Criminal Law

Drug Possession

Drug possession is the most common of drug charges that come before the Courts have to deal with. Our Drug Lawyers have represented clients charged with drug possession NSW wide, successfully defending charges and assisting people in avoiding a drug conviction.

The Law

Section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 states that a person who has a prohibited drug in his or her possession is guilty of an offence.


The maximum penalty for the offence of possess prohibited drug is a fine of $5,500 and/or two years' imprisonment.


It is important to understand what "possession" actually means. The law holds that to be in possession of a drug it must be in the exclusive physical control of the person. There must also be knowledge of the existence of the drug. 

Being in physical control does not require ownership or even for the drug to be on or with the person. For example, someone may agree to storing drugs at their house for another. Despite the drugs not being owned by the person, they are guilty of the offence of drug possession.

There are circumstances where police find a drug to be in the presence of more than one person; such as in a car that has been stopped and searched.  In those circumstances, where there are several occupants in the car, it can be difficult to charge anyone with possess prohibited drug, because the police may not be able to prove who, if anyone, was actually in possession of the drug. This, however, does not mean that police can only ever charge one person with possessing a prohibited drug. There are circumstances where police can charge more than one person with "joint possession".

A defence to a drug possession charge is that of "honest and reasonable mistaken belief" that the substance was not a prohibited drug. The prosecution is not required to prove the person's knowledge beyond knowing that the substance was in the person's possession/control. However, a person accused of possessing a prohibited drug can defend the charge if they are able to successfully raise the defence that, despite knowing about being in possession or control of the substance, they honestly and reasonably did not know that it was a prohibited drug.

Even if someone charged with a drug possession offence believes that they are unlikely to be able to defend the charge, it is still important to consider obtaining expert advice from an experienced criminal lawyer. Our criminal lawyers have a reputation for consistently obtaining outstanding results for clients charged with drug possession offences.

If you have been charged with possess prohibited drug or other drug possession NSW offence, our drug law experts at Prime Lawyers - Criminal Law Division can help. Contact us to make an appointment with a criminal lawyer at your nearest Prime Lawyers office.

Call us today to speak to one of our Drug Lawyers Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland or Wollongong.    

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