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Have you been charged with a drug offence in Queensland?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

Have you been charged with a drug offence in Queensland?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

How this firm can help you achieve justice

How this firm can help you achieve justice

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an award-winning lawyer who is independently recommended as being among the leading criminal defence lawyers in Queensland.
Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Queensland Court of Appeal, Royal Commissions and multiple other courts dealing with trials and other hearings, Andrew Anderson understands how to succeed in complex and difficult cases.
Andrew Anderson has worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in private practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers in Brisbane. His depth of courtroom advocacy experience ranges from simple cases right through to complex homicide trials and appeals.
Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and fighting for justice is an everyday pursuit.

Learn more about drug offences

1. Specific drug offences in Queensland

As part of the On-Demand Resources library of this firm, Andrew Anderson has published detailed information about a number of specific drug offences in Queensland. Each article covers Queensland law, possible defences, penalties and sentences, as well as significant cases. Read more here:

Drug Importation Offences

Drug importation offences can attract some of the highest penalties for drug offences in Australia (up to life imprisonment), which often is reflective of the commercial and coordinated efforts involved in such offences.

The Criminal Code (Cth) contains a number of offences relating to drug importation. Division 307 creates four sub-divisions of drug importation offences. The definition of ‘import’ under the Criminal Code (Cth) is broad, capturing a wide range of activities such as packaging, transporting, recovering, unpacking and delivering. The broad definition reflects the fact that organised criminal networks are often behind offences of this nature.

Possessing Dangerous Drugs

Possessing dangerous drug charges (drug possession) can be serious criminal offences. Although in minor cases penalties may involve drug diversion orders, sentences can also involve lengthy terms of imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for possessing dangerous drugs in Queensland is between 15 years’ and 25 years’ imprisonment, depending on the nature of the drug possessed and whether any circumstances of aggravation apply. The possible penalty outcomes for drug possession charges are wide, ranging from recognisance orders and fines through to actual imprisonment. Contact Anderson Legal for advice and representation.

Producing Dangerous Drugs

The definition of the word ‘produce’ in the Drugs Misuse Act (Qld) is extremely broad and allows individuals to be charged with producing a dangerous drug even though there may never be any dangerous drugs actually produced.

For a drug production case in Queensland, the prosecution sets out to prove that (1) the person charged (2) unlawfully (4) produced (5) a dangerous drug. The maximum penalty for producing dangerous drugs in Queensland is between 15 years’ and 25 years’ imprisonment, depending on the nature of the drug produced and whether any circumstances of aggravation apply. Contact this firm for advice or representation in relation to producing dangerous drug charges.

Supplying Dangerous Drugs

The definition of ‘supply’ in the Drugs Misuse Act (Qld) is extremely broad and allows individuals to be charged with supplying a dangerous drug even though there may never be a transaction or actual exchange of drugs.

For a drug supply case in Queensland, the prosecution sets out to prove that (1) the person charged (2) unlawfully (4) supplied a (5) dangerous drug. It is also necessary to prove any circumstances of aggravation that may be alleged. If you face a drug supply charge or are a friend or family member of somebody who does, contact Anderson Legal. This firm provides expert advice and representation in all criminal cases. 

Drug Trafficking

The offence of carrying on the business of unlawfully trafficking dangerous drugs is a serious criminal offence in Queensland. Generally, it carries a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment.

The word ‘trafficking’ refers to knowingly engaging in the movement of drugs from source to ultimate user. Those who do so risk being charged with trafficking in Queensland, even if the motivation for someone is no greater than seeking to fund their own drug habit. If you or a family member are facing a drug trafficking charge and seek authoritative legal advice and representation, contact Anderson Legal for a confidential discussion today.

2. Common issues when defending drug charges

If you are facing an allegation relating to a drug offence, getting informed about the common issues that arise with drug charges might be crucial to avoiding injustice.

