It is against the law to use, possess, cultivate or traffic drugs of dependence in Victoria. Common illegal drugs of dependence are:
- cannabis (marijuana)
- amphetamines (speed)
- MDMA (ecstasy)
There is a full list of the kinds of drugs that are prohibited in Melbourne, Geelong and regional Victoria in the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.
Possession of an illegal drug
Possession is one of the most common drug offences. Possession means having a illegal drug on you or in a house or property you occupy. You can also be charged with possession if illegal drugs are found in a car you own or you are driving.
If you are caught with a small quantity of cannabis or heroin and it is your first offence, you may get a warning (caution) issued instead of being charged with the offence at the discretion of the arresting officer. Typically, if you receive a police caution for your first illegal drug-related offence, you will have to agree to have drug counselling and to attend a drug treatment centre. If you do not participate as agreed, you can be charged with an offence.
Drug possession charge
You can be charged if you are caught:
- with a large quantity of a prohibited/illegal drug
- preparing (such as dividing the drugs into smaller packages) or manufacturing an illegal drug
- selling drugs
- buying drugs for a friend
For the police to prove a charge of possession in court, you must have known that the illegal drug was there and have intended to possess it. You may need to convince the court that you did not possess the illegal drug to sell, particularly if caught with a large quantity of the drug. Having legal representation in court with a trusted criminal lawyer will ensure all aspects of your particular situation are taken into account.
Penalties for illegal drug possession and trafficking
Penalties for drug possession and drug trafficking in Victoria range from fines, penalty units, court-ordered drug support programs to a jail sentence. The type of drug you were found with, the quantity of that drug, and your age are all factors that get taken into account when determining if you will be charged. Before sentencing you, a magistrate will also examine:
- how serious your offence is
- if you have been found guilty of similar offences before
- whether you have a drug addiction
- what else is happening in your life
Drug possession and drug trafficking are serious offences that can have life-altering consequences. With this in mind, you should engage one of the experienced criminal lawyers at Gallant Law to ensure you get fair and comprehensive representation. Above all, remember that you risk getting a criminal record if you are charged with an offence, which, as a result, can impact your ability to obtain employment or visit various countries post-conviction.
Servicing Melbourne, Geelong and regional Victoria, Gallant Law’s experienced team of lawyers have over 80 years of combined experience providing tailored legal services for strong, resolute defences.