JJ Blog Content 13 JUL 2023 04

The Common Drug Offences in NSW You Should Know

Understanding the common drug offences in NSW is important for everyone. Whether you’re a law-abiding citizen or someone facing drug-related charges, knowing these laws and offences empowers you to make informed decisions and protect your interests. In this article, we will discuss the drug laws in NSW, shed light on the most common drug offences and emphasise the importance of seeking legal assistance from experienced drug lawyers, like those at Jackson John Defence Lawyers.

What Are the Drug Laws in NSW?

Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW)

The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985  (NSW) is the primary legislation governing drug offences in NSW. It outlines the various drug-related crimes, penalties and legal procedures. Under this act, it is illegal to use, manufacture, possess, supply or traffic prohibited drugs. The severity of the offence and the potential penalties depend on factors, such as the type and quantity of drugs involved, as well as the defendant’s intent.

The Act prohibits a range of substances, including well-known street drugs like cannabis (marijuana), ecstasy, heroin, LSD, amphetamines, methadone, cocaine and numerous others.

Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1996 (NSW) 

In addition to the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW), the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1996 (NSW) addresses the regulation of synthetic drugs. This act aims to control the distribution, sale and possession of substances that mimic the effects of prohibited drugs. Synthetic drugs, also known as ‘designer drugs’ or ‘legal highs,’ can be just as harmful as traditional illicit substances, and their possession or sale can lead to serious legal consequences.

Commonwealth Criminal Code

While NSW state laws cover most drug offences, certain drug-related crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. These offences typically involve cross-border drug trafficking, importation or activities that extend beyond state boundaries. It is essential to understand that drug offences can have both state and federal implications, and seeking legal advice from knowledgeable drug lawyers is crucial to navigate the complex legal landscape.

The Most Common Drug Offences in NSW

Possession of Prohibited Drugs

Possession of prohibited drugs occurs when an individual has drugs in their possession, either on their person, in their vehicle or in their property. To prove that an offender was in possession of drugs, three important elements are:

  • Knowledge: It must be demonstrated that the offender was aware or should have been aware (inferred) that the drug was in their possession.
  • Custody: The concept of custody relates to whether the drug was in the offender’s near possession or if they had control over its disposition, meaning you have authority and influence over the drug’s location and transportation.
  • Control: It must be established that the offender had the ability to use, transport or had the intention to use the drugs. This element emphasises your level of control over the substances in question.

Under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW), the penalty for possession of prohibited drugs is a fine of 20 penalty units, imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both. However, the severity of the penalties depends on various factors, including the type and quantity of drugs involved, as well as whether the intent to supply can be proven. 

Supply of Prohibited Drugs

Supplying and trafficking prohibited drugs are among the most serious drug offences in NSW. These offences involve activities, such as selling, distributing or transporting illicit substances. The offence of supplying prohibited drugs happens when:

  • Someone gives drugs to another person or helps in giving drugs to another person
  • Someone who is 18 years or older gives drugs (except cannabis leaf) to someone under 16 years old or helps in giving drugs to someone under 16 years old
  • Someone gives a large amount of drugs (at least the specified commercial quantity) or helps in giving a large amount of drugs
  • Someone who is 18 years or older gives a large amount of drugs (except cannabis leaf) to someone under 16 years old or helps in giving a large amount of drugs to someone under 16 years old.

The penalties for drug supply and trafficking are severe, and they can vary depending on factors, such as the quantity and type of drugs, the role of the accused (whether they are considered a small-scale dealer or part of a larger operation) and the defendant’s criminal history. You can find the details of these penalties here.

Use of Prohibited Drugs

The use of prohibited drugs involves consuming or being under the influence of illegal substances, such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. Under all circumstances, it is considered an offence to engage in the administration or attempted administration of drugs, whether to oneself or another individual. Even if the person gives consent for drug administration, particularly in the case of injections, it is still illegal. 

The act of drug usage encompasses various actions, including swallowing, snorting, injecting, smoking or any other form of prohibited drug consumption. While the penalties for drug use tend to be less severe compared to other drug offences, it is important to note that this is still a criminal offence that can result in fines, mandatory drug education programs or even imprisonment.

How Drug Lawyers Can Help You with a Drug Offence

When facing a drug offence in NSW, the assistance of experienced drug lawyers can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here’s how drug lawyers in Sydney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights:

Expertise in NSW Drug Laws

Drug lawyers specialising in NSW laws possess in-depth knowledge of the state’s specific legislation and regulations surrounding drug offences. They stay up to date with any recent changes or developments that may impact your case. This expertise allows them to provide accurate advice tailored to the unique circumstances of your situation.

Strategic Defence Planning

Drug lawyers understand that each case is different and requires a customised approach. They will carefully analyse the evidence, identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and develop a strong defence strategy. This may include challenging the legality of searches or seizures, examining the chain of custody of evidence or presenting alternative explanations for the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence.

Protection of Your Rights

Drug lawyers are dedicated to safeguarding your rights throughout the legal process. They will ensure that you are treated fairly, that proper procedures are followed and that your interests are represented at every stage. They can also advise you on the potential consequences of various legal options, helping you make informed decisions about your case.

Negotiating with Prosecution

Experienced drug lawyers have expertise in negotiating with prosecutors. They can explore potential avenues for reduced charges, alternative sentencing options or diversion programs where appropriate. Their negotiation skills and legal knowledge can increase the likelihood of obtaining a more favourable outcome, such as reduced penalties or even the dismissal of charges.

Court Representation

If your case goes to court, having a skilled drug lawyer by your side is invaluable. They will present a strong defence, cross-examine witnesses, challenge the prosecution’s evidence and articulate persuasive arguments on your behalf. Their courtroom experience and familiarity with the NSW legal system can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

When facing drug charges, seeking legal representation from experienced drug lawyers is crucial to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome. At Jackson John Defence Lawyers, we specialise in criminal defence law, with a strong focus on drug offences. Our dedicated team of experts has an extensive and varied case history, providing quality legal representation to our clients.

With Jackson John Defence Lawyers, you can expect personalised attention, a thorough understanding of the NSW drug laws and a strategic defence tailored to your unique circumstances. Our drug lawyers in Sydney are well-versed in the complexities of drug offences and have a track record of achieving favourable outcomes for our clients.

Don’t navigate the legal system alone when facing drug charges. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.