Drug Charges Lawyer Adelaide

The definitions and maximum penalties associated with various drug offences in South Australia

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Drug Charges

Drug related offences are treated very seriously in South Australia.

In this section, you will find the maximum penalties associated with various drug offences including the use, possession, cultivation, selling and manufacturing of prohibited drugs. Talk to an expert Drug Charges Lawyer Adelaide.

Possession or Consumption of a Controlled Drug (Drug Charges)

In SA, possessing a prohibited drug charge carries a maximum penalty of $2,000 or imprisonment for 2 years or both. This offence is treated very seriously by the Courts and a criminal conviction may be likely.

The Offence

Under the Controlled Substances Act, a person is guilty of the offence if it can be proven that a person either (a) has possession of a controlled drug, or (b) smokes, consumes or administers to himself or herself, or permits another person to administer to him or her, a controlled drug, or (c) has possession of any piece of equipment for use in connection with the smoking, consumption or administration of a controlled drug or the preparation of such a drug for smoking, consumption or administration.

What is a Controlled Drug?

 “Controlled drug” are illegal substances declared in the Regulations. A controlled drug may include the following:

  • MDMA (ecstasy);
  • Cannabis (oils, resins and plant material);
  • Lysergic and Diethylamide (LSD);
  • Diacetylmorphine/Doamorphint (heroin);
  • Methamphetamine/Methlamphetamine (speed);
  • Buprenorphine;
  • Cocaine;
  • Codeine;
  • Methadone;
  • Morphine;
  • Oxycodone; and
  • Opium.
What must the Police be able to prove?

The prosecution must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you had a prohibited drug in your possession and that you knew that the drug was in your custody and control.

Possible Defences

A possible defence to the possession of a drug is honest and reasonable mistake about the nature of the substance. You may also argue that you did not have possession of the drug.

We urge you to call us today to discuss more possible defences tailor made to your claim. Call now to talk with an expert Drug Charges Lawyer Adelaide.

Manufacture of a Controlled Drug (Drug Charges)

In SA, manufacturing a controlled drug charge carries a maximum penalty of $35,000 or imprisonment for 7 years or both. This offence is treated very seriously. A criminal record is very a likely outcome.

The Offence

According to the Controlled Substances Act, a person who manufactures a controlled drug, or has possession of a controlled precursor or any prescribed equipment intending to use it to manufacture a controlled drug is guilty of an offence.

What does Manufacture mean?

To manufacture means to take part in any process whereby the drug is extracted, produced or refined. It also includes taking part in any process or manufacture of the substance. So this means that you may be deemed to “take part” in the process of the manufacture of a controlled drug if you direct, take part in, or participate in any step or cause any step to be taken in the process of the manufacture.

What actions may constitute the Manufacture of a Controlled Drug?

Examples of Manufacture of a Controlled Drug include:

  • Cooking ice;
  • Going to a friend’s house and helping him operate the pill press;
  • Going online, finding a recipe or home kit to make your own ecstasy and making it at home;
  • Taking a cash in hand job to assist a person making heroin out of a makeshift drug lab in the middle of the outback;
  • Dealing with any equipment, substance or materials (carrying, guarding, acquiring, transporting, unloading, loading, storing);
  • Providing or arranging finance.

  

What must the Police prove?

The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  • Manufactured a controlled drug; or
  • Had possession of a controlled precursor or any prescribed equipment; and
  • Intended to use it to manufacture a controlled drug.
Possible Defences

This charge may be argued in a number of ways.

You may have a defence against this charge if you either:

  1. Did not commit the act; or
  2. Did not take part in the manufacture of drugs; or
  3. Did not intend to manufacture a controlled drug whilst in the possession of a controlled precursor or any prescribed equipment; or
  4. Did not knowingly partake in manufacturing prohibited drugs; or
  5. The substance was not a prohibited drug.

Remember, every case is arguable. If you think that you have a defence, we urge you to call us today to talk over your options.

Cultivation of a Controlled Plant(s) (Drug Charges)

In SA, cultivating a controlled plant carries a maximum penalty of $2,000 or imprisonment for 2 years or both. This offence is treated very seriously by the Courts.

