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In Queensland, the possession, production and distribution of drugs and other illicit substances is seen as serious and can result in terms of imprisonment being imposed. If you are charged with any form of drug offence do not take it lightly, conviction for drug offences can have far reaching consequences including in some cases the loss of personal property such as the family home. If you have been charged with a drug offence it is best to seek professional legal advice from an expert Criminal Lawyer to understand your rights and risks.


Drug Offences in Queensland are primarily covered by the Drugs Misuse Act 1986.


There are effectively 3 categories of drug related offences in Queensland:


  1. Possession Offences;
  2. Production Offences;
  3. Trafficking and Supplying Offences


The treatment of these offences also varies based on the type of drug in question but are primarily concerned with ‘Dangerous Drugs’ as defined by the Drug Misuse Regulation 1987. The penalties for a drug offence in Queensland depend upon how the drug has been classified and the quantity of the drug involved.


Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse Regulation 1987 is usually considered to contain the drug types which the Court views as most serious. Examples of the drugs included are:


  • Heroin;
  • Cocaine;
  • Amphetamines;
  • Methamphetamine (sometimes known as Ice or Crystal Meth);
  • MDMA (usually marketed as Ecstasy);
  • Steroids including Testosterone 


Schedule 2 of the Drugs Misuse Regulation outlines the drugs that in some circumstances can attract lesser penalties than Schedule 1 Drugs. These include:


  • Cannabis;
  • Morphine;
  • Methadone;
  • Diazepam or Valium


Possession of a Dangerous Drug


The unlawful possession of a dangerous drug is a crime. Possession generally means that the accused must know of the drugs existence and must have some control over it. 


More than one person can possess the same drug. People who are sharing a drug both possess it. 


The maximum sentence for possession ranges from 15 years to 25 years, depending upon the drug and the quantity possessed and in some cases the persons level of addiction.


Producing Dangerous Drugs


Producing a dangerous drug is a crime. Producing means making a drug, but it also includes growing or cultivating a drug like cannabis. Depending on the nature and quantity of the drug, and upon whether the accused is a drug dependent person, the maximum sentence for producing a drug ranges from 15 to 25 years.


Supplying Dangerous Drugs


It is a crime to supply a dangerous drug to another person. Supplying a drug includes selling it, but it also includes giving or administering the drug to another person, as well as distributing or delivering it. You can be charged with supply even if you are not being paid for it! 


Offering to sell or give someone a dangerous drug also comes within the definition of supplying the drug. 


Depending on the circumstances of the offence and the nature and quantity of the drug, the maximum sentence for supplying a dangerous drug ranges from 15 years to life.


Trafficking in Dangerous Drugs


Trafficking in dangerous drugs is the carrying of a business that involves dangerous drugs. In this context the word trafficking is essentially the trading in or dealing with dangerous drugs. If a person sells a drug (regardless of profit or loss) then that person is said to be trafficking in dangerous drugs. In some cases, one transaction can be enough for Police to prove trafficking. 


The penalties for trafficking in dangerous drugs can be significant and this offence often results in actual terms of imprisonment. The maximum penalty is between 20 and 25 years depending on the drug (or drugs) involved in the trafficking. 


Other Related Offences


Under s10A of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 Possession of property suspected of being used or for use in connection with a drug offence is an offence. This may include possession of drug paraphernalia such as a ‘bong’ or ‘pipe’. The maximum sentence for possessing those items is 2 years.


The legislation also provides that possession of anything used in connection with the commission of a drug offence is a crime. For example, a car used to transport drugs or guns used to guard drugs might fall within that definition if they are possessed with the intent to further a drug offence. The maximum sentence for possessing a thing that is used in connection with a drug crime is 15 years and forfeiture of the item.


Possessing or publishing instructions for producing a dangerous drug is also an offence and one which the Court takes very seriously. Instructions can be possessed simply by downloading them from the internet. The offence carries a maximum sentence up to 25 years.


What should I do if I have been charged with a Drug Offence?


Seek the advice of an expert Criminal Lawyer. Being charged with a drug offence can have far reaching consequences and may not be limited to just the proceedings in a Criminal Court, there could also be civil proceedings under the confiscations legislation. 


With offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, the team at Howden Saggers appear in Court every day. We know the Magistrates; we understand the procedures. We have a great relationship with many Barristers at the Queensland Bar. We understand how the Courts work. We understand the pressures that you may feel in having to go to Court.


We also believe that legal fees shouldn’t break the bank and for that reason we are quite often able to undertake matters on the basis of a fixed fee. This means you will know exactly how much your matter will cost.


Howden Saggers Lawyers is also a Preferred Supplier for Legal Aid Queensland. This means that we are able to undertake matters funded by Legal Aid Queensland as long as you meet the required eligibility criteria.


At Howden Saggers Lawyers our lawyers appear in Court every day, we understand that procedures, we know the law, we get the results.


We are on your side.


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