If you have been charged over drug possession in NSW, the prosecution has a number of elements that they need to prove in order for a conviction to succeed. Depending upon the nature of the proceedings, and your individual circumstances, the penalties can vary.
Custody and control
In NSW, the possession of a prohibited drug is dealt with under section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW). There are two aspects to the drug possession charge. First, it must be shown that the illegal drug was actually in your ‘custody’ or ‘control’. Secondly, the prosecution will need to show that you knew that you had custody or control of the drug. Both of these parts of section 10 drug offences must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The term custody refers to where the prohibited drug is, such as in a pocket, bag or tucked in clothing. The term control refers to a person’s right to have or use the drug. For example, it is not uncommon for a person to have prohibited drugs somewhere near them, yet not be in control of them. In share-house situations for instance, there might be drugs somewhere on the property that you share with others, but you have no right to these or control over them.
Court and beyond
Quantities of a prohibited drug come into the equation. Logically, if larger amounts of certain substances are found to be in your possession, the stiffer the penalty is likely to be. Gaol time is a possibility, but ordinarily, this would not be imposed for a first offence involving a small quantity. In many instances, a conviction will not be recorded. This is often referred to as getting a “section 10”. There are also a number of other penalties that the court can apply such as community service, a fine or a good behaviour bond. Drug lawyers are experts at working through the circumstances that relate to particular cases. In many instances, a conviction will not be recorded, but only if the right strategy is properly executed.
The key to effectively defending a drug possession charge is to know all of the options available to you.
Our expert drug lawyers are dedicated to assisting you to understand and explain your situation, should you be found to be in possession of prohibited drugs. With drug-related offences presenting an array of different legal tests and penalties, it can be worthwhile talking to the experts about your particular problem.