment. The maximum is rarely given, and is usually reserved for the most serious offenders. In fact, non of our clients have ever received a maximum punishment over the 20 years we have been doing this for!
The following diagram explains the maximum punishments for the different drug weight categories:
Quantity If Local Court If District Court Not more than Small Quantity 2 years imprisonment and/or $5,500 fine 15 years imprisonment or $220,000 fine More than Small Quantity but less than Indictable Quantity 2 years imprisonment and/or $11,000 fine 15 years imprisonment and/or $220,000 fine More than Indictable Quantity but less than Commercial Quantity 2 years imprisonment and/or $11,000 fine 15 years imprisonment and/or $220,000 fine Commercial Quantity or more, but less than Large Commercial Quantity Cannot be dealt with in Local Court 20 years imprisonment and/or $385,000 fine Large Commercial Quantity or more Cannot be dealt with in Local Court Life imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine
Types of punishment
The different types of punishment the Judge can choose to give you include any one of the following:
- Section 10. No criminal record
- Good behaviour bond
- Community Service Order
- Suspended Sentence
- Intensive Corrections Order
- Home Detention
- Full time prison
The type of punishment you get on pleading guilty will depend on the above points discussed and much more. A highly experienced specialist drug lawyer can give you realistic and practical advice, thoroughly prepare and powerfully present your version to the Judge with strong and compelling submissions putting you in the best possible position.
It is very important to maximise your chances at getting the best possible outcome.
More factors Judge will look at when considering the type of punishment to give you
Every case for the same charge is different. This is why the results can be different depending on the seriousness of your offence. The less serious your case is, the better your outcome will be.
Some of the main factors the Judge will look at in assessing how seriousness your case is include the following:
- Quantity and purity of the drug: You will likely receive a more lenient punishment if the quantity and purity of the drugs in your case are low. Off course, you will likely receive a more harsher punishment if the quantity and purity are high. But the quantity of the drug is not the sole determinant factor for giving a punishment, it is more important to look into your role and level of participation as expressed in cases such as R v Shi  NSWCCA 135.
- Role and level of participation: The higher up your role and level of participation in supplying the drugs is, the more harsher the punishment is likely to be. The less your role and participation, the more lenient the punishment will be. For example, if you played the role of a courier and store man, rather than a principal in the offence, then your punishment will be more lenient. If you planned this supply only a day in advance rather than months, you will likely receive a more lenient punishment.
The general rule is that you can avoid a full time prison sentence if you were not ‘trafficking to a substantial degree’ (DPP (NSW) v Zahrooni  NSWCCA 252). This means the Judge can realistically give you a punishment that does not involve full time behind bars!
‘Trafficking to a substantial degree’ may involve high degree of planning months in advance, organising international flights, booking hotel rooms, contacting co-offenders, using coded telephone conversations and high level of sophistication in concealing the drugs.
- Your vulnerability to drug: If committed this offence because of your background, age and drug addiction, this may be considered as a vulnerability in allowing the Judge to give a more lenient punishment (R v Shi  NSWCCA 135).
- Your drug addiction: you will likely be given a more lenient punishment if you supplied drugs to feed your own drug addiction out of a need. You will be given a more harsh punishment if you supplied for just greed. People who supply drugs out of pure greed are considered in the worst category of suppliers under the law (Nguyen v R  NSWCCA 15).
The Judge will give you a more lenient punishment if the following applies to you:
- You express remorse and insight in your offending conduct
- You have expressed, through medical reports, excellent prospects of rehabilitation which can convince the Judge you are unlikely to re-offend
- You are of otherwise good character. This is expressed from your good character references
- There was no substantial harm or loss caused about from your conduct
- You have limited, or no prior criminal record
- Your young age and background
Does the standard non parole period apply to my charge?
What is parole period?
When a Judge gives a punishment of full time imprisonment of more than 6 months, the Judge is required under the law to give you a ‘non-parole’, and ‘parole’ period.
The ‘non parole period’ of a sentence of imprisonment is the period of time you must spend behind bars in prison. The ‘parole period’ is the period you may be released from prison on conditions while still finishing the rest of your imprisonment term.
The period of non parole depends on each case. The Judge is guided by the “standard non parole period” as a guide to try to come to an appropriate punishment.
What is ‘standard’ non parole period?
Some charges and weights of drugs carry a “standard non parole period”. This means that those specific charges carry a standard period of time you are required to be in prison for.
Do not panic, because it is not mandatory for the Judge to apply the standard period. The Judge usually uses this as a guide only, or may not even use it at all depending on the case.
Does it apply to you?
The standard non parole period applies to you if the weight of your drug is either the commercial quantity, or more than the commercial quantity of your particular drug. The standard non parole period provisions under the law is in Division 1A of Part 4 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
If your drug weight is more than the commercial quantity but less than the large commercial quantity, then your standard non parole is 10 years.
If your drug weight is more than the large commercial quantity, then your standard non parole period is 15 years.