Below is a list of common issues that people confront when defending drug charges in Queensland. While detailed information about each issue has been created to help people seeking to learn more about defending drug charges, it cannot – and is not meant to – substitute legal consultation. To get tailored advice about an issue that may be raised in a specific case, contact Anderson Legal.

Confiscation Orders

In Queensland, the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) may seek to restrain and forfeit property and assets associated with the proceeds of crime. The laws are frequently used in relation to drug offences, particularly trafficking charges.

Under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act (Qld), property may be confiscated where has been derived directly or indirectly from criminal activity, was used in committing an offence, belongs to someone convicted of serious drug offences, or if it simply cannot be explained how it was lawfully obtained. The laws are strict and can see assets restrained (frozen) even while charges and proceedings are pending.

Cooperating With Police

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) allows courts to reduce the penalties imposed on a defendant if they cooperate with a police investigation. The sentences imposed may be significantly reduced in some cases.

For many people charged with drug offences, particularly as part of a drug syndicate, cooperation with police by people accused of wrongdoing can have a significant impact on the outcome of a case. In the case of the person who cooperates, they may receive a substantial reduction to their punishment. For others, testimony by a co-accused against them can significantly alter the strength and nature of the case they face.

Drug Analysis & Expert Evidence

In Queensland, the Drugs Misuse Act (Qld) allows for simplified means of proving certain issues relating to drug charges. An example is the use of Analyst’s certificates, which facilitates proof of the type and quantity of dangerous drugs.

It is common in cases relating to drug offences, particularly those that are more complex in nature, for there to be expert evidence to aid in the proof of the prosecution case. Expert evidence may relate to the use of particular words or phrases, drug production or cultivation, as well as the effects of particular drugs on people. For anybody facing a drug charge, it is important to understand how evidentiary rules can impact their defence.

Serious Organised Crime Allegations

Some drug charges in Queensland can have a serious organised crime circumstance of aggravation added to it, which has the effect of adding an additional mandatory minimum penalty to any sentence imposed by the court.

Part 9D of the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) is entitled ‘Serious and Organised Crime’. The law creates a scheme whereby people convicted of a ‘serious organised crime circumstance of aggravation’ face a significant mandatory period in custody served in addition to a discretionary sentence that may be imposed by a court. The effect of the law may be lessened when a person charged with an offence provides significant cooperation to law enforcement agencies.

Unlawful Police Searches

Under the Police Powers and Responsibiliites Act (Qld), police are given powers to search people and places in prescribed circumstances, either with or without a warrant. In cases where a police officer exceeds their authority and undertakes an unlawful search of a person or place, questions arise as to whether any evidence of illegality found ought to be excluded as a matter of fairness or public policy.

3. Possible consequences if charged or convicted

For anybody charged or convicted of a drug offence, there can be consequences beyond what occurs within the criminal justice system. For many people, the potentially far-reaching effects from a charge or conviction for drug offences can come as a shock, which underscores why early advice from an experienced lawyer can be crucial to the outcomes that eventuate.

Adverse Publicity

For many people accused of a criminal offence, inaccurate or sensationalist reporting of the allegations is deeply troubling. Steps can be taken to mitigate the prejudice that can arise from adverse publicity to ensure a fair hearing.

While many journalists seek to adhere to high standards when reporting on criminal allegations, it can be important for anybody accused or convicted of a criminal offence to understand their legal options if their case is unfairly or improperly jeopardised by adverse publicity. Adverse media publicity can prejudice the fairness of a criminal trial, so it is important that people facing criminal allegations understand their rights when dealing with adverse publicity.

Character, Safety & Security Clearances

There are many occupations, jobs or roles that require character, safety and security clearances. A criminal history, and, in some instances, mere criminal allegations, can adversely affect assessments for character, safety and security clearances.

In Queensland, certain occupations are regulated by professional or trade bodies that can take disciplinary action following a criminal allegation or conviction arising. It is important to understand how a criminal law issue may affect other areas of life, such as employment prospects, recreational activities, insurance claims and other issues. This firm provides advice to its clients about the possible steps that can be taken to mitigate issues of this kind.

