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    Drug Possession

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      Best Drug Possession Lawyers

      Our drug possession lawyers have over 10 years’ experience appearing in Courts throughout Australia almost every day.

      Being charged with possess prohibited drug is not uncommon. You will naturally be concerned about maintaining an unblemished criminal record.

      Our specialist drug lawyers are well known by Magistrates and Judges and have obtained countless Section 10 no conviction orders (now known as a Conditional Release Order without conviction). We can also have you found not guilty if the Police cannot prove that you had possession of the drug.

      Contact us now to speak to a specialist drug lawyer.

      WHAT SHOULD I DO?

      • PLEADING NOT GUILTY

        What is drug possession?

        Section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) sets out that if you have custody and control of a prohibited drug, you can be guilty of an offence.

         

        How do you beat a drug possession charge?

        You can fight a possess prohibited drug charge in two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

        1. You had possession (ie. physical control or custody) of the alleged drug; and
        2. You had knowledge or ought to have known that it was there; and
        3. It was a prohibited drug.

        If any of these elements are not made out, then you can be found ‘not guilty’.

        Secondly, you can rely on one of the defences.

         

        What are the Defences to Drug Possession?

        You can defend a charge of Possess prohibited drug in the following ways:

        1. Illegal search: Police found the drug after an ‘illegal search’. This means that police did the search without having a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that you were involved in illegal activity.
        2. Filipetti defence: It is reasonably possible that someone other than you, who had access to the area it was found, had control and custody of the drugs or placed it there. This can apply if the drug was found in a common shared area of a house or car which is also used by others (Filipetti (1984) 13 A Crim R 335).
        3. Duress: You were forced to have possession of the drug;
        4. Necessity: Your actions were necessary in the circumstances
      • PLEADING GUILTY

        If after receiving detailed advice from a specialist drug possession lawyer, you decide that the best course is for you to plead guilty, we can begin preparing your case to obtain the best possible outcome.

        You can refer to our guide for pleading guilty to drug offences for some general advice, however, you should consult a criminal drug lawyer for advice specific to your case.

        Contact us now to speak to our accredited specialist drug possession solicitor.

         

        What is the penalty for Drug Possession?

        The maximum penalty for Possess prohibited drug is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200.

         

        What are the Possible Sentences for drug possession?

        Below is a list of possible sentences for drug possession:

        1. Section 10(1)(a) non conviction
        2. Conditional Release Order (without conviction)
        3. Fine
        4. Conditional Release Order (with conviction)
        5. Community Correction Order
        6. Intensive Corrections Order
        7. Full Time Imprisonment

         

        Will you receive a criminal conviction for Drug Possession?

        Looking at statistics over the last 5 years, 32% of offenders received no criminal conviction for drug possession. All remaining offenders received criminal convictions and 1% of offenders received a sentence of full-time imprisonment.

        The most common penalty was a fine for drug possession in NSW.

        Clearly, avoiding a conviction is far from a guarantee for this offence. As such, you should speak to one of our specialist drug lawyers for drug possession charges.

      FAQ

      First time drug possession charges NSW?

      Looking at drug possession statistics from the last 5 years, it is clear that first time drug possession offenders are unlikely to face jail time. However, there is a much stronger likelihood of receiving a criminal conviction. Of all first time drug possession offenders, only half received non-convictions.

       

      How long does drug possession stay on your record?

      If you receive a criminal conviction for drug possession, it will stay on your record for 10 years from the date the conviction is recorded. If you receive a jail sentence of more than 6 months (including an Intensive Corrections Order), the conviction will stay on your record for the rest of your life.

      If you are placed on a Condition Release Order Without Conviction, it will stay on your record for the duration of the bond. Once the bond has concluded, it will no longer be on your criminal record.

      If you receive a ‘Section 10 dismissal, it will not stay on your record.

       

      Can drug charges be dropped?

      Yes. We can negotiate with Police to have drug charges dropped if you have an arguable defence. A common example of this is when Police cannot prove that you had ‘exclusive possession’ of the drugs.

      For example, the drugs may have been found in a car or house that other people had access to

       

      Can I be found guilty if I was holding the drugs for a friend?

      Yes. You are technically still in possession of the drugs (ie. You have ‘custody and control’ of the drugs).

       

      Can I be found guilty if I didn’t know I had the drugs?

      The decision of He Kaw Teh v R [1985] HCA 43; 157 CLR 523 confirmed that knowledge was required in order to be found guilty of drug possession. Gibbs CJ held at [529-530]:

      “it is unlikely that the Parliament intended the consequences of committing an offence so serious should be visited on a person who had no intention to do anything wrong and no knowledge that he or she was doing so.”

      As such, if you had no knowledge of the drugs, you will not be guilty of the offence.

       

      Can Police use a sniffer dog detection to search me?

      Police may attempt to rely on a sniffer dog detection as a basis to search you. This alone is not sufficient grounds to search you. According to the Standard Operating Procedures of NSW Police, a drug dog detection alone does not amount to a ‘reasonable suspicion’ to search. There must be something more to form the grounds for a search.

      If you have been subject to a search due to a sniffer dog detection, you may be able to fight the drug charge. If you have not been charged, you may be entitled to claim monetary damages from Police for the illegal search – particularly if you were subject to a strip search.

      Contact us now to receive advice from a specialist drug law.

       

      Can I sue Police if I have been strip searched?

      Yes. If you have been illegally strip searched, you may have grounds to sure Police. A sniffer dog detection by itself is not sufficient grounds to conduct a search.

      Contact us now to speak to our accredited specialist in criminal law to see whether you may be entitled to compensation from the Police.