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No Conviction for Cultivation of Cannabis

Case Study – No Conviction For Cultivation of a Controlled Plant

Our client was charged with the offence of cultivation of a controlled plant pursuant to section 33K(1)(b) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) (the “charge”). The charge carried a maximum penalty of a fine in the amount of $2,000.00 or imprisonment for 2 years or both.

Our client was extremely worried about the effect that a criminal conviction could have on his Australian Visa status and potential ineligibility for employment (on the basis of a criminal record). He recently moved to Adelaide from South America and was living here with his wife and newborn child and was worried that a conviction for growing cannabis plants could result in him not being able to meet the character requirements set out under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.

Good Behaviour Bond Without Conviction

However, our Adelaide Criminal Lawyer, Danial Esmaili, persuaded the Court that there was good reason pursuant to section 24 of the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA) to impose a penalty without recording a conviction upon Our Client entering a good behaviour bond for 2 years in the amount of $500.00. This was achieved by persuading the Magistrate that Our Client was unlikely to commit such an offence again and that his otherwise excellent character, lack of criminal record, age, genuine remorse, substantial rehabilitation efforts and personal circumstances warranted a merciful approach.

This was made possible in the lead up to the sentencing hearing because Danial advised Our Client to participate in voluntary drug dependency counselling, community service, obtain character references and provide the Court with a letter of apology. As a result, the presiding Magistrate was persuaded that a conviction would disproportionately affect Our Client and his young family who were living with him in Adelaide on his student visa. Ultimately, no conviction was recorded, and Our Client continues to enjoy living in Adelaide to date.

Effect on Visa & Employment Prospects

The practical effect of our client being discharged without conviction for growing cannabis plants was that although he pleaded guilty, a criminal conviction was not recorded, and the offences were treated as being “spent” – similar to expiating an infringement notice.  The charges would therefore not appear in a criminal record check and he would not be prejudiced by a prospective employer unless an exception applied under the Spent Convictions Act 2009 – which protects people from unreasonable discrimination based on minor or old convictions, provided they haven’t re-offended.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence or drug offence in Adelaide, it is important to get free advice from an Adelaide criminal lawyer specialising in drug offences. Stanley & Co Lawyers provide a free no-obligation consultation where you can speak with an experienced criminal lawyer to assess your case. Get in touch with Rich Stanley, Danial Esmaili or Edward Hewitt today – you may just be able to avoid a criminal conviction in the right circumstances.

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