Character Tests – Citizenship / Visa Issues

The Australian Citizenship Act (Cth) and Migration Act (Cth) both contain character tests that can affect the eligibility for a person to become or remain a citizen or visa holder in Australia. Having a criminal history can be a decisive factor.

For citizens of another country who seek citizenship in Australia, a good character test can apply to the assessment of a citizenship application. Outstanding or finalised criminal charges (and even allegations falling short of criminal charges) can impact the assessment of the ‘good character’ test. The Migration Act (Cth) sets out the way a criminal history can lead to the refusal or cancellation of visas.

Court Ordered Drug Diversion

People ordered by a court to complete the Illicit Drug Court Diversion Program are required to undergo a drug assessment and participate in an education session, as part of a good behaviour bond entered into with the court. If a person satisfactorily attends and participates in the program and otherwise complies with the terms of the order of the court, then they are dealt with in a way that means they will have no conviction recorded against them.

Drug and Alcohol Assessment Referrals

In Queensland, people who identify drugs or alcohol to be a contributing factor to the offence or offences they have committed may be eligible to complete a ‘Drug and Alcohol Assessment Referral’ (DAAR) course.

There is eligibility and suitability criteria for the Drug and Alcohol Assessment Referral course. Referral to it may be a condition of bail or a recognisance order (good behaviour bond) issued by a court. The aim of the course is to assist people to get the therapeutic help needed to address their drug or alcohol issues that contributed to their offending. Failure to complete the course can carry significant consequences, including re-sentencing by the court.

Employment Issues

Many people do not realise that employers can take action – such as suspension or dismissal – against an employee accused of a criminal offence. In some cases, such disciplinary action may be taken even if the conduct occurred outside of work.

Being accused of a criminal offence of itself is confronting enough for most people, however losing your career and livelihood even before the offence is proved can create additional burdens. Anderson Legal has the expertise to guide its clients through the employment law issues that can arise from criminal allegations, including what steps may be taken to ensure employment is not unnecessarily ended by an employer.

Recording of Convictions

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a discretion to not record a conviction, despite the person being found guilty or having pleaded guilty to an offence. The recording of a conviction can have significant consequences.

Section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a general discretion to record or not record a conviction. Courts are required to take account of all relevant circumstances, such as the nature of the offence, the offender’s character and age, as well as the impact the recording of a conviction will have on them. For some sentences, such as those involving imprisonment or a breach of court orders, a court may be required to record a conviction.

Sentencing for Drug Offences

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) contains specific sentencing options for some drug offences. It also sets out the issues a court must consider when imposing a sentence for a drug offence.

The principles that imprisonment should be imposed as a last resort and that it is preferable if a sentence can appropriately keep a person in the community both apply generally to drug offences. The variable nature of cases and motivations behind the offences means that all penalties must reflect the individual circumstances of each case. Understanding the issues that influence sentencing is critical for anybody seeking a just outcome in their own case.

Serious Violent Offence Declarations

The ‘serious violent offence’ regime can have a significant impact to a sentence. The effect of an offence being declared a ‘serious violent offence’ is the offender must serve at least 80% of their term of imprisonment before they are eligible for release.

In Queensland, a person may have their offence declared a ‘serious violent offence’ under the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld). Many people are surprised that some drug offences may be deemed serious violent offences. The drug offences included in this regime are trafficking in dangerous drugs, supplying dangerous drugs, and producing dangerous drugs. Depending on the length of the sentence, a declaration may be imposed automatically or by discretion.

Do you need personalised legal advice or representation about a drug offence?

If you are facing allegations involving drug offences, obtaining early and authoritative advice is essential to protecting your rights and legal interests. Andrew Anderson has demonstrated experience in successfully preparing and conducting trials, sentences and appeals for drug offences before all courts in Queensland.

If you need to contact Anderson Legal, you can call the firm on (07) 3505 7070. Alternatively, you can complete our form and we will try to contact you.

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