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Possession of Precursors for Manufacture

In New South Wales it is an offence to possess a substance that is a ‘precursor’ to an illegal drug. A precursor is an ingredient or substance that can be used along with other ingredients or substances to make an illegal drug. Precursors include things such as chemicals, plants, fungi or other natural organisms.

A person can be charged with this offence if they have a substance which is shown to be a precursor to an illegal drug and they do not have a reasonable excuse for having it.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years imprisonment or 1000 penalty units.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a possession of precursors charge.


The offence of Possess Precursor is contained in section 24B(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 and states:

A person who has in his or her possession a precursor of a quantity not less than the quantity prescribed by the regulations in relation to that precursor is guilty of an offence.

What Actions Might Constitute Possession of Precursor?

Examples of actions that could lead to a charge of possessing a precursor include:

  • having ten boxes of pseudoephedrine in your car;
  • being found to have a jug which contains benzaldehyde (a chemical used to make methamphetamine) in your garage;
  • having several small canisters of methylamine (a gas used to make methamphetamine) in your backpack; or
  • storing multiple chemicals and plants in your makeshift drug lab.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of Possess Precursor the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • that you were in possession of a substance;
  • that the substance was a precursor to a prohibited drug; and
  • you were aware you were in possession of the substance.

Possible Defences for Possession of Precursor

The common ways to defend this charge are:

  • to maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
  • to argue that you were not in possession of the substance;
  • to argue that the substance is not a precursor to a prohibited drug;
  • to argue that you were not aware you were in possession of the substance;
  • to argue that you had the substance for a lawful activity or that you otherwise have a reasonable excuse for having it.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

The offence is a Table 1 offence which means that it will be finalised in the Local Court unless you or the Prosecutor chooses to have it dealt with in the District 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 >

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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