Drug trafficking in Victoria

This article provides a comprehensive overview of drug trafficking offences in Victoria, detailing how charges are laid, the court process, the associated penalties, and the potential consequences.

Drug trafficking is a serious criminal offence in Victoria and is governed by the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic). This legislation outlines the various offences related to drug trafficking, the process of laying charges, the court process, as well as the penalties and consequences associated with these offences.

Types of Offences

  1. Trafficking: Trafficking involves the cultivation, manufacture, sale, or distribution of a drug of dependence. This can include selling a small amount of drugs to a friend, as well as larger scale operations.
  2. Cultivation: It is illegal to grow a drug of dependence, such as cannabis, without a valid license.
  3. Manufacture: It is illegal to manufacture a drug of dependence without a valid license.

How Police Lay Charges

When the police suspect someone of being involved in drug trafficking, they may conduct investigations, which could include surveillance, undercover operations, and searches. If the police gather enough evidence, they may arrest the suspected individual(s) and take them into custody. The police will then prepare a brief of evidence, which includes all the evidence they have gathered, such as drugs seized, any related equipment or materials, and statements from witnesses.

The police may then lay charges, and the accused will be issued with a summons to appear in court. The charges laid will depend on the nature and extent of the trafficking operation, as well as any other related offences, such as possession of equipment for drug trafficking.

Court Process

The court process for drug trafficking offences in Victoria typically involves the following stages:

  1. First Appearance: The accused will have a first appearance in the Magistrates’ Court, where they will be formally charged and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
  2. Contest Mention: If the accused pleads not guilty, a contest mention date will be set. This is an opportunity for both parties to discuss the issues in the case and see if it can be resolved without going to trial.
  3. Committal Hearing: If the case is not resolved at the contest mention, a committal hearing will be held. This is a preliminary hearing where the magistrate decides if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
  4. Trial: If the case proceeds to trial, the prosecution and defense will present their cases, and the judge or jury will deliver a verdict.
  5. Sentencing: If the accused is found guilty, a sentencing hearing will be held to determine the appropriate penalty.

Penalties for Drug Trafficking

The penalties for drug trafficking offences in Victoria vary depending on the type and quantity of drugs involved. For example, trafficking a small quantity of a drug of dependence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for up to 15 years. Trafficking a large commercial quantity carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.


In addition to the legal penalties, a conviction for drug trafficking can have far-reaching consequences. It may result in a criminal record, which can affect employment prospects, travel opportunities, and eligibility for certain licenses and permits. It may also result in a loss of reputation and strained relationships with family and friends.


Drug trafficking is a serious offence in Victoria and carries severe penalties and consequences. It is important to be aware of the laws surrounding drug trafficking and to seek legal advice if you are facing charges for a drug-related offence. A qualified legal professional can help you understand your rights and options and provide guidance throughout the court process.