Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Drug Possession Charges
In New South Wales, the offence of possessing a prohibited drug carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment. The offence of drug possession is contained in section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. This article outlines the other penalties that can be imposed for this offence, what must be proven and possible defences.
What drugs are illegal to possess?
There is a very long list of drugs that are illegal to possess. The most common examples include:
What is a Prohibited Drug?
In the Schedule of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act there is a long list of drugs that are illegal to possess. Under the Act, there is also another category of substances known as “restricted substances”. Restricted substances include drugs that you can get with a prescription (such as Xanax, or steroids), and chemicals that you need a licence to possess. Possessing those substances without authority is a different and generally less serious offence.
What the police must prove
Police need to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt for the court to find a person guilty of this offence:
- That they possessed a substance
- That the substance was a prohibited drug
- That they knew they were in possession of that substance
A person charged with possession of drugs may validly argue any of the following defences.
Honest and reasonable mistake
A person would not be guilty of an offence if they had an honest and reasonable belief that the substance they possessed was a legal substance.
The Carey Defence
The Carey Defence is a defence that applies when a person was temporarily in possession of someone else’s drug.
A person is not guilty of a drug offence if they were acting under duress. This means that a serious threat was made to their life or the life of another person and they carried out the act only in response to that threat.
The drug was not an illicit drug
The accused will be found not guilty if the prosecution cannot prove that the drug was the drug alleged. This must be done through testing and analysing the drug. An unbroken chain of possession much be proven to have occurred while the drug was in the police’s possession ie there was no opportunity for the drug to be tampered with or mixed up with another sample.
What court will hear your matter?
If the only charge the accused is facing is possession of a drug, then the matter will be decided in the Local Court. However, people charged with possession are often also charged with supplying a prohibited drug which is an offence that has to be decided in the District or Supreme Court.
The possible penalties are outlined below.
Section 10 – avoiding a criminal record
Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal or traffic 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 were able to convince the court not to convict you, there would be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases a court has the discretion not to convict you but deal with you under the terms of section 10.
By far the most common penalty imposed by the Local Court is a fine. When deciding the amount of any fine the Magistrate or Judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set.
Good behaviour bonds
A good behaviour bond 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 5 years.
Community service order
A Community Service Order (CSO) 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. Certain medical conditions could exclude you from being suitable to undertake a work order.
A suspended sentence (Section 12 good behaviour bond) is a gaol sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the gaol sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to 2 years.
Periodic detention is a form of imprisonment. It involves detention in a periodic detention centre for a two day period each week for the length of the sentence set by the court. The two-day period commences at 7.00 pm on the day of the week specified (usually Friday) and ends at 4.30 pm on the second day following the day so specified (usually Sunday).
This is the most severe form of punishment and involves being locked up in a prison. Before a court imposes a prison sentence it must be satisfied that no other penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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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