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Most common drug offences

by Yash Ranjan
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Drugs are still a pressing problem not just in Australia, but also in the rest of the world. Though governments take the necessary steps to try and put an end to the drug problem, it still continues to persist.

As a regular citizen, what you can do aside from avoiding drugs is to be more knowledgeable about the laws related to them. That way, you have a better understanding of how pressing the matter really is. Here are the most common drug offences in Australia and the typical punishment made for them.

1. Illegal Drugs

Let’s first talk about the drugs that are illegal in Australia. These drugs include

  • Cannabis
  • Various hallucinogens
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Amphetamines
  • Ecstasy

These drugs can endanger your health, your life, and even the lives of those around you. Aside from these, there are also substances that are considered illegal unless you reach a certain age or consume the substances in a moderated manner.

These substances include alcohol, nicotine, and over-the-counter/prescription drugs.

Drug laws are rather complex in Australia. The Poisons Standard helps determine whether or not a substance should be deemed illegal or not. The legislature works with The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to update the list of illegal drugs. Drugs are then listed in “Schedules” which determine their legality.

2. Possession of Drugs

This is one of the most common offences related to drugs. It refers to being caught in possession of any of the illegal drugs listed above. As per the law, those charged with drug possession can be fined up to $2,000 and can be put in jail for two years.

The severity of the punishment is dependent on various factors. One, the court will consider the type of drugs in possession and the amount of drugs they have in possession. The court will also consider whether the person being trialled is a repeat offender.

When Will A Court Find You Guilty?

As with all criminal offences, the police will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following to find a person guilty of drug possession:

  • They have in possession, an illicit substance
  • They knew that they were in possession of that substance

3. Distribution of Drugs

People that distribute drugs is punished heavier by the law. They can be fined up to $100,000 and can be jailed for up to 25 years.

The law will also punish those that help make drugs. In the case of marijuana, people who are caught cultivating the plant will receive punishment as well. The severity of the punishment is also dependent on the drug in question, as well as the amount that was distributed by the offender.

Are You Allowed To Defend Yourself In Court?

Yes, you are allowed to defend yourself.

There are some cases wherein the person who was charged is actually innocent. There are a few ways others have defended themselves.

The first is that it was an honest mistake. This means that the person charged fully believes that the drugs they had at the time were considered legal. Another reason for this is that they didn’t know that the drugs were in their possession in the first place. However, they’ll have to prove that the drugs were indeed planted on them.

Another common defence is the Carey Defence. This refers to cases wherein the person being trialed was in possession of someone else’s drugs temporarily. Again, they have to prove that this was actually the case.

Lastly, a person can be considered innocent if they had the drugs under duress. This meant that they were in possession of the drugs because a threat was made to their lives or safety. This is one of the more common cases when it comes to drug possession.

What Happens After A Drug Offence?

In truth, the punishment for drug offences – or any crime for that matter doesn’t end after an offender has paid his dues or has spent his time in prison. Keep in mind that any criminal offence will be put on your record. This can make things like getting a job or a loan easier.

You cannot remove a criminal offence on your record and it’s something that you’ll have to live with. 

The good news is that Australia’s laws prevent the discrimination of those formerly convicted as much as possible when it comes to employment. There will be opportunities for work but it is still better to live life with a clean slate.

Drugs are bad and they ruin the lives of many. Whether you use or distribute them, it’s a bad choice.

If you or those you know are involved in any cases related to drugs, it would be a good idea to turn to professional help before the problem gets worse. Drugs don’t just cause health problems, they can ruin innocent lives as well.

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