Criminal Law

Drug Charges - Quantities and Penalties

Drug charges (NSW) cover an affray of offending behaviour and likewise, there is a significant variation in penalties available. The penalty an offender receives largely depends on the type and quantity of the drug in question and of course, the circumstances surrounding the offence.

We have provided the table below that outlines how the law determines the relevant quantities for the more common types of drugs.

It must be borne in mind that the below are the maximum penalties available. Also, even when someone is charged with supplying a drug or with one of the more serious drug offences, our experienced criminal lawyers are often successful in having the charge downgraded or defended.

Prohibited Drug

Small Quantity

Traffickable Quantity

Indictable Quantity

Commercial Quantity

Large Commercial Quantity

Cannabis Plant

5

-

50

250

1000

Cannabis Plant - enhanced indoor

5

-

50

50

200

Cannabis Leaf

30 g

300 g

1 kg

25 kg

100 kg

Cannabis Resin

5 g

30 g

90 g

2.5 kg

10 kg

Cannabis Oil

2 g

5 g

10 g

500 g

2 kg

Cocaine

1 g

3 g

5 g

250 g

1 kg

Heroin

1 g

3 g

5 g

250 g

1 kg

Amphetamine

1 g

3 g

5 g

250 g

1 kg

Ecstasy

0.25 g

0.75 g

1.25 g

125 g

0.5 kg






Possession

All possession charges are dealt with in the Local Court (unless a person is also charged with more serious drug supply offences). The maximum penalty for all drug possession charges is 2 years' imprisonment and/or a $5,500 fine.

Supply Offences

Small Quantity

A supply charge for the small quantity is usually dealt with in the Local Court. The maximum penalty for supplying a small quantity is $5,500 and/or 2 years' imprisonment.

Traffickable Quantity

As outlined above, if there is more than the traffickable quantity, the deeming provision applies. This means that above this amount, police can charge someone with a supply charge, even if there is no evidence of an actual supply having taken or about to take place. The maximum penalty in the Local Court is $11,000 and/or 2 years' imprisonment.

Indictable Quantity but less than the Commercial Quantity

If the matter is dealt with in the District Court and the drug is not cannabis plant or leaf, the maximum penalty is $220,000 and/or 15 years' imprisonment. If the drug is cannabis plant or leaf, the maximum penalty is $220,000 and/or 10 years' imprisonment.

More than Commercial Quantity

If the drug is cannabis plant or leaf the maximum penalty is $385 000 and/or 15 years' imprisonment.

If the drug is not cannabis plant or leaf, the maximum penalty is $385 000 and/or 20 years' imprisonment.

More than Large Commercial Quantity

If the drug is cannabis plant or leaf the maximum penalty is $550 000 and/or 20 years' imprisonment.

If the drug is not cannabis plant or leaf, the maximum penalty is $550 000 and/or life imprisonment.

Supply to persons less than 16 years of age

In all of the above categories, if the person being supplied to is less than 16 years of age, then the penalties are increased.

If you are facing drug charges (NSW), our experts at Prime Lawyers - Criminal Law Division can help. Contact us to make an appointment with one of our lawyers in Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland or Wollongong.    

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