If you or a loved one is charged with a drug related offence, or contacted by police in relation to possession, cultivation, selling, manufacturing, or importing controlled substances you must speak with an expert drug lawyer in Adelaide immediately. Do not under any circumstances accompany police for a “chat” and remain silent. You are innocent until proven guilty and are under no obligation to cooperate with police.
Your right to silence is a shield that will protect you and your family during this difficult time – use it. Rather than helping the police make their case, call us and we will accompany you to the police station if necessary and apply for bail. Your prospects of avoiding imprisonment, fines, and criminal asset confiscation depend on it. We offer a free no obligation consultation where we will advise you of the potential outcomes in your case.
Speak with an expert drug lawyer in Adelaide today
Our drug lawyers will fight the prosecution at every turn and put their case to the test. Often times, we are able to secure a complete withdrawal of charges, negotiate a lesser offence or have them referred to the treatment intervention court. If you decide to plead guilty we will make persuasive and convincing submissions on your behalf. With more than 27 years of combined experience we will not only help you achieve a successful outcome but also assist in your rehabilitation by referring you to the right programs.
Drug charges are treated seriously in South Australia
In addition to imprisonment, you will receive a criminal record, be unable to travel to some countries, find difficulty gaining employment, and face financial hardship as a result of criminal asset forfeiture. It is crucial to speak with a criminal lawyer specialising in drug offences as soon as you are contacted by police.
Helpful Questions & Answers
What types of drugs are controlled substances?
Controlled drugs are defined in the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) regulations and include but are not limited to:
- Cannabis – including oil, resins (hashish), and plant materials;
- Ecstasy (MDMA);
- Ice (methamphetamine);
- Speed (methylamphetamine);
- LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide);
- Heroin (diacetylmorphine/ diamorphine);
- Magic Mushrooms;
- GHB (fantasy);
- Fentanyl; and
Possession of a Controlled Drug
Being charged with possession of a controlled substance is very serious, and may attract a criminal conviction (other than for cannabis, cannabis resin, or cannabis oil). Generally, drug possession carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment, $2000 fine or both. The offence also includes drug paraphernalia such equipment used in the administration or preparation of a drug.
In order to be convicted of drug possession, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
- had a prohibited drug in your possession (physical element); and
- That you knew the drug was in your control or custody (mental element).
The prosecution must prove that you had the power to exclude all others from control over the drug(s) in questions. You may have physical control by having actual custody of the substance, or by having a right or power to control a place where the substance is located so that only you and or those acting with you may gain custody of the substance.
If two or more people are alleged to be in “joint possession”, the prosecution must prove each person had the legal right to exclude others from that place. If there are joint occupiers or if
people are jointly concerned in the management or control of a place, they are each deemed to have possession of drugs found in or on that place. In such cases, each individual can overcome this by proving that they were not in possession of the drug found on the premises.
The prosecution must also prove the person(s) knew or were at least reckless as to whether a
substance in their possession was a prohibited drug. This mental element is concerning an
intention to exercise control and requires awareness that the substance is their possession.
For example, if a person possesses a bag which contains drugs but they are unaware of its
contents, the requisite mental element cannot be proven.
However, people who have the requisite intent, but who believe the drug possessed is one
form of prescribed drug when it is in fact another, still possess a prescribed drug and can be
convicted accordingly. For example, if someone is caught with what they think is cannabis
resin but in reality is heroin. In this case, the prosecution does not have to prove the
individual was aware that the drug in possession was heroin, so long as they can prove the
accused knew he possessed a drug of some form.
You may also be in possession of drugs, despite the period of possession being very short. This is particularly relevant if someone tries to relocate, conceal or destroy the drugs.
The moment a person takes physical possession of the drugs or item containing it they are
demonstrating an intention to exclude physical possession of it from anybody except themselves.
Drug Possession Defences
Our experienced drug lawyers will advance every applicable defence in support of your case.
Some of which include:
- That you made an honest and reasonable mistake about the nature of the substance in
- That you lacked physical control of the drug(s); and
- That you were authorised to be in possession.
Drug trafficking (selling or supplying drugs)
Trafficking charges are far more serious and include selling a drug, having possession of the drug intending to sell it, or taking part in the process of sale of the drug. Even supplying it to friends without payment is considered trafficking. A conviction carries severe punishments and depends on the quantity of the drugs:
- Less than commercial quantity: $50,000 or imprisonment for 10 years or both
- Commercial quantity: $200,000 or imprisonment for 25 years or both
- Large Commercial quantity: $500,000 or imprisonment for life or both
- Trafficking in a prescribed area: $75,000 or imprisonment for 15 years or both
- If you possess a trafficable quantity, then you must prove you did not have it for sale
or did not intend to sell it or take part in any sale.
How much is a commercial quantity?
The regulations under the Act list the weight(s) for each controlled substance. You can find a comprehensive table here. Several examples include:
- 2 kilograms
- 20 plants
- 2 grams
- 2 grams
Selling or Using Drugs in a Prescribed Area
If you are caught with drugs in a prescribed area the punishments are even more severe. This
includes a broad variety of places such as: any area where members of the public gather for entertainment, an event, or activity of any kind, car parks, hotels, bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, licensed venues, social clubs, a casino and within 500 meters of a school zone.
Manufacture of controlled drugs for sale
It is also illegal to:
- manufacture a controlled drug intending to sell it or believing another person intends
to sell it
- sell a controlled precursor, believing someone intends to use it to manufacture a
- cultivate controlled plants intending to sell them or their products or believing
someone intends to sell it
- sell or intend to sell controlled plants
- manufacture a controlled drug; or
- possess a controlled precursor or prescribed equipment with the intention to
- The penalties for manufacturing drugs are even more serious than trafficking. You
may be fined up to $1,000,000, face life imprisonment or both.
The prosecution will also seek to confiscate any assets that were used for illegal purposes.
For example, if a house is mainly used to grow cannabis, it is may be forfeited. Our criminal
asset confiscation lawyers will fight to protect your property.
Import or Export of Prohibited Drugs
Drug importation charges attract some of the highest penalties imposed by courts.
The maximum penalties for importing/exporting border controlled drug offences are:
- Life imprisonment importing/exporting commercial quantity of border controlled
- 25 years’ imprisonment for importing/exporting marketable quantity of border
- 10 years’ imprisonment for importing/exporting border controlled drugs.
The maximum penalties for importing/exporting border controlled precursors are:
- 25 years’ for imprisonment importing/exporting commercial quantity of border
- 15 years’ imprisonment importing/exporting marketable quantity of border controlled
- 7 years’ imprisonment for importing/exporting border controlled precursors.
- Importation begins when goods are brought within the limits of a port with the
intention or being discharged or when they are landed. Even a person in Australian
territorial waters that have not yet made it to land is considered to be importing
These types of charges are becoming even more prevalent with drugs being ordered on
the “dark web” using Bitcoin. If you are charged with drug importation, our expert
criminal lawyers have the experience and technical expertise to secure a positive court