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Supply prohibited drug

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW, the offence of supplying a prohibited drug carries a maximum penalty of 5,500 penalty units and/or life imprisonment.

Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act sets out the small, traffickable, indictable, commercial and large commercial quantities for each prohibited drug. The type of drug and amount supplied will substantially affect the type of penalty the Court will consider.

The maximum penalties for each offence can be found beneath the heading "Maximum Penalties for Each Offence" below.


Small quantity Traffickable quantity Indictable quantity Commercial quantity Large Commercial quantity
Cannabis leaf 30.0g 300.0g 1,000.0g 25.0kg 100.0kg
Ecstasy 0.8g 3.0g 5.0g 250.0g 1.0kg
Cocaine / Heroin / Amphetamine 1.0g 3.0g 5.0g 250.0g 1.0kg

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a supply prohibited drug charge.


MAXIMUM PENALTIES FOR EACH OFFENCE:

Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act sets out the amount considered to be a small, traffickable, indictable, commercial and large commercial quantity.

Small Quantity

The maximum penalty is a fine of 50 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 2 years.

Traffickable Quantity

The maximum penalty in the Local Court is a fine of 100 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Indictable Quantity

The maximum penalty in the Local Court is a fine of 100 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty in the District Court is 200 penalty units and/or 15 years imprisonment.

Commercial Quantity

The maximum penalty is a fine of 3,500 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 20 years.

Large Commercial Quantity

The maximum penalty is a fine of 5,500 penalty units and/or life imprisonment.

THE OFFENCE OF SUPPLYING A PROHIBITED DRUG:

The offence of supplying a prohibited drug is contained in section 25 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act which states: "A person who supplies, or who knowingly takes part in the supply of a prohibited drug is guilty of an offence."

WHAT ACTIONS MIGHT CONSTITUTE SUPPLYING A PROHIBITED DRUG?

  • The definition of supply in the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act is very broad. It includes to "sell and distribute, and also includes agreeing to supply or offering to supply, or keeping or having in possession for supply, or sending, forwarding, delivering, or receiving for supply, or authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of those acts or things."
  • That is, it covers individuals during every part of the process. You do not have to be in the act of receiving money for drugs to be charged under this section.
  • For example, you can be charged with supply for receiving or possessing prohibited drugs that you intend to supply in the future.
  • Likewise, an offer or agreement to supply prohibited drugs will be sufficient to prove a supply.
  • You can also be charged under this section for what is referred to as a "social supply".
  • In addition, if you are in possession of a traffickable quantity of a drug, it is presumed that you are in possession of the drugs for the purposes of supply, and as such, you may be charged with "deemed supply".

WHAT THE POLICE MUST PROVE:

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

  • That you;
  • Supplied, or knowingly took part in the supply of;
  • A prohibited drug

POSSIBLE DEFENCES FOR SUPPLYING A PROHIBITED DRUG

It is a defence for a charge of supplying a prohibited drug if you are:

  • Licenced or authorised to supply the drug under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966;
  • Acting in accordance with an authority granted by the Secretary of the Department of Health where the Secretary is satisfied that the supply of the prohibited drug is for the purpose of scientific research, instruction, analysis or study; or
  • Acting in accordance with a direction given by the Commissioner of Police under section 39RA.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

This will depend on the quantity of the drug supplied.

Where the amount exceeds the indictable quantity, this matter is strictly indictable which means that it cannot be finalised in the Local Court. Strictly indictable matters usually go to the District Court, except for offences that are extremely serious such as murder, which would then go to the Supreme Court.

Where the amount does not exceed the indictable quantity, this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

Where the amount does not exceed the small quantity, this matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

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 >

THE CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION

The consequences of a conviction can be serious depending upon what you do for a living. Some jobs require you to have no criminal convictions and a conviction for a drug supply charge might jeopardise your job or make it difficult to obtain visas for overseas travel. Moreover a conviction for a drug supply charge can completely rule out certain career paths such as teaching and a range of government employment options. Drug supply offences may also result in sentences that include imprisonment even where an individual has no previous convictions.

It is important to get legal advice at an early stage to ascertain precisely what the consequences of a conviction may be and whether you have a defence to the charge.


Types of penalties:

Jail for a supply prohibited drug charge charge: This is the most serious penalty for a supply prohibited drug charge and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention for a supply prohibited drug charge: Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.

Intensive corrections order for a supply prohibited drug charge (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.

Suspended sentence for a supply prohibited drug charge: 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 a supply prohibited drug charge. (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 a supply prohibited drug charge: 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 a supply prohibited drug charge: When deciding the amount of a fine for a supply prohibited drug charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10 for a supply prohibited drug charge: 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.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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