If you have been arrested or charged for any drug offences you should contact us for expert advice immediately. At McKenzie McLoughlin Law, our two criminal lawyers Josh McKenzie and James McLoughlin are former prosecutors who have appeared in many drug cases. Josh and James are non-judgmental, they know the law, the relevant cases, and the defences to drug offences. They also know how the police go about their business. This is a significant advantage which sets them apart from other lawyers.
What is a drug possession offence?
The offence of possessing a prohibited drug is contained in section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act which states that:
“A person who has a prohibited drug in his or her possession is guilty of an offence.”
A conviction for possessing drugs can potentially have an impact on a person’s life, including their ability to travel or to work in particular industries. If charged with a drug possession offence, contact Josh and James for experienced legal representation.
What’s a prohibited drug?
Prohibited drugs are those listed in Schedule 3 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act.
What does it mean to possess something at law?
In respect of the term ‘possess’, this is very broadly construed and read in relation to its general meaning. As such, if you had knowledge of the item and its likely existence, and you were in control of the item, then it is likely you had possession of it.
The most obvious example is if you had a prohibited drug on your person. You may also be charged if you were deemed to be in ‘control’ of the drug. For example, if you were pulled over driving and the substance was found in the glove compartment of your car and you knew it was there.
So what do the police need to prove?
To convict you of possessing a prohibited drug, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You had a prohibited drug in your possession; AND
- You knew it was in your possession, or you knew of its likely existence and nature; or
- You believed that it was a drug.
What is meant by ‘deemed supply?’
If you are in possession of a traffickable quantity of a drug, it is presumed that you are in possession of the drugs for the purposes of supply, and as such, you may be charged with a “deemed supply”. For reference to the traffickable quantity of a particular drug, or legal advice and representation, contact Josh and James at McKenzie McLoughlin Law.
What are some defences for a charge of drug possession?
It is a defence for a charge of possessing a prohibited drug if you are:
- Licenced or authorised to supply the drug under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966;
- Acting in accordance with an authority granted by the Secretary of the Department of Health where the Secretary is satisfied that the supply of the prohibited drug is for the purpose of scientific research, instruction, analysis or study; or
- Acting in accordance with a direction given by the Commissioner of Police under section 39RA of the Act.
- A person to whom the prohibited drug has been lawfully prescribed or supplied to; or
- A person who i) Has the care of, or is assisting in the care of, another person for or to whom the prohibited drug has been lawfully prescribed or supplied, and, ii) Had the prohibited drug in your possession for the sole purpose of administering, or assisting in the self-administration of, the prohibited drug to the other person in accordance with the prescription or supply.
What are the penalties for possessing drugs if I get caught?
In NSW, possessing a prohibited drug carries a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment. Though this is the most minor form of offence in relation to prohibited substances, it is still treated very seriously by the Courts and a criminal conviction is likely.
It’s important to know that convictions for drug offences can have an additionally devastating effect in that it may limit your employment prospects and can even prevent you from travelling to some countries. For this reason if you are charged with a drug offence you need proper legal representation before and when you attend court. Josh and James are completely client focused and will be by your side for the entire court process.
If you are charged with drug supply, you should call Josh and James at Mckenzie McLoughlin Law for expert legal advice and representation. Drug supply charges are serious and the ramifications in terms of penalty can be life changing. In NSW, the offence of supplying a prohibited drug carries a maximum penalty of 5,500 penalty units and/or life imprisonment.
So what do the police need to prove?
To convict you of supplying a prohibited drug, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That you;
- Supplied, or knowingly took part in the supply of;
- A prohibited drug
There are aggravated forms of the offence which carry more significant penalties. An example would be the supply of a commercial quantity of drugs.
What is a drug supply offence?
The offence of supplying a prohibited drug is contained in section 25 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act which states: “A person who supplies, or who knowingly takes part in the supply of a prohibited drug is guilty of an offence.”
What does the term ‘supply’ mean?
The definition of ‘supply’ in the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act is very broad. It includes, “sell and distribute, and also includes agreeing to supply or offering to supply, or keeping or having in possession for supply, or sending, forwarding, delivering, or receiving for supply, or authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of those acts or things.”
That is, it covers individuals during every part of the process. You do not have to be in the act of receiving money for drugs to be charged under this section.example, you can be charged with supply for receiving or possessing prohibited drugs that you intend to supply in the future. Likewise, an offer or agreement to supply prohibited drugs will be sufficient to prove a supply.
What is deemed supply?
If you are in possession of a traffickable quantity of a drug, it is presumed that you are in possession of the drugs for the purposes of supply, and as such, you may be charged with a “deemed supply”. Police will likely rely on the drug weight and any other drug indicia to try and prove this charge. Other drug indicia would include scales for the weighing of drugs, or plastic resealable bags.
What are the available penalties and the consequences?
Drug supply offences may also result in sentences that include imprisonment even where an individual has no previous convictions.
The consequences of a conviction can be serious depending upon what you do for a living. Some jobs require you to have no criminal convictions and a conviction for a drug supply charge might jeopardise your job or make it difficult to obtain visas for overseas travel.
In some circumstances, a conviction for a drug supply charge may completely rule out certain career paths such as teaching and a range of government employment options.
What so I do if I’m charged with supply drug?
At Mckenzie McLoughlin Law, Josh and James’s experience is your advantage. Josh was previously a Police Prosecutor who has detailed knowledge in prosecuting and defending drug matters at court. He has also worked as a criminal investigator with a Sydney Detectives Office dealing in serious criminal matters. As such, he has a detailed knowledge of police techniques in investigating matters and compiling their evidence. This is a significant advantage for any client charged with drug matters.
James McLoughlin was a Police Prosecutor for many years both in the adult and children’s jurisdictions in Sydney, NSW. Subsequent to his time with the police, James acted as a criminal lawyer for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). James has an incredible amount of knowledge and experience dealing in summary and indictable criminal matters.
If you are looking for that important advantage when choosing your criminal legal representative then choose Josh and James at Mckenzie McLoughlin Law. James and Josh are experienced former prosecutors and tenacious advocates, who will always fight hard for you. At McKenzie McLoughlin Law we know that there are two sides to every story, so let us tell yours.