Whether it be a first-hand encounter or through a movie screen, in some way or another, we have all been exposed to the world of drugs in Australia. From low level street possession to major drug syndicates, there are multiple laws and penalties that apply to drug possession in Queensland.
If you are or have been charged with a drug-related offence in Queensland - contacting an experience Criminal Lawyer will be crucial to ensure the best possible outcome for yourself and your future. Please reach out to Creevey Russell Lawyers today on 1800-CRIME-LAW so we can assist you as soon as possible.
Unlawful possession of dangerous drugs in Queensland
‘A person who unlawfully has possession of a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime’.
It is a criminal offence to unlawfully (without authorisation, justification or excuse by law) be in possession of a dangerous drug in Queensland.
What are dangerous drugs?
You may wonder what constitutes the definition of a dangerous drug. Dangerous drugs are defined in Section 4 of the Drug Misuse Act as ‘a thing specified in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 (Qld), schedule 1 or 2’.
Schedule 1 and 2 outline or refer to different drug categories.
Schedule 1 contains the more serious substances. Possession of the Schedule 1 drugs are considered the most serious and penalties are more significant. The ‘dangerous drugs’ of schedule 1 are Cocaine, Heroin, LSD, Methylamphetamine, MDMA and Amphetamine.
Schedule 2 contain less serious drugs such as Cannabis, methadone, morphine, GHB, Valium, Temazepam, Synthetic cannabinoids and others. Penalties for possession of these drugs is less severe than possession of schedule 1 drugs.
What does it mean to be ‘in possession’?
The official definition of possession is not defined in the Drugs Misuse Act. The definition of Possession is taken from the Criminal Code. Possession is where a claim is made to the object, or some control has been made over it.
To ‘take control’ can mean to hide or displace the drugs during a search. Even if you do not ‘own’ the substance, the ability to control it has now put you in possession of a said substance.
Different types of possession and examples
In Australian Law, for possession to be deemed, it’s not required for that specific object in question to be in your hand, pocket, wallet or purse.
As unlawful possession can be whittled down to varying circumstances; there are, in turn, varying types of possession.
Actual possession is that most thought of. Actual possession means being in possession of objects at hand (in the pocket, in the car, in the house and so forth).
As the name suggests, it is possible for more than one person to be in possession of a dangerous drug at any one time. In cases where this is evident, Joint Possession can be a factor.
Namely, there’s also:
• Possession of momentary control;
• Possessing relevant substances or things; • Deemed Possession; and
• Possession of minute quantities.
In some circumstances you can bee ‘deemed’ to have possession if you knew the drugs where at a place where you have management or control.
Innocent until proven guilty
In Australia, a core principle of the criminal justice system is the presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence imposes on the prosecution the burden of proving the charge and guarantees that no guilt can be presumed until the charge has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. (ag.gov.au)
To be found guilty of this offence, the prosecution must prove that:
1. The accused was in possession of a dangerous drug,
2. The ‘thing’ possessed was a ‘dangerous drug’ (of schedule 1 or 2); and
3. The possession was unlawful (without authorisation, justification or excuse by law).
What are the penalties?
What happens when proven guilty of Possession of Dangerous Drugs?
Penalties can be severe, more likely to occur if possession of a schedule 1 drug is found. Of course, each case is different.
The penalties and outcomes will depend on the quantity of the drug, the type of drug, and other findings.
In Queensland, the court can impose one of the following:
• Prison sentence (suspended, parole or actual time);
• Intensive Corrections Order;
• Community Service;
• Fines; or
• Intensive corrections order.
The maximum penalty outlined in the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 is 25 years imprisonment (if in possession of schedule 1 drugs of a certain quantity).
The biggest factor when it comes to lessening the severity of the penalty is engaging a criminal lawyer. Getting results you simply cannot on your own, a criminal lawyer is there to guide you through drug-related offences. A criminal lawyer is also instrumental in the proposal of possible defences.
Defences of Possession of Dangerous Drugs
Yes, there are possible defences available. These include:
• Mistake of fact;
• Wasn’t in possession; and/or
• The substance was not a drug.
These defences are going to be dependent on the facts presented in your case. Again, a criminal lawyer will be able to assist you through this.
As a team of experienced lawyers with 40+ years of Criminal Law work behind us, we know Australian Law. We fight for you, no matter the situation. This kind of attention to detail, experience and determination is unmatched by other criminal lawyers, and you deserve the best.
Experienced Criminal Lawyers in Brisbane, QLD
Creevey Russell Lawyers
Engaging a lawyer who understands criminal law and drug offences is crucial for your success. If you are charged with any drug offence, we can assist you.
How do I get more information?
We understand being amongst a criminal proceeding is daunting, and you want to receive assistance as soon as possible, without excess stress. This is why we’ve made it easy for you to reach out whenever you need. Please contact us on 1800-CRIME-LAW for 24/7 assistance. Alternatively, reach out to us via the contact form on our website, or email email@example.com. We look forward to being of help to you.