Different Drug Charges and What They Mean
In Queensland, there are numerous charges relating to drug offences and they all have different consequences and meanings.
At Hounsell Cunningham we are dedicated to assisting you with your criminal charges, whatever form they may take. In the interests of assisting you with your matter, we want to clear up some of the potential drug charges and give you more information in the hopes it helps you see where you stand.
If you have been charged with a drug offence, it’s vital that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. It is possible to face a period of imprisonment for a drug charge, but with Hounsell Cunningham on your side, we can assist you in ensuring that you receive the most favourable sentence possible.
Types of drugs
When we are talking about dangerous drugs here, we are referring to the two possible classes of drugs in Queensland.
- Schedule one drugs include drugs like cocaine, amphetamine, heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
- Schedule two drugs are drugs such as cannabis, morphine and barbiturates.
Schedule one drugs carry a higher penalty and sentence then schedule two drugs.
Possession of illegal drugs
If you are in possession of drugs you can be charged with possession. You do not need to own the drugs to be charged with possession, so even if your housemate has drugs in their room and you reasonably knew they were there, you can be charged with possession. Your friend can give you drugs to hold on to for them and you can be charged with possession. Possession can take the form of actual, constructive, or joint.
- You have actual possession when you actually possess the drugs – so if you have a quarter of marijuana in your pocket, you’re in actual possession.
- Constructive possession takes place when you have drugs under your control, but they’re not physically on you – so if you have drugs stored in a locker and you have the only key for that locker.
- Joint possession occurs when more than one person has possession of an item at once – say for example when three people are sharing a marijuana cigarette at a party
Supplying illegal drugs
This is a widely defined criminal charge and can include things like giving drugs, distributing drugs, selling drugs, transporting drugs, or even the act of offering to supply drugs. Supplying illegal drugs can encompass a range of things, and even if you have arranged to sell someone something that you believe to be a dangerous drug and the supply does not actually take place – you can still be charged with supply.
Even if you give a single cap of MDMA to a friend, this can be charged with supply. Note that supplying drugs to children or supplying drugs near a school makes this an aggravated offence, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for supplying a schedule one drug to a person under 16 years, and a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment for supplying a schedule two drug to a person under 16 years.
Trafficking illegal drugs
If you are making sales of drugs – even a single sale – and there is proof that a business is being carried on, then this may be charged as trafficking. This is the most serious drug related charge in Queensland so if you have been charged with trafficking, you must seek legal advice immediately as the consequences of this charge are very serious.
Producing illegal drugs
If you are growing, preparing, making, packaging, or otherwise producing drugs, then you can be charged with producing. You don’t need a full blown meth lab to be charged with cultivating or producing; a single marijuana plant in a pot on your back veranda will be enough to substantiate this charge.
Possession of things (drug paraphernalia)
When drugs are being administered or produced, there is paraphernalia which is generally required to use or produce that drug. Possession of things (such as a bong, a cocaine spoon or straw, a pipe, syringes) or production implements (scales, pill press, baggies for packing up powders) is sufficient to be charged with possession of things – you do not even have to have any drugs present to be charged.
If you have been charged with drug driving this is a potentially serious offence – and police are now able to test at the roadside for cannabis, speed/meth, and ecstasy. If any quantity of illegal drugs is found in your system, you can be charged with driving while under the influence of a relevant drug or driving with a relevant drug present. Hounsell Cunningham can assist you with this charge, as well as with any other charges you may be facing.
Depending on your charge, you may also be eligible to apply for a work licence if you are charged with drug driving.