Request callback


    Get A Free Case EvaluationHave a legal issue?

    Submit your inquiry to speak to a Senior Lawyer

      how to get drug charges dropped

      How to get drug charges dropped

      The question of how to get drug charges dropped is one that criminal defence lawyers deal with on a regular basis.

      A specialist drug lawyer will be able to examine your case and advise whether police have not followed any required procedures. They will also be able to determine whether there are any technical defences available to you.

      This can often result in getting drug possession and supply charges dropped before the matter proceeds to a defended hearing or trial. This will save you significant time and expense and provide the best chance of winning your case.

      You can view some recent cases where drug charges have been dropped by clicking here.

      How to get drug charges dropped?

      You can get drug charges dropped by:

      1. Illegal Search. You can get charges dropped before the court date by arguing that the police performed an ‘illegal search’.
      2. Lack of Exclusive Possession. You can fight the charge by arguing that police cannot prove you had ‘exclusive possession’ of the drugs.
      3. Lack of Evidence. In the event that police do not have sufficient evidence, an experienced drug lawyer will be able to write to police requesting the charges be dropped.

      Illegal Search

      Drug charges can be withdrawn due to an illegal search if police have acted improperly resulting in the evidence from this search being inadmissible.

      This means that the police will not be able to use the evidence obtained from the search. Often, this will result in the case being dismissed. 

      In order the determine whether police have searched you illegally, the court will need to consider whether they had a “reasonable suspicion” that you had an illegal drug with you.

      If a court can be persuaded that police did not have any ‘reasonable suspicion’ to conduct a search, the charges can be dismissed. This includes situations where police did in fact find drugs on you.

      What is a reasonable suspicion?

      A reasonable suspicion is less than a belief but more than a mere possibility. 

      Some examples of reasonable suspicion include:

      • Where a sniffer dog has indicated to a police officer that you are concealing drugs;
      • When police have observed you exchanging money for something which looks like drugs;
      • When police can smell cannabis inside a car or house.

      Cases have found that reasonable suspicion will not exist when:

      • Police use a random breath test to conduct a search;
      • The only grounds for the suspicion is your prior criminal record;
      • You appear nervous or agitated.

       What if I consented to the search?

      If you consented to the search, then police do not need to show any reasonable suspicion. This is why you should never consent to being searched by police or make admissions to having anything in your possession.

      Exclusive Possession

      Where drugs are found in a common area police must prove ‘exclusive’ or ‘joint’ possession.

      This means that police must prove that another person could not have been responsible for the drug and that you had knowledge of the drug being there.

      This scenario often arises in relation to a house or car that is used by more than one person.

      What is exclusive possession?

      Exclusive possession means that you are the only person who could have custody and control of an item. If another person could have had placed the item where it was found, then you cannot be found to have had exclusive possession of it. 

      Police can often prove exclusive possession by text messages which suggest that the drugs were yours. They can also conduct a fingerprint analysis on the item (for example the bag holding the drugs), although this is less common.

      Further, if you admit that the drugs were yours, this defence would not be open to you.

      What is joint possession?

      Joint possession is where a number of persons have shared control over an item.

      This is often used by police when they cannot prove who the drugs belonged to specifically.

      For example, where drugs are found in a car with multiple passengers, police may try to allege that all of the passengers were aware and had control of the drugs.

      However, this is often difficult for police to prove in the absence of supporting evidence or admissions.

      Lack of Evidence

      In many cases police will have insufficient evidence to prove the drug charges against you. If this is the case, we can write representations to police for the withdrawal of the case.

      This is why it is important not to make admissions to police. Once you have made admissions to police, even if they would otherwise have a lack of evidence to prove the charge, your admissions can be used to find you guilty of the offence.

      How to get drug possession charges dropped?

      You can get drug possession charges dropped if the prosecution cannot prove that you knew, or should have known, that the drugs were in your possession.

      This can include if the drugs were planted on you or left in your home or car by another person.

      There are also a number of defences to drug possession charges that can be relied on.

      How to get drug supply charges dropped?

      You can get drug supply charges dropped if the prosecution cannot prove that you supplied or intended to supply a prohibited drug.

      There are also a number of defences to drug supply charges that can be relied on.

      How to Prove Drugs Are Not Yours?

      You can prove drugs are not yours if you can show drugs were planted on you, or left by another person.

      If you became aware of the drugs before police located them, then you will also need to show that you attempted to get rid of drugs as soon as you found them.

      If you can prove the drugs were not yours, you may be able to have the drug charges dropped.

      In order to do this, an experienced drug lawyer will need to review and analyse the police brief of evidence and then write to the prosecution seeking the withdrawal of the case. This is known as sending legal ‘representations’.

      If the representations are successful, the case can be dropped without needing to go to court.

      Section 10 for Drug Possession

      Under section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW), possession of a prohibited drug is a criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200.

      However, if you are found guilty or plead guilty to this offence, you can avoid a criminal conviction if you receive a section 10 dismissal or a conditional release order.

      This is not an easy task, as the statistics for drug possession offences over the last 5 years show that only 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.

      This can be contrasted with statistics for supply prohibited drug charges which show that less than 10% of offenders received no criminal conviction for drug supply. In the District Court, between 30% to 60% of offenders were sentenced to imprisonment depending of the type of drug.

      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’, the offence will not stay on your record.

      Specialist Drug Lawyers

      If you have been charged with drug possession or supply, it is important that you retain experienced drug defence lawyers.

      Our team have the knowledge and experience to identify any possible defences to drug charges and then use this to show you how to get drug charges dropped.

      In the event that there are no defences open to you, there are still other ways of avoiding a criminal conviction for a drug charge.

      This can save you from having your career or travel plans affected.

      Our team provides support throughout the entire court process. This includes providing guides for character references and referral to counselling services.

      Contact Astor Legal today on (02) 7804 2823 for email us at

      Comments are closed.

      Ask a question now!