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Drug charges in Queensland are varied and range in severity from small possession for personal use to large scale trafficking operations.
The penalties for drug charges are also varied and range in severity, from a good behaviour order to a significant period of imprisonment.
A drug charge of this nature can have a long lasting impact on you, particularly if a conviction is recorded on your criminal history for drug offending. A conviction being recorded can impact your prospects of obtaining employment in the future, and your ability to travel internationally. There are some circumstances where a Court may decide not to record a conviction, and you should obtain legal advice about this issue.
The number of possible drug charges, and the range of penalties, make this a difficult area of law to navigate without the assistance of an experienced legal representative. It is important that you obtain legal advice as soon as possible, to secure the best outcome possible in your circumstances. We will ensure that you understand the process and your options, to allow you to make an informed decision about your matter.
We can assist you with:
Possession of Dangerous Drugs
Possession of a dangerous drug is a serious offence and being convicted can have a long term impact on your life. It is important to seek legal advice as early as possible if you have, or believe you are going to be, charged with possession of a dangerous drug.
In what Court will my charges be heard?
The Court your charges will be heard before depends on the gravity of the offence. Less serious offences can be heard before the Magistrates Court, with more serious matters heard before the Supreme Court. The gravity of the offence is determined by the type of dangerous drug, the quantity of the substance and whether possession was for personal or commercial purposes.
What if I did not physically possess the drug?
You can be charged with possession of a dangerous drug, even if the drug is not in your physical possession. The police only need to show that you had knowledge and control of the drug for you to be charged with a possession offence.
What are the penalties for possessing a dangerous drug?
The penalty you will receive is dependent on the type and quantity of the dangerous drug. Other factors are also taken into account, such as whether the possession was for personal or commercial purposes and whether you are a drug dependant person.
The maximum penalty for possession of a dangerous drug is 25 years imprisonment. Possession offences can be very serious, and it is important you seek legal advice as to the penalty likely to be imposed on you.
Can I get a good behaviour order?
You may be eligible for drug diversion if you are in possession of a small amount of a dangerous drug, for personal use.
What should I do if I have been charged with possession of dangerous drugs?
Supplying Dangerous Drugs
Supplying a dangerous drug is a serious offence and being convicted can result in a term of imprisonment being imposed. It is important to seek legal advice as early as possible if you have been charged with supplying a dangerous drug.
In what Court will my charges be heard?
In most cases, a supply of dangerous drugs charge will be heard before the District or Supreme Court.
Your charges may only be heard in the Magistrates Court if it is alleged you supplied a Schedule 2 drug (such as cannabis) with no aggravating circumstances. However, Prosecutions may elect to send your offence to the District Court. It is important you seek legal representation early on in your matter to ensure your matter is not unnecessarily delayed.
What does it mean to supply a dangerous drug?
The definition of “supply” is broad and includes:-
- giving a dangerous drug to someone;
- distributing a dangerous drug; and
- selling a dangerous drug.
It is also an offence to offer to supply a dangerous drug. The wide definition of “supply” means that you may be charged with this offence unexpectedly. For example, you could be charged with supplying a dangerous drug for sharing a dangerous drug with your friends.
What are the penalties for supplying a dangerous drug?
The penalties for supplying a dangerous drug vary based on:-
- the type of drug; and
- the quantity of drug.
There are also aggravating circumstances that can increase your sentence, including supplying to a child. These factors impact the maximum sentence applicable to your offence, with the maximum penalties ranging from 15 years imprisonment to life imprisonment.
What should I do if I have been charged with supplying a dangerous drug?
Trafficking Dangerous Drugs
Trafficking dangerous drugs is one of the most serious drug offences. It is likely that you will face a significant period of imprisonment should you be convicted of trafficking dangerous drugs. It is important to seek legal advice as early as possible if you have been charged with trafficking dangerous drugs.
In which Court will my charges be heard?
Your charge of trafficking dangerous drugs will be heard in the Supreme Court, unless specific circumstances apply.
What does trafficking mean?
The charge of trafficking dangerous drugs involves carrying on a business in unlawfully trafficking a dangerous drug. This usually requires multiple transactions, unless it is able to be established that there were further intended transactions.
What if there was no profit from trafficking of a dangerous drug?
There does not have to be a profit for you to be charged with trafficking dangerous drugs. However, this may become a relevant factor at sentencing and reduce the penalty imposed.
What are the penalties for trafficking dangerous drugs?
The maximum penalty for trafficking dangerous drugs varies depending on the type of drug and whether there were any aggravating circumstances. These factors impact the maximum sentence applicable to your offence, with the maximum penalties ranging from 20 to 25 years imprisonment. It is likely you will be required to serve actual time in custody if convicted of trafficking dangerous drugs.
What should I do if I have been charged with trafficking dangerous drugs?
It is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible if you have been charged with trafficking dangerous drugs. This is a serious offence that is likely to result in a period of imprisonment if you are convicted. Contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.
Producing Dangerous Drugs
The charge of producing dangerous drugs relates to cultivating or manufacturing dangerous drugs. The offence can be serious, with significant penalties if you are convicted.
What is producing a dangerous drug?
The term “producing” is broadly defined as:-
- preparing dangerous drugs;
- manufacturing dangerous drugs;
- cultivating dangerous drugs; or
- packaging dangerous drugs.
