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Drug Charges - Supply Dangerous Drugs

The following drug charge article was written by a practicing criminal lawyer with experience in drug charges. For information on other drugs charges, visit our Drug Charges home page.

What is the Law on Supplying Dangerous Drugs?

Section 6 of the Drugs Misuse Act states that:

A person who unlawfully supplies a dangerous drug to another, whether or not such other person is in Queensland, is guilty of a crime.

What does the prosecution have to prove?

To find you guilty of supplying dangerous drugs, the prosecution would have to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:-

  • That you unlawfully (I.e. without a defence or an excuse – see below for more);
  • Supplied (see below for more);
  • A dangerous drug (see below for more);
  • To another.

 What does supply mean?

The term "supply" is defined in section 4 of the Drugs Misuse Act as:-

  • Give (or offering to give);
  • Distribute (or offering to distribute);
  • Sell (or offering to sell);
  • Administer (or offering to administer);
  • Transport (or offering to transport); or
  • Supply (or offering to supply).

It is also considered “supply” to do (or offer to do) any act preparatory to giving, distributing, selling, administering, transporting, or supplying the dangerous drug.

What are Dangerous Drugs?

A dangerous drug is a thing that is listed in either Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987. 

Schedule 1 lists more serious drugs, including (but not limited to):-

  • Amphetamine;
  • Cocaine;
  • Heroin;
  • Lysergide;
  • Methylamphetamine; and
  • 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) (Ecstasy).

Schedule 1 also lists steroid drugs.

Schedule 2 lists over 100 less serious drugs.  Some of these drugs are only listed if they are not in specified type of medicinal preparation.  Drugs listed in Schedule 2 include (but are not limited to):-

  • Cannabis;
  • Codeine;
  • Methadone;
  • Morphine;
  • Opium; and
  • Oxycodone;
  • Psilocybin (magic mushrooms).

A dangerous drug can also include things that:-

  • have a chemical structure that is substantially similar to the chemical structure of a dangerous drug in Schedule 1 or 2; or
  • have a pharmacological effect that is substantially similar to the pharmacological effect of a dangerous drug in Schedule 1 or 2; or
  • is intended to have a pharmacological effect that is substantially similar to the pharmacological effect of a dangerous drug in Schedule 1 or 2.

What is the Maximum Penalty?

The maximum penalty for supplying dangerous drugs varies depending on the type of drug, the quantity of the drug, and whether there are circumstances of aggravation.

 

Maximum Penalty

The dangerous drug is specified in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987, schedule 1 and the offence is one of aggravation because the drug was supplied to a minor under 16 years old.

Life Imprisonment

The dangerous drug is specified in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987, schedule 1 and the offence is one of aggravation because the drug was supplied:

  • to minor over 16 years old; or
  • to an intellectually impaired person; or
  • within an educational institution; or
  • within a correctional facility; or
  • to someone who does not know he or she is being supplied with the drug.

25 years imprisonment

The dangerous drug is specified in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987, schedule 1, but there are no circumstances of aggravation.

20 years imprisonment

The dangerous drug is specified in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987, schedule 2 and the offence is one of aggravation because the drug was supplied to a minor under 16 years old.

25 years imprisonment

The dangerous drug is specified in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987, schedule 2 and the offence is one of aggravation because the drug was supplied:

  • to minor over 16 years old; or
  • to an intellectually impaired person; or
  • within an educational institution; or
  • within a correctional facility; or
  • to someone who does not know he or she is being supplied with the drug.

20 years imprisonment

The dangerous drug is specified in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987, schedule 1, but there are no circumstances of aggravation.

15 years imprisonment

Is a Gift Considered “Supplying”?

The definition of “supplying” a dangerous drug has been extended by case law to include “gifting” a dangerous drug. 

There may be a defence open to you of honest and mistaken belief that the “gift” was something other than a dangerous drug.

Are there any defences open to me?

There are a number of defences to a charge of supplying dangerous drugs.  These include:-

  • that the drug was not a dangerous drug; 
  • mistake of fact (i.e. that you had an honest and mistaken belief that it was not a dangerous drug); and
  • duress (i.e. that you were not acting with free will).

Which court will this be in?

Supplying a Dangerous Drug is an indictable offence, and is heard in the District Court.

Would I need a lawyer?

A conviction for supplying dangerous drugs (even small amounts of drugs) is a serious matter that can have a major impact on your life and future.  We strongly recommend that you talk to one of our lawyers, who can assist you by:-

  • Advising on your prospects of contesting a charge;
  • Guiding you through the court process;
  • Negotiating with the prosecution;
  • Suggesting ways to reduce penalty and the impact on your future;
  • Reducing some of your stress by answering the difficult questions; and
  • Appearing for you in court.

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