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Offences Involving Steroids

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

This section includes the changes to the laws involving steroids, the possession and supply offences and their maximum penalties.

Steroids include anabolic/androgenic steroidal agents such as Bolasterone, Testosterone, Clostebol and Mesabolone.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for steroid related offences:

Recent Changes

In early 2014 the government amended certain laws applying to steroids. Prior to the amendments, steroids were essentially classified as prescription drugs under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966. There was a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment if you possessed steroids that weren’t prescribed to you. The amendments reclassified steroids as narcotics under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. This means that the numerous possession and supply narcotics offences now apply to steroids. The penalties for possessing or supplying narcotics range from a maximum of 2 to 25 years imprisonment.


Self-Administration of Steroids

Under s12 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, it is an offence to administer or attempt to administer a prohibited drug (such as steroids) to yourself.

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 20 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear your matter?

This is a summary matter and will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What are the elements the prosecution must prove?

To convict you of self-administer a prohibited drug, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • The substance is steroids; and
  • You administered steroids to yourself OR you attempted to administer steroids to yourself.

Self-administering includes any means of introducing steroids into your body, whether by injecting, taking tablets, powders or by any other means.

Administration of Steroids to others

Under s13 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, it is an offence to administer or attempt to administer a prohibited drug (such as steroids) to another person.

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 20 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear your matter?

This matter is a summary matter and will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What are the elements the prosecution must prove?

To convict you of administer a prohibited drug, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • The substance is steroids; and
  • You administered steroids to another person OR you attempted to administer steroids to another person.

Administering includes any means of introducing steroids into another person’s body, whether by injecting, taking tablets, powders or by any other means.

Possession of Steroids

Under s10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, it is an offence to possess a prohibited drug (such as steroids).

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 20 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear your matter?

This matter is a summary matter and will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What are the elements the prosecution must prove?

To convict you of possession of steroids, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You had steroids in your possession; and
  • You knew it was in your possession, or knew of its likely existence and nature, or you believed that it was steroids.

What is "deemed supply"?

S29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act states that if you have a certain weight or amount of steroids (the traffickable quantity) then it is automatically presumed that you are in possession of the drug to supply it. In other words, the drugs are automatically deemed to be for supply and you will be charged with supply rather than possession, unless you can prove that the drugs are for personal use.

If you have 50g or more of steroids in your possession, then you can be charged with supply under the deeming provision.

Supply of Steroids

Under s25 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, it is an offence to supply a prohibited drug (such as steroids).

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 2000 penalty units and/or 15 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear your matter?

If the steroids exceed 750g (the indictable quantity), the matter is strictly indictable and it must be finalised in the District Court.

If the steroids are between 50g and 750g (the small and indictable quantities, respectively) the matter is a Table 1 offence and either you or the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court, otherwise it will be heard in the Local Court.

If the steroids are less than 50g (the small quantity) the matter is a Table 2 offence and the DPP can elect to have it dealt with in the District Court, otherwise it will be heard in the Local Court.

The table below lists the relevant drug quantities:

Small quantity Traffickable quantity Indictable quantity Commercial quantity Large Commercial quantity
50g 500g 700g 5kg -

What are the elements the prosecution must prove?

To convict you of supply of steroids, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You supplied steroids; OR
  • You knowingly took part in the supply of steroids.

Remember: to prove supply the prosecution have to prove that either you posesssed more than 750g (that wasn’t for personal use) or (for a smaller amount) that you actually supplied steroids to someone else.

"Knowingly take part in" means taking, participating in or causing any step in the process of manufacture, production or supply or arranging finance for that step or providing the premises in which that step takes place. To establish this the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you had actual knowledge, a belief or were aware of the likelihood that you were dealing with steroids.

Ongoing Supply of Steroids

Under s25A of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, it is an offence to supply a prohibited drug (such as steroids) three or more times in a 30 day period.

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 3500 penalty units and/or 20 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear your matter?

This offence is strictly indictable and will be heard in the District Court, unless it is considered to be serious enough to be heard by the Supreme Court (which is rare for ongoing supply charges).

What are the elements the prosecution must prove?

To convict you of ongoing supply of steroids, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You supplied steroids to another person or persons;
  • The supplies were on three or more separate occasions within a 30 day period; and
  • The supply of steroids was for financial or material reward.

Manufacture and Production of Steroids

Under s 24 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, it is an offence to manufacture or produce a prohibited drug (such as steroids).

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 2000 penalty units and/or 10 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear your matter?

If the steroids exceed 750g (the indictable quantity), the matter is strictly indictable and it must be finalised in the District Court or, if serious enough, the Supreme Court.

If the steroids are between 50g and 750g (the small and indictable quantities, respectively) the matter is a Table 1 offence and either you or the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court, otherwise it will be heard in the Local Court.

If the steroids are less than 50g (the small quantity) the matter is a Table 2 offence and the DPP can elect to have it dealt with in the District Court, otherwise it will be heard in the Local Court.

The table below lists the relevant drug quantities:

Small quantity Traffickable quantity Indictable quantity Commercial quantity Large Commercial quantity
50g 500g 700g 5kg -

What are the elements the prosecution must prove?

To convict you of manufacture or production of steroids, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • The substance is steroids; and
  • You manufactured or produced the steroids OR you knowingly took part in the manufacture or production of the steroids.

"Knowingly take part in" means taking, participating in or causing any step in the process of manufacture, production or supply or arranging finance for that step or providing the premises in which that step takes place. To establish this the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you had actual knowledge, a belief or were aware of the likelihood that you were dealing with steroids.

What are the possible defences for these offences?

Prescribed Steroids

It is a complete defence to possession or supply offences if the steroids were legitimately prescribed to you by a doctor or medical practitioner. It is also a defence if the steroids were legitimately prescribed to a person that you are in care of or assisting in the care of.

It should be remembered that it is an offence to forge, alter or obtain a prescription by making false representations under s 16 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act.

The “Carey Defence”

If you were only temporarily in possession of steroids with the intention of returning them to the owner of the drug this may also be raised as a defence.

THE DANGERS OF COMPLETING A WRITTEN NOTICE OF PLEADING:

The form seems straight forward and can seem to be an attractive alternative to attending court in person. However using them can be a very bad idea.

It is important to be wary of Police that convey to you that they you can simply complete the written notice instead of attending court. While technically true, it is not advisable. Not only does it reflect poorly on you but you can be convicted and sentenced in your absence with little chance to advocate your case. Read More >



Types of penalties:

Jail for a use of prohibited drugs charge:
This is the most serious penalty for offences involving steroids and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Intensive correction order for offences involving steroids (ICO):
This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Periodic detention for offences involving steroids (commonly known as weekend detention):
This form of imprisonment ceased to be a sentencing option in October 2010.

Suspended sentence for offences involving steroids:
This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Community service order for offences involving steroids (CSO):
This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Good behaviour bond for offences involving steroids:
This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Fines for offences involving steroids:
When deciding the amount of a fine for a prohibited drugs charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10 for an offence involving steroids:
Avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.


where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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