The Offence

According to the Controlled Substances Act, a person will be guilty of cultivating a controlled plant if any of the following are established:

  • The person cultivates a controlled plant (other than a cannabis plant);
  • The person cultivates a cannabis plant by artificially enhanced cultivation;
  • The person cultivates more than the prescribed number of cannabis plants; or
  • The person cultivates a cannabis plant intending to supply the plant or to supply or administer any product of the plant to another person.
What must the Police prove?

For you to be convicted, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  • Cultivated a controlled plant (other than Cannabis); or
  • Cultivated a Cannabis Plant by artificially enhanced cultivation; or
  • Cultivated more than the prescribed number of Cannabis Plants; or
  • Cultivated a Cannabis plant intending to supply the plant or to supply or administer any product of the plant to another person.
Definition of Terms
 What does Cultivation mean?

Cultivation may refer to many things. It may mean to plant a seed, nurture, tend, harvest, grow a plant, or dry the harvested plant or part of the plant, or take part in the process of cultivation of the plant.

What is Cannabis?

 Cannabis is a plant, or any part (including the seed) of a plant, of the genus cannabis.

 What is “Artificially Advanced Cultivation?”

According to the Controlled Substances Act, artificially enhanced cultivation refers to the cultivation in a solution comprised wholly or principally of water enriched with nutrients, or, the cultivation involving the application of an artificial source of light or heat.

Definition of Supply

Supply means provide or distribute, or offer to provide or distribute.

What are the possible Defences to this charge?

There are a number of possible defences to this charge. Various ways may be to:

  • Maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act; or
  • To argue that the plant was not a controlled plant; or
  • Necessity; or
  • Duress.

 

If you think that you may have a defence to this charge, we urge you to call us today. Remember, every case is arguable!

Drug Trafficking (Drug Charges)

Drug trafficking refers to the supply of prohibited drugs and can carry extremely severe penalties if found guilty. Trafficking includes selling a drug, having possession of the drug intending to sell it, or taking part in the process of sale of the drug.

The Offence

 The following are the possible penalties associated with drug trafficking:

  • A person who traffics in a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug attracts a maximum penalty of $500,000 or imprisonment for life, or both;
  • A person who traffics in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug attracts a maximum penalty of $200,000 or imprisonment for 25 years, or both (or $500,000 and imprisonment for life for an aggravated offence); and
  •  A person who traffics in a controlled drug attracts a maximum penalty of $50,000 or imprisonment for 10 years, or both (or $75,000 or imprisonment for 15 years or both for an aggravated offence).

The maximum penalty varies according to the quantity of the drug trafficked. This determines the charge that you will face. Given the severity of the penalties, if you have been charged with any of these offences we highly recommend that you contact an experienced lawyer immediately.

Definition of Terms
What does Traffic mean?

 Traffic in a controlled drug means to either (1) sell the drug; or (2) have possession of the drug intending to sell it; or (3) take part in the process of sale of the drug.

Will I receive bail for a drug trafficking charge?

Given the seriousness of the charge, whether you receive Bail will be a contentious issue. There are a number of factors that the Police and the Court must take into account when determining Bail (see discussion on Bail in other links).

 

Manufacture of a Controlled Drug for Sale (Drug Charges)

In SA, the Manufacture of a Controlled Drug for Sale is a very serious offence and is treated seriously by the Courts.

The Offence

According to the Controlled Substances Act, a person who manufactures a large commercial quantity, a commercial quantity or any quantity of a controlled drug intending to sell any of it or believing that another person intended to sell any of it is guilty of an offence. Please see the likely penalties of this charge below.

What are the likely penalties?

 The following are the possible penalties associated with manufacturing a controlled drug for sale:

  • A person who manufactures a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug intending to sell any of it or believing that another person intends to sell any of it attracts a maximum penalty of $500,000 or imprisonment for life, or both;
  • A person who manufactures a commercial quantity of a controlled drug intending to sell any of it or believing that another person intends to sell any of it attracts a maximum penalty of $200,000 or imprisonment for 25 years, or both (or $500,000 or imprisonment for life if it is an aggravated offence); and 
  • A person who manufactures a controlled drug intending to sell any of it or believing that another person intends to sell any of it attracts a maximum penalty of $50,000 or imprisonment for 10 years (or $75,000 or imprisonment for 15 for an aggravated offence).

