Drug supply

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What is Drug Supply ?

You could be charged with supplying a drug of dependence if you are caught:

  1. With a certain quantity of the prohibited drug
  2. With preparing (such as dividing the drugs into smaller packages) or manufacturing a drug
  3. Selling the drug
  4. Buying drugs for a friend.

Case law/Jurisdiction
Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act sets out the small, traffickable, indictable, commercial and large commercial quantities for each prohibited drug.

Where the amount exceeds the indictable quantity, this matter is strictly indictable which means that it cannot be finalised in the Local Court. Strictly indictable matters usually go to the District Court.

Where the amount does not exceed the indictable quantity, this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.
Where the amount does not exceed the small quantity, this matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

According to the case law of R v Gu [2006] NSWCCA 104, unless truly exceptional circumstances exist there is a clear line of authority that a full-time custodial sentence ought to be imposed wherever the offender has been “substantially involved in supply”.

The Law

The offence of Supply Prohibited Drug is set out in section 25 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act which states:

A person who supplies, or who knowingly takes part in the supply of a prohibited drug is guilty of an offence.

What must the prosecution prove?

Since Supply a prohibited drug is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of Supply a prohibited drug.

To establish Supply, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt;

  • that you supplied, or knowingly took part in the supply of; a prohibited drug

If you are charged with the offence of SUPPLY A prohibited drug what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Supply prohibited drug charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of the offence. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Supply a prohibited drug charge.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Supply prohibited drug.

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”);
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing); and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf seeking a non-conviction by the Court.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining a non-conviction or section 10.

Maximum Penalties

The offence of supplying a prohibited drug carries a maximum penalty of 5,500 penalty units ($605,000) and/or life imprisonment. Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.

Small quantity Traffickable quantity Indictable quantity Commercial quantity Large Commercial quantity
Cannabis leaf 30.0g 300.0g 1,000.0g 25.0kg 100.0kg
Ecstasy 0.8g 3.0g 5.0g 250.0g 1.0kg
Cocaine / Heroin / Amphetamine 1.0g 3.0g 5.0g 250.0g 1.0kg

Small Quantity

The maximum penalty is a fine of 50 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 2 years.

Traffickable Quantity

The maximum penalty in the Local Court is a fine of 100 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Indictable Quantity

The maximum penalty in the Local Court is a fine of 100 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty in the District Court is 200 penalty units and/or 15 years imprisonment.

Commercial Quantity

The maximum penalty is a fine of 3,500 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 20 years.

Large Commercial Quantity

The maximum penalty is a fine of 5,500 penalty units and/or life imprisonment.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended thousands of people charged with Supply prohibited drug and are experts at these hearings.


Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Supply  prohibited drug can include:

  • Licenced or authorised to supply the drug under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966;
  • Acting in accordance with an authority granted by the Secretary of the Department of Health where the Secretary is satisfied that the supply of the prohibited drug is for the purpose of scientific research, instruction, analysis or study; or
  • Acting in accordance with a direction given by the Commissioner of Police under section 39RA.


The Courts are not bound by statistics however there must be reasonable consistency in sentences. A Magistrate or Judge should have regard to what has been done in other cases. In Green [2011] HCA 45, the plurity judgement of French CJ, Kiefel and Creennan JJ stated:

“Equal Justice” embodies the norm expressed in the terms “equality before the law”. It is an aspect of the rule of law.

For Supply a Prohibited drug 23% of offenders received full time imprisonment whereas 33% received a s9 Good behaviour bond.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Supply prohibited drug charge.

  • Prison sentence
  • Home Detention
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention)
  • Suspended sentence
  • Community service order (CSO)
  • Good behaviour bond
  • Fine
  • Section 10

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO)
  • Fine
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)

Case Studies

Our client was pulled over by police who then proceeded to search his vehicle. The police found .3 grams of cocaine and several hundred dollars in his possession, and subsequently charged him with supply of a prohibited drug. He pleaded guilty to the charges. At his sentencing case we emphasised his age, lack of prior convictions, and  good character. No conviction was recorded, and our client was placed on a good behaviour bond.

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Drug Supply offence our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

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