Although there are a large number of offences for provided for under the Drugs Misuse Act, the most common drug offences can be categorised as follows:
- Possession – receiving and demonstrating control over a dangerous drug;
- Supply – including the offer of supplying a dangerous drug to another;
- Production – including the preparation, manufacturing, cultivating and packaging of a dangerous drug;
- Trafficking – involving the commercial supply of dangerous drug; and
- Importation – the movement, or attempted movement, of an illicit substance across Australia’s borders.
Different drugs are divided up into different “schedules” under the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987. Schedule 1 drugs are regarded as the most serious, and regularly attract the more severe penalties. Schedule 1 drugs include, but are not limited to, heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, and ecstasy. Other drugs, including cannabis and pharmaceutical drugs are provided for in other “schedules”.
Depending on the nature of the allegations, some offences under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 attract a reverse onus of proof. A common example of this is demonstrated when drugs are located in a person’s premises. The concept of occupier’s liability means that an occupier of a premises is responsible for items located in their property, and although they may not be the ‘technical’ owner of the drug located, they are presumed guilty of possession unless they can demonstrate otherwise.
As with offences under the Criminal Code, the early engagement of competent and expert legal representation can be critical in ensuring your rights are best protected. The team at Russo Lawyers has a strong reputation and significant experience in being able to successful represent people charged with drug offences, from low-level offences, to serious trafficking charges and importation charges that attract life imprisonment. Our office understands and can readily explain the legislative framework governing drug offences, as well as explain how proceeds of crime legislation can affect your rights and entitlements.