Cultivating a dangerous drug usually relates to growing cannabis, whether for personal use or on a larger scale. Manufacturing ordinarily relates to producing dangerous drugs such as ecstasy and other methylamphetamines.
What are the penalties for producing a dangerous drug?
The penalty for producing dangerous drugs will vary based on the type of dangerous drug and the quantity produced. For example, a lesser penalty will be imposed if you were growing cannabis for personal use than if you were involved in large scale manufacturing of ecstasy. The maximum penalties range from 15 years to 25 years imprisonment.
Despite the severe maximum penalties, there are alternate penalties available to the Court in sentencing that mean you may not be required to serve time in custody, or even receive a period of imprisonment. It is important that you seek legal advice about the penalty likely to be imposed in your circumstances.
What Court will my charges be heard before?
Your charges will be heard in either the Supreme Court or the Magistrates Court. The jurisdiction your charges will be heard in depends on the type of drug and the maximum penalty able to be imposed in your particular circumstances.
What should I do if I have been charged with producing dangerous drugs?
Possession of Utensils and Things
It is an offence to possess “things” that are used to administer (or “take”) illicit substances if the items have been used for a drug offence. For example, it is an offence to be in possession of a bong that has been used to smoke cannabis.
It is also an offence to be in possession of a thing which you intend to use in connection with an offence. For example, it is an offence to have a pipe that you intend to use to smoke methylamphetamine (commonly known as “ice”).
You should seek legal advice if you are charged with any form of drug offence as the recording of a conviction can have a significant impact on your future. To find out more about the recording of a conviction, please click here.
In which Court will charges be heard?
Your charges will be heard in the Magistrates Court.
What are the penalties for possession of drug utensils
The maximum penalty for a charge of possession of drug utensils is a period of imprisonment of two years.
Can I get a good behaviour order?
You may be eligible for drug diversion if you are in possession of utensils.
What should I do if I have been charged for possession of a utensil or thing?
If you have been convicted of possession of a dangerous drug or possession of a utensil, you may be eligible to be sentenced to participate in a Drug Diversion Program.
What is the Drug Diversion Program?
The program is aimed at diverting minor drug offenders away from the Court system, by referring offenders to a relevant drug education session. Diversion is provided as an alternative to the other penalties available to the Court, such as issuing a fine or imposing a community based order.
Will I receive a conviction if I complete the Program?
No, the Court will not record the conviction on your criminal record if you successfully complete the Drug Diversion Program.
Requirements to be eligible for Court Ordered Drug Diversion
You are eligible for Court Ordered Diversion if:-
- you have been charged with an eligible offence;
- you plead guilty to the offence;
- you have not participated in diversion more than once previously; and
- the amount in your possession must be for personal use and not exceed a particular quantity.
You will not be eligible if you have previously been convicted of a violent offence, an offence of a sexual nature or a drug related offence that was dealt with on indictment (in the District or Supreme Court).
What happens if I am ordered to attend drug diversion?
If you are eligible for drug diversion, the Court will ask whether you are willing to participate in a drug diversion and attend a drug education session. You will be placed on a Recognisance Order requiring you to attend the drug education session and be of good behaviour for a specified period. You will not be further punished if you comply with the conditions of your Recognisance Order.
If you do not attend the drug education session, or commit further offences during the operational period of the Recognisance Order, the recognisance (a sum of money) will be forfeited and you may be re-sentenced for the original offence.
Possession of Property
Possessing property suspected to have been used or intended to be used in connection with a drug offence against the Drug Misuse Act 1986 (Qld) (“Drug Misuse Act”) is an offence in Queensland. This is a broad offence, and includes possession of various items such as a grinder, a set of scales or a syringe.
What is the maximum penalty for possessing property used in connection with a drug offence?
The maximum penalty for this offence depends on the type of property in your possession. For example, a lesser penalty will be imposed if you were in possession of scales than if you were in possession of a pill press. The maximum penalties range from 2 years imprisonment to 15 years imprisonment.
A Court will not necessarily impose a period of imprisonment for this offence. It is important you seek legal advice as to the likely penalty, and whether a period in custody is able to be avoided.
What if the property was not used for drug offences?
It is not necessary for the property to be used for a drug offence. You will be convicted of the offence if it is able to be demonstrated that the property was:-
- acquired for the purpose of committing a drug offence;
- used in connection with the commission of a drug offence;
- intended for use in committing a drug offence; or
- proceeds of a drug offence.
If the property was not used in connection with a drug offence, you must show a lawful reason that property was in your possession. We recommend that you seek legal advice should you believe you have been unfairly charged with this offence.
What Court will my charges be heard in?
Your charges will usually be heard in the Magistrates Court.
Will my property be confiscated?
There may be an application for your property to be forfeited to the Crown. You should seek legal advice immediately if an application has been made against you and you do not wish for the property to be forfeited.
What should I do now?
Why it’s important to get advice
There is always a range in the severity of penalty that could be imposed, even in matters where a period of mandatory imprisonment applies. The presiding Judge or Magistrate has discretion and will impose a penalty that is appropriate in your circumstances.
We can assist by ensuring the presiding Judge or Magistrate has all of the relevant information, and is aware of your particular circumstances and mitigating factors. This can result in you having a lesser penalty imposed.