Penalties for drug possession in Queensland

Naturally, this is one of the most common questions we encounter. The answer depends on a few factors: the quantity (and purity) of drugs, whether they were for personal use, your age, and any criminal history.

  • Low level first-time offenders (e.g. up to a couple of grams) can usually expect drug diversion, a fine, or probation.
  • More serious charges (e.g. possession of over 10-15g, drug supply, drug trafficking, producing drugs, or importing drugs) usually result in jail time, which can be suspended, immediate parole, or actual jail.

With George Criminal Lawyers on your side, we fight hard to defend you and secure the best outcome possible.

Evidence used in drug charges

The never-ending war on drugs 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.

About 50% of the time, drug charges are a result of police stopping you or searching your car for drugs. The other 50% comes from police executing search warrants, based on information they’ve uncovered about your activities.

Police are looking for drugs and anything used in connection with the commission of a drug offence. This might include clip seal bags, scales, pipes and bongs, needles and syringes, notebooks (tick sheets), and mobile phones. If wads of cash can’t be explained properly, police will seize it as evidence of suspected drug offences.

In more serious matters, police might have evidence from telephone intercept warrants, where they have listened in on phone calls and intercepted text messages. They also rely on evidence obtained from covert surveillance and undercover police (LEPs). This means it has become very difficult to defend a drug charge. But it’s not impossible, and that’s where our experience comes in.

Drugs Misuse Act charges

Charges under the Queensland Drugs Misuse Act and Commonwealth Criminal Code 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 or owner of a house or car with drugs in it can mean you can be charged for possession of those drugs.

The most frequently charged offences are:

  • Possessing dangerous drugs
  • Possess utensils or pipes etc that had been used
  • Supplying dangerous drugs
  • Trafficking in dangerous drugs
  • Producing dangerous drugs
  • Possessing anything for use in the commission of an offence
  • Possessing anything used in connection with the commission of an offence
  • Possessing proceeds

Trafficking or supplying drugs — which is it?

We are often asked to explain the difference between supplying drugs and drug trafficking.

Put simply, drug 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, up to many years. Evidence in the form of text messages or recorded phone calls is usually used to prove drug trafficking, as well as tick sheets or other records of sales and debts owed.

Supplying drugs is usually infrequent and low level, involving smaller quantities to people here and there. It doesn’t have the required element of being a regular business. It is also important to realise that even an offer to supply drugs, without any proof that supply actually took place, is enough to be charged.

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 you should choose George Criminal Lawyers

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. Our lawyers have personally appeared in the District Court and Supreme Court to prevent jail terms for charges including drug trafficking.

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 to detail 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 years of experience and attention to detail means we can pick the evidence apart. We are extremely successful in having charges dropped or downgraded if there’s evidence to work with. And if you end up in court for a trial, you have the best possible chance of being found not guilty, out of jail, and able to move on with your life.

Contact us now to get started. Your future depends on it.

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