The maximum penalty varies in accordance with the quantity of drug.

Given the severity of the penalties, we highly recommend that you contact an experienced lawyer immediately if you have been charged with this offence, or, if you know of any person who has.

 What actions may constitute Manufacture of a Controlled Drug?
 Definition of “Manufacture”

Manufacture in relation to a substance means to take part in any process by which the substance is extracted, produced or refined, and also includes to “take part” in the process of manufacture of the substance.

You will be deemed to “take part” in the process of the manufacture of a substance if you direct, take part in or participate in any step, or cause any step to be taken in the process of manufacture of the substance.

A step in the process of the manufacture of a controlled substance may include (1) acquiring the equipment, substances or materials, (2) storing equipment, substances or materials, (3) carrying, transporting, loading, guarding, unloading, loading the equipment, substance or materials, (4) providing or arranging finance (including finance for the acquisition of equipment, substances or materials) and (5) providing or allowing the use of premises or jointly occupying the premises.

 Definition of “Sell”

Broadly speaking, the definition of “sell” under the law means to sell, barter or exchange, offer or agree to sell, barter or exchange or expose for sale, or barter or exchange.

 

Definition of “Substance”

“Substance” means any gaseous, liquid or solid substance and includes a plant or fungus.

How may I defend this charge?

There are many ways to defend this charge. You may be able to argue that you did not intend to sell the substance and you did not believe that another person intended to sell any of it. Your defence will ultimately depend on the facts of your case. Contacting an experienced lawyer is fundamental to successfully defend this charge as well as any drug charge. Contact us to talk about your case with an expert Drug Charges Lawyer Adelaide

 

Cultivation of Controlled Plants for Sale (Drug Charges)

In SA, the Cultivation of a Controlled Plant for Sale is a very serious offence and is treated seriously by the Courts.

 The Offence

 According to the Controlled Substances Act 1984, there are three specific types of offences relating to the cultivation of a controlled plant for sale. These have been set out as follows:

  • A person who cultivates a large commercial quantity of a controlled plant intending to sell any of them or their products or believing that another person intends to sell any of them or their products is guilty of an offence; or
  • A person who cultivates a commercial quantity of a controlled plant intending to sell any of them or their products or believing that another person intends to sell any of them or their products is guilty of an offence; or
  • A person who cultivates a controlled plant intending to sell any of them or their products or believing that another person intends to sell any of them or their products is guilty of an offence.

These offences are treated very seriously by the Courts.

What are the likely penalties?

 The following are the possible penalties associated with the offence:

  • A person who cultivates a large commercial quantity attracts a maximum penalty of $500,000 or imprisonment for life, or both;
  • A person who cultivates a commercial quantity of a controlled drug attracts a maximum penalty of $200,000 or imprisonment for life, or both (or $500,000 or imprisonment for life, or both, if it is an aggravated offence); or
  •  A person who cultivates a controlled plant attracts a maximum penalty of $50,000 or imprisonment for 10 years, or both (or $75,000 or imprisonment for 15 years, or both).

You can see that the maximum penalty varies according to the quantity of the controlled plant.

Given the severity of the penalties, we highly recommend that you contact an experienced lawyer immediately if you have been charged with this offence, or know of any person who has.

What actions may constitute the Cultivation of a Controlled Plant for Sale?
 What is “Cultivation”?

The most common example of cultivating a plant refers to growing Cannabis. According to the Controlled Substances Act 1984, to cultivate a controlled plant may also include the following:

  • To plant a seed, seedling or cutting of the plant or transplant the plant; or
  • Nurture, tend or grow the plant; or
  • Harvest the plant (including pick any part of the plant or separate any resin or other substance from the plant); or
  • Dry the harvested plant or part of the plant; or
  • Take part in the process of cultivation of the plant.

Some specific examples of cultivation may include:

  • Scattering Cannabis seeds in a secluded area of your parent’s property;
  • Watering your partners opium poppy plants; or
  • Planting a Cannabis plant in a pot making sure it gets enough water and sunlight in order to grow.

