If you’ve been charged with a drug offence, you need a specialist criminal defence lawyer to ensure your future is not thrown away along with the key.
Drugs in Queensland
The war on drugs in Queensland (and Australia generally) has resulted in police targeting almost everyone they meet for drug-related charges. A “reasonable suspicion” is all that is needed to search you, your car and your home for drugs. More sophisticated intelligence gathering methods such as listening to phone calls, covert surveillance and using undercover police (LEPs) means it has become very difficult to defend a drug charge.
What can police charge me with?
Charges can range from simple street possession of a few pills or grams, right up to attempting to import hundreds of kilograms from another country by ship or plane. Even simply being the occupier of a house or car with drugs in it can mean you are liable for possession of those drugs.
Trafficking vs Supply
One of the most common questions we get is to explain the difference between supply and trafficking.
Put simply, trafficking requires the “carrying on of a business” to be established. But that doesn’t mean you have to be successful and make lots of money — just that it’s fairly regular and widespread. It can be as short as a day, or a few weeks and up to many years. Evidence in the form of text messages or recorded phone calls is usually used to prove trafficking, as well as tick sheets or other records of sales and debts owed.
Supply, on the other hand, is usually infrequent and low level, involving smaller quantities to friends here and there. It doesn’t have the required element of being a regular business. An offer to supply drugs is enough to be charged, even if it can’t be proven any supply actually took place.
Sentencing for drug offences
When it comes to sentencing, the court will look at a number of factors to decide the appropriate penalty. If it’s a possession or production charge, the court will consider the pure weight of the drug and whether there’s any evidence of commerciality (i.e. whether it’s for personal use or not). Sometimes there might be evidence that shows you were holding the drugs for someone else (constructive possession) which can be used to reduce the sentence.
For trafficking and supply, the court looks at the total number of supplies or the trafficking period, the type of drug and quantity sold, and any evidence of profit made. In addition, whether you have any criminal history, together with your age and background can play an important role in the sentence you receive. If you have a drug problem, then proving you’ve been clean since you were charged and showing attempts at rehabilitation can have a substantial impact as well.
Why use a specialist criminal defence lawyer?
We have dealt with all types of drug offences in Queensland — including possession, supply, producing, trafficking and importing drugs. Imprisonment is within range for all of these offences depending on the facts of each case, but it is certainly not inevitable, even for drug trafficking.
That is why it is vital to have an experienced criminal defence lawyer who is familiar with the evidence and an expert in presenting you to the court in the best possible light. Not many lawyers can say they have personally appeared in the District or Supreme Court and argued to have their client remain out of jail on a charge of drug trafficking, but we definitely can.
Right from the beginning of your matter we ensure you undertake urine drug testing, attend rehabilitation courses or centres, and receive treatment and expert reports from forensic psychologists and psychiatrists if required. This care and attention is what sets us apart and what you can count on to get you the best possible result. If the recording of a conviction is going to have a significant impact on your life and career aspirations, then we do everything we can to ensure that does not happen.
If you want to fight the charges against you, then our attention to detail means we can pick out evidence that casts doubt on the case. We are successful negotiators and can get your charges dropped or downgraded if there’s evidence to work with. At trial, we will fight to ensure you remain out of jail and are able to move on with your life.