Drug possession and supply offences are dealt with in the Local and District Court.  Depending on the type of drug and the quantity, the offence will be categorised as a possession offence or a supply offence.  The penalty is also dependent on the type of drug and the quantity.

What Is Drug Possession?

Possession of prohibited drug is an offence under Section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985.  To be in possession of a drug, is to intentionally have control over it.

What Is Supply?

Supply prohibited drug is a criminal offence under Section 25 of the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act  1985.  In a nutshell, to supply a drug is to knowingly took part in the supply of a prohibited drug, or to knowingly take part in any of the steps to supply a prohibited drug.

What Are The Penalties?

If your matter stays in the Local Court the maximum sentence available to the Court is 2 years.  A fine may also be imposed, which varies from drug to drug.  If your matter goes to the District Court, depending on the offence, the drug and the quantity, you may face anywhere from a maximum of     5 years to life in prison.

Pleading Guilty

Before pleading guilty, it is imperative that you obtain legal advice first.  Drug matters can be very complex.  With the appropriate advice, and good representation, there may be scope for negotiations with the Police, to have your charges possibly withdrawn or downgraded.  It would be of benefit to you to do this at the earliest opportunity, as you would reap the benefit of a 25% discount off your sentence if you enter an early guilty plea.  This discount is reduced over time.

Pleading Not Guilty

If there is a plausible defence to the charge, the charge should be defended.  As noted above, it is imperative that you obtain legal advice before entering a plea.  If you enter a plea of not guilty, your matter will be given a trial date.  AT the trial, the evidence to be relied on by Police, will be put before the Court.  Depending on the complexity of the matter, this may be before a jury.  It is critical that legal representation is sought well in advance to properly prepare the matter.


On sentence, the Magistrate will consider not only the offence itself, but also your personal circumstances.  If you are found guilty and convicted, this could have a major impact on your employment.  Often drug offences are to be disclosed when travelling and if you have been charged with a serious drug offence, you may not be able to enter certain countries.

How Can We Make Sure We Get the Best Result?

Drug offences are serious and require the expertise of well-trained criminal lawyers.  If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug offence, contact our team to discuss.

The content of this article is general in nature. To seek qualified advice from our Criminal Law Team you can contact our Sutherland office by calling us at – 9525 8688 – or by email on – wmd@wmdlaw.com.au