 

Intention to Sell

 There also must be some evidence that you intended to sell the plant. Your intention may be shown through evidence such as text messages or other media communications whereby there is clear evidence that you have attempted to arrange a transaction or sale. This will however be subject to the facts of your case.

What must the Police prove?

 The prosecution must be able to prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That you cultivated a large commercial quantity, commercial quantity or a quantity of a controlled plant; and
  • You intended to sell it; or
  • You believed that another person intended to sell it or their products.
Which Court will hear your matter?

 Generally speaking, it is likely that your matter will be heard in the Magistrates Court or the District Court.

 

Sale of Controlled Plants

 In SA, the Sale of Controlled Plants is a very serious offence and is treated seriously by the Courts.

The Offence

In accordance with the Controlled Substances Act 1984, there are three specific types of offences relating to the cultivation of a controlled plant for sale. These have been set out as follows:

 

  • A person who sells a large commercial quantity of a controlled plant, or, has possession of a large commercial quantity of a controlled plant intending to sell any of them or their products is guilty of on offence;
  • A person who sells a commercial quantity of a controlled plant or has possession of a commercial quantity of a controlled plant intending to sell any of them or their products is guilty of on offence; or
  • A person who sells a controlled plant or has possession of a controlled plant intending to sell it or its products is guilty of on offence;

 

These offences are treated very seriously by the Courts as with all drug offences.

What are the likely penalties?

 The following are the possible penalties associated with the offence:

  • A person who sells a large commercial quantity of a controlled plant or has possession of a large commercial quantity of a controlled plant intending to sell any of them or their products attracts a maximum penalty of $500,000 or imprisonment for life, or both;
  • A person who sells a commercial quantity of a controlled plant or has possession of a commercial quantity of a controlled plant intending to sell any of them or their products attracts a maximum penalty of $200,000 or 25 years imprisonment, or both (or $500,000 or imprisonment for life if it is an aggravated offence); and
  • A person who sells a controlled plant or has possession of a controlled plant intending to sell it or its products attracts a maximum penalty of $50,000 or imprisonment for 10 years or both (or $75,000 or imprisonment for 15 years or both for an aggravated offence).

The maximum penalty may vary in accordance with the quantity of controlled plant sold.

Given the severity of the penalties, we highly recommend that you contact an experienced lawyer immediately if you have been charged with this offence, or know of any person who has.

What must the Police prove?

 To be charged with any of these offences, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you either:

  • Sold a quantity (large commercial quantity, commercial quantity or any other quantity) of a controlled plant; or
  • You were in possession of a quantity of a controlled plant (large commercial quantity, commercial quantity or any other quantity); and
  • You had the intention to sell any of them or their products.

It may be difficult for the prosecution to prove these factors aforementioned. You should contact an experienced lawyer to explore the many ways that you may defend this charge.

 Which Court will hear your matter?

 Generally speaking, it is likely that the Magistrates Court or the District Court will hear this matter. We are experts at defending these charges in South Australia. Call now to talk with an expert Drug Charges Lawyer Adelaide.

What are the consequences of drug charges?

As seen above, the consequences of a conviction relating to drug charges can be very serious and you are likely to get a criminal record. A criminal record can be extremely detrimental to your life. Some careers (such as teaching or other professional services) require you to have no criminal history. That means that being found guilty for drug offences may jeopardise your job and rule out potential career paths. It may also make it very difficult to obtain visas for travel. For these reasons, it is critical to seek quality legal advice at an early stage to maximise your chances of successfully defending the charge.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me for a drug related charge?

There are many possible ways to successfully defend a drug charge. If you are worried about imprisonment, fines or having a criminal record, we urge that you contact an experienced lawyer immediately. Our solicitors specialize in these matters and will use their experience, skill and expertise to lead you to the best possible outcome.

Where to Next?

In South Australia and Australia-wide, it goes without saying that drug offences are treated very seriously. It is therefore important to get the best legal advice as early as possible. Call the best – Call Liptak Lawyers on (08) 8355 6584.

Other defences may apply. See our page on legal defences and police powers 

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