A drug is any substance which affects the physical or psychological well-being of a person, and thus the State punishes those who possess traffic, supply or produce dangerous drugs.
In Queensland, drug crimes are generally committed in relation to dangerous drugs as defined under the Drug Misuse Regulation 1987. It is, therefore, necessary to know whether the drug involve is a dangerous drug. This is because not all drugs are considered under the law to be dangerous drugs. The Drug Misuse Act 1986 punishes the possession, production, or trafficking of dangerous drugs.
The Drug Misuse Act 1986 did not define dangerous drugs. It is only in Drug Misuse Regulation 1987 that dangerous drugs are determined and enumerated. Under Schedule 1 of Drug Misuse Regulation 1987, Dangerous Drugs include:
6. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
7. Paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA)
8. Paramethoxymethamphetamine (PMMA)
Schedule 2 of Drug Misuse Regulation 1987 includes all other illicit drugs, including those commonly found in the possession of the citizens. In particular, among others, the schedule includes:
4. Gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)
5. Diazepam (Valium)
7. Synthetic cannabinoids (several variations of JWH-)
The penalties provided in the law vary on the type of dangerous drugs involved and depending on how the offence is committed.
A person who carries on the business of unlawfully trafficking of the abovementioned dangerous drug is guilty of a crime. The maximum penalty imposed in Schedule 1 is 25 years and 20 years for Schedule 2 stated above. (Section 5 Drug Misuse Act 1989). The person who has been convicted of the crime of trafficking of dangerous drugs enumerated in Schedule 1 shall not be released from imprisonment unless he has already served 80% of his sentence by virtue of a court order.
A person who unlawfully supplies a dangerous drug to another, whether or not such other person is in Queensland, is guilty of a crime. The maximum penalty that is to be imposed upon the convicted person under Schedule 1 is either:
1. life imprisonment; or
2. 25 years imprisonment; or
3. 20 years imprisonment; or
The maximum penalty that is to be imposed upon the convicted person under Schedule 2 is either:
1. 25 years; or
2. 20 years; or
3. 15 years
The law is specific on what penalty should be imposed under Schedule 1 and 2 depending on what aggravating circumstance that is present on a particular case. Thus, the court has to determine the aggravating circumstance that is present in the case before rendering the judgment.
A person who unlawfully produces a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime. The maximum imposable penalty under Schedule 1 is either 25 years imprisonment or 20 years imprisonment depending on the quantity of the dangerous drugs supplied and depending on the other circumstances present in the case. (Section 8 (a and b) of Drugs Misuse Act 1986) In Schedule 2, the maximum penalty is either 20 years or 15 years of imprisonment.
A person who unlawfully has possession of a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime. Schedule 1 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) states that the term “possession” includes “having under control in any place whatever, whether for the use or benefit of the person of whom the term is used or of another person, and although another person has the actual possession or custody of the thing in question”.
The imposable penalty under Schedule 1 varies depending on the quantity of the dangerous drugs and other circumstances present in the case. In Schedule 2, the maximum penalty is either 20 years or 15 years of imprisonment.
A person charged in any of the punishable acts relating to dangerous drugs shall be dealt with summarily.
If you are concerned about a conviction being recorded against you and the potential impact on your future, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible, and they can advise you on your chances of obtaining a non-conviction order.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.