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Supply Prohibited Drugs on an Ongoing Basis


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW there is a specific offence for supplying drugs on an ongoing basis. The offence applies to all prohibited drugs except cannabis. A person can be charged with the offence if they supply any amount of drugs on three separate occasions within any 30 day period in exchange for money or some other compensation. The charge is extremely serious and carries a maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment or 3,500 penalty units.

This is one of the highest maximum penalties for drug related offences in NSW. As an illustration, a person who supplies one ecstasy pill three times in a month is liable to the same penalty as someone who supplies 1,000 ecstasy pills.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for supplying prohibited drugs on an Ongoing Basis.


The offence of supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis is contained in s 25A of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act and states:

A person who, on 3 or more separate occasions during any period of 30 consecutive days, supplies a prohibited drug (other than cannabis) for financial or material reward is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: 3,500 penalty units or imprisonment for 20 years, or both.


Common examples of supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis include:

  • Dealing drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, ice or heroin three or more times in a month;
  • Agreeing to organise cocaine for you and your friends in exchange for not having to pay for all of your share three Saturday nights in the same month;
  • Selling a friend a small amount of ice every week from your own stash; or
  • Buying 60 pills for $600 and selling 20 to three street dealers for $250 each.


To convict you of supplying prohibited drug on an ongoing basis, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You supplied a substance that is a prohibited drug on three or more occasions;
  • Those occasions were within 30 consecutive days; and
  • You obtained money or another form of compensation.


The most common ways to defend this charge are:

  • To maintain that you did not supply any drugs;
  • To argue that the drugs aren’t prohibited drugs;
  • To argue that you did not do so three times or more times within 30 consecutive days;
  • To argue that you did not receive a financial or material reward; or
  • To raise necessity or duress as the reason for your conduct.


The charge is strictly indictable which means that it will be finalised in the District or Supreme Court.

Types of penalties:

Jail: This is the most serious penalty for supplying drugs on an ongoing basis and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention: 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 (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: 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 (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: 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: When deciding the amount of a fine for supplying drugs on an ongoing basis